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March 14, 2008

Phil Mickelson


Q. Do you think the wind is going to keep kicking up?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hope so. I mean, I need some help. I need some help so that the leaders don't run away. Although Vijay has gotten it pretty low today.
You know, if I can just hold in a position to where, you know, 5-, 6-, 7-under par round tomorrow will give me a chance on Sunday, that's all I'm hoping for. And so if the leaders go out and shoot 5- , 6-under today, it's going to be hard for me to catch them.

Q. Talk a little about next week, Doral. The 18th hole was the hardest hole on the PGA TOUR last year and it's been hard for a long time. What do you think made it so difficult last year?
PHIL MICKELSON: When the tees got moved back another 30 or 40 yards, the landing area became the heart of where the water pinches in. You no longer could carry it over the water, and so guys were actually laying up. I think Tiger laid up one year, either last year or the year before, and laid up short of that little inlet, which isn't a bad play, to play it as a par 5.
There's no room in the fairway in the landing area, you have to go off to the right. I think that's why it was the hardest hole on the TOUR last year.

Q. The tournament used to have a different feel. A lot of people said it felt different last year than what it used to be when you had 144 players before it became a World Golf Championships. Did it seem different to you guys out there?
PHIL MICKELSON: It felt very similar to past years. I've always liked the golf course and liked the tournament.

Q. The front nine seemed like you were struggling a little bit with your putting and then you definitely found something on the back.
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, all day yesterday, I've struggled getting the ball in the hole. Today, the front nine, I have 3-putted from 15 feet missing a short one. I've just struggled getting the ball in the hole and I've made two of them on my back side, back nine.
But even then in that stretch of four birdies, I missed a 15-footer for eagle that was a tap-in birdie, so I have to get the ball in the hole somehow tomorrow. To shoot a 6- or 7-under par round, which is what I need to get back in it, I have to start making putts, because you're not going to knock it three feet out here every hole.
You're going to have a lot of long irons in with the conversion of par 5s to par 4s, a lot less birdie opportunities, so I'm going to have to start making some putts from 12 to 25 feet.

Q. What about some of those pin placements today if the wind really does kick up this afternoon for the afternoon guys?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought they were fine. I didn't think there were any that were right on the edge. I thought they were fine. So I don't think that tough weather will make it play unfair by any means.

Q. Of courses or venues that are used for non-majors, is this right up there with requiring experience, patience? Is it almost like a major-type approach that you have to take to get yourself around here?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's slowly become that. Again, with the conversion of the par 5s to par 4s, this used to be a course where you always had four birdie holes that were reachable in under regulation and you could really take advantage of those, and now it's getting to be a lot more difficult. Those holes, you're going to make bogey if you don't hit the fairway and give yourself a good shot at getting by the green.

Q. Where do you think experience gives you the most edge on this course? What do you and guys who have played here for years know than for a guy who has played a second or third time?
PHIL MICKELSON: I used to say the greens, but this year, without the overseed, the grain is much more prominent than it has been in years past and they are much more difficult for me to read, because I'm going off of past knowledge, and it's been throwing me for a loop.

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