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June 14, 2008

Phil Mickelson


Q. Can you talk about the round today in general?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that this has been the best U.S. Open setup I've ever seen. I know I'm a little biased, I'm from here, but the course -- here I am nine over par saying this -- it is the fairest setup I've ever seen. The rough around the greens gives us a chance to play. The rough just off the fairway gives us a chance to play. The pin placements have been perfect. There's been a mixture of some very hard ones, but some accessible ones as well as medium pins.
I just think this is the best setup that I've seen. I feel like kind of the Boston Celtics going from last year to this year. I thought last year was one of the toughest and this year is by far the best I've ever seen.

Q. How disheartening was 13?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, gosh, it's a birdie hole. And here I was 1-over par, I felt like if I could get birdie there on 13 I could get back to even for the day. And over par's going to win. I felt like, gosh, one or two coming in I would be right there. And so that's obviously a bummer.
Hitting driver just threw me off. I hadn't done it. But again, it's a great pin. It's just a great pin that will entice guys to get a little bit close. And certainly that's what I did on my first shot.
The other two were just poor. But the first shot had a good chance of being close and making birdie and it just came back down.

Q. Hitting the same wedge in?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit L wedge the first time from 80 something yards and then I hit the 64, the second and third and fourth.

Q. Why did you decide to throw the driver in the bag today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Why did I put the driver in the bag today? Well, I felt like nine was going to be reachable with it being a little firmer and the wind normally just right-to-left on nine, sometimes hurting -- it was actually even helping yesterday and today. And I was able to get there, I hit a driver and a hybrid on.
I didn't hit that many drivers, but -- I didn't hit it on 18, I hit 3-wood, I felt like it gives me more fairway, and I was able to go for it. But I needed to try to make some birdies and get a few shorter irons in, being that I was 4-over. And started out hitting some decent drives, but the back nine I missed some fairways and that was costly.

Q. What did you take out?
PHIL MICKELSON: A sand wedge.

Q. You've been waiting six years for the U.S. Open to be played here. Tell me what your thoughts are. Tell me about your thoughts for the last few days.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's an exciting Open. I'm certainly disappointed that I'm not in the mix right now. That was the goal. So I'm going to come out tomorrow, enjoy my final round.
And Bethpage is one of the best places ever -- one of the best memories in the game of golf I've ever had. I get to go back there next year for the U.S. Open. So I'm excited about the chance to try to break through and win my first U.S. Open there.

Q. Can you want something too much being at home here?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's possible, sure. This is something I wanted a lot and I just didn't play well this week. But I'm proud to be from San Diego, I'm proud to see this golf course be such a great host to this event, I love the way the people, the fans and spectators have been out here, the way they have treated everybody and it's been a great week.

Q. You hitting a driver, was that a mistake?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I mean the Open you don't need power, you know, I need to get it in the fairway and I still hit less than half the fairways with the 3-wood. But a 3-wood goes plenty far to play well out here. And I was able to be more aggressive on 1 and 18 when I got the 3-wood in the fairway because I could then go for it. But when I hit in the rough I can't go for it.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I've had a nine on 13. I was eight years old, but I have had a nine there.

Q. The first shot was one that enticed you to go for the pin, but the second and third were just poor shots, is that who you describe it?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, that's fair. You know, a lot of times the shots are very tough because it's shaved down and tight. But I had perfect lies. The ball, the kikuyu grass in the fairways, we had the best lies we ever had in a U.S. Open because when they shave it tight the kikuyu is strong enough where the ball still sits up on top and you can get underneath it and put some spin on it, which is probably why I tried to get a little cute, I could hit a good shot with the lie I had. I had good lies.

Q. The first putt?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit it four or five feet by. It was quick downhill. And I hit it four or five feet by.

Q. What's kind of the feeling in your mind when it rolls back the second time and you're kind of looking at that ball?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it wasn't a good one.

Q. What were you thinking at that point? It's just not my day?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, that doesn't go through your mind. But certainly I'm just trying to get it, get it in the hole here and move on, because I turned a -- that's a birdie hole. I played it 4-over, but I really cost myself five shots because most of the players who are amongst the leaders are going to be 1-under on that hole. They're going to birdie it.

Q. When you came up with the 3-wood plan weeks ago, was the rough not graduated then?
PHIL MICKELSON: When I first played it there wasn't graduated rough, it was just thick right off the deal. But that's not why I did it, it's because the 3-wood carries 275. So it's running about 300 hundred here. And it's just easier to hit fairways at 300 than 320 and it just felt more comfortable. I didn't hit it well and it cost me because I couldn't get it in the fairway.
But I've lost Opens, like at Winged Foot, where I didn't hit it in the fairway and I was hitting drivers and I thought that I would try another club and it just didn't work out. I still missed them.

Q. You seem in relatively decent spirits.
PHIL MICKELSON: What can you do? It was really one hole that hurt the round. Otherwise I was, what, 1-over for the day and just played okay. So it wasn't bad. If I make birdie there, I shoot even par for the day and I would be within striking distance for tomorrow.
Unfortunately, it happens. It sucks, but it happens.

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