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April 11, 2008

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON: If there was any one key, I think that I played for par on a lot of holes and was able to make par and also scatter some birdies in there.
The course, the front nine played much easier than it did the back nine when the wind picked up. When the wind started swirling it was much easier to pull the right club and get the right section of the green. But the front nine I felt like we had a pretty good chance to make some birdies and I felt like I was fortunate to get a couple.

Q. To go through a round without a bogey in these conditions, talk about that.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I thought that was pretty good. I mean, I haven't looked back on it, but I seemed to put the ball in the spots where I was able to make some easy pars, and I guess that would be one key is that I hit a lot of good shots to a spot that allowed me easy pars, not necessarily great birdie chances but easy pars.

Q. And then you got the birdie on 17 after a streak of eight pars in a row?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I thought that I had putted great today until 15 when I had a four-footer that wasn't that hard. I just overplayed the break and ended up missing it. And I had made so many good par putts, four- to six-footers, that that one left a bad taste. But after making the one on 17, that leaves me feeling pretty good about the day.

Q. At what point do you start examining where you are on that board?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm always looking. I'm always looking to see what the leaders are doing. You want to stay close. You don't want to make any big mistakes and get way out. But if you're falling behind you've got to take a little bit more aggressive approach to some pins and try and make some birdies. I was fortunate where I was not too far back and I didn't have to make a lot of tough decisions.

Q. How long was the birdie at 17?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was probably 30 feet.

Q. Was there much break?
PHIL MICKELSON: It wasn't much. It went a little left, a little right, just a few inches. It was very flat. It didn't do much relative to a lot of the putts we see out here.

Q. On 13 were you expecting it to come back a little bit more?
PHIL MICKELSON: I tried to play it to come back. I was hoping it would. I had a downhill lie and tight grain. I thought even if I tried to lob it, the best I was going to do was eight feet. So I thought I would take the 6 out of play and just play it up the slope.

Q. Is that the same thing you had in '04?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was on the other side of the water. I mean, I was closer and didn't have that hard of a shot. But I got lucky that ball stayed up, yeah, obviously.

Q. How much overwhelming fan support do you get here?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the people here really have treated -- treat all players great, but they've really treated the past champions wonderful, and I'm fortunate to be one of those.

Q. Were you between clubs at 15?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I mean, 15 was the toughest decision we had because it was -- when Andres hit, I was going to hit 6-iron, and it was just going to be a comfortable 6 because it was downwind. And then when it was my turn to hit, I couldn't get 5-iron over the water, so I was going to hit a 4. Bones and I just said, look, it's either a 4, 5 or 6. It could have been any one of the three, given the time.
I committed to the shot, I hit as solid a shot as I hit all day with a 5-iron. I drew it through the wind and it unfortunately went over, but I put myself in a spot where I had enough green to work with, I hit a good chip down there, four feet, and should have gotten it up-and-down. But I was trying to go at the grandstands so that if I go in a bunker short, it's okay. If I go in the grandstand it doesn't go too far. I was trying to give myself more margin of error because I didn't have any idea where that was going to come down.

Q. How do you feel about where you are now?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I feel pretty good. I would rather be leading. I would like to have some shots in hand. But I've hit the ball well and I've been playing well, and I'm only a couple shots off the lead and I'll be able to play late in the afternoon on Saturday and hopefully on Sunday, as well.

Q. Is your short game in the shape you want it to be?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I putted great today. I made some really good putts this morning on the front nine, and I hit some good putts on the back nine that didn't go in until 17. The only one that I probably should have made was 15 and possibly 16, but otherwise I felt like I made a lot of good ones today. I'm not going to complain.

Q. Is it still fun playing this golf course or is it a grind?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's changed. I mean, it's changed. It's always fun, don't get me wrong. It's always fun to come play here, but after the changes a few years ago, we don't see the same type of excitement and birdies that we're used to seeing.
And because of that, we have to -- I have to address or look at the round differently starting out. I can't think about it in aggressive terms. I have to kind of pick and choose what holes I can try to make birdies on. Like I said earlier, I hit some good shots to spots where I can make easy pars but really not good birdies.

Q. The way Trevor and Brandt are playing, does that kind of tell you that there are some scores out there today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, there was. When I played the front nine there was something out there. It was pretty calm, there wasn't any wind and we could get to some pins, and they finished before I made the turn, so they didn't get the wind picking up.
It's not that it's very strong, it's swirling, and that's what's making it tough.

Q. The play on 13, yesterday did you --
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I hit it in the creek, in the hillside. It stayed up in the grass, and I got it up-and-down for birdie. I think I'm going to try to play a little more left tomorrow.

Q. What was going on with your ball on the green on 18? It looked like you were afraid it was going to move on you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it was moving. I couldn't get it to stay, and so I just kept trying to place it, and finally the wind picked up and kept it there. But I didn't ground my putter because I thought if the wind stopped, it would roll and I'd have a penalty stroke and have to move it back. It just made that putt a little tougher because with the wind the putter blade is moving around.

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