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May 8, 2008

Phil Mickelson


Q. Are you surprised that a lot of guys were able to get in red numbers today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that anything under par is a very good score. There were a decent amount of rounds under par. I don't think I was overly surprised. There's enough playability around the greens where you can salvage some pars and get up-and-down, but the golf course is not easy by any means. To go low out here is very difficult.

Q. You have enough experience here to also know that you've just got to keep your head together; good things are going to happen, maybe bad things are going to happen?
PHIL MICKELSON: This is a course where you really want to be patient and not try to force birdies but try to take advantage of the birdie holes and the par-5s especially. I think that if you make a lot of pars out here, you're not going to be losing much ground, and a birdie here or there scattered in will help make up ground.
Again, this is a course where nobody is going to go low and take off and run away with the thing.

Q. After going bogey-bogey on 18 and 1, you played real well after that. Did something click in after that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I certainly let some shots slide in the middle of the round on 18. On 1, shoot, I had 95 yards with an L-wedge and made bogey from the middle of the fairway. But what I was most proud of is after I hit those shots, I came back and hit good shots on the next hole for birdie and came in solid here, birdieing the last to shoot 2-under, because I could have let it get to me and affect the rest of the round, but fortunately I didn't.

Q. Was there a big change from early in your round to the end in terms of the weather and wind?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, it was pretty consistent. There was a little bit of a breeze this morning that stayed throughout the round.

Q. Tell me about your thought process on 17, getting over the ball and then changing clubs.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the wind was changing a little bit there, and when I first got there it was into the wind. When I was getting ready to hit, it started to just be crosswind, and then I started getting some help. So I was thinking I was going to have to step on a 9-iron. And then I ended up taking a little bit off of a wedge.
I got lucky it ended up close. That close, I'm not trying to do anything more than trying to make a 3, and it ended up four feet. That was just kind of a -- I don't want to say fluke, but it went six, seven yards farther than I was trying to hit it.

Q. How does it feel playing as a defending champion, getting out and playing a competitive round as the defending champion?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think knowing that I've played well here in the past and that I've won gives me a little bit more confidence playing the golf course and maybe takes a little bit of pressure off because I had been wanting for so long to play well here, and I may have even been pressing a little bit trying to get low scores out here. And consequently I really haven't had good performances here until last year.

Q. Was there a time where you might not have responded to bogeys on 18 and 1 as well as you did today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, but today I was able to follow it up with some good shots, and so I think that's going to be key because you are going to let some shots slide here. You just can't let it affect you too much.

Q. You mentioned you've got to take advantage of the birdie holes. Is it a golf course where you've got to kind of pick your spots?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, it is a course you have to pick your spots. The par-5s are holes you should be able to make up some ground. There's a couple of par-4s, like 12, maybe 4 if you hit the fairway where you can try to pick up some shots. But if you try to force it at the wrong time, you know, you're going to end up making bogeys and maybe worse.
So you just want to make a lot of pars and scatter a few birdies in here and there.

Q. You said anything in red is very good. What's your satisfaction level with your round?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'm pleased to have shot under par and pleased to get off to a good, solid start. I feel as though I'm turning 66s into 70s and I'm going to have to fix that this weekend. I'm going to have to stop letting those shots slide in the middle of the round that are costing me in the end. But I would have taken anything under par starting the day.

Q. Did you have four lip-outs today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure. I didn't go back and add them up, but I had a number of opportunities that I didn't quite capitalize on.

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