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June 15, 2008

Phil Mickelson


Q. Three birdies in your last five holes -- by the way, happy Father's Day, first of all. Give us a sense of the strategic issues out there. What are we going to see on this back nine coming in? What should we look at?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, first of all, Jimmy, happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.
But second, the USGA did the best job it's ever done in setting this golf course up where it's fair. And today the pin placements are such that you can make a lots of birdies. They are not out -- they are not in the hardest spots all the time. They're in spots where you can get at it.
I think there's a 65 or 66 out there if you play great golf. I think the guys that are 3, 2-, 1-over par, have a chance to get back in this tournament with some good play. It's not an impossible, out of the realm possibility to shoot a 5- or 6-under par round out there.

Q. We know how important this championship is to you, especially this year, you said this year was the opportunity of a lifetime. When you look back on this week, what will you think about?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that as I look back I am so proud to be from San Diego and to have this Open championship here at Torrey Pines. And the golf course was, again, I think the best, fairest setup it's ever been. The mixture of tee boxes, the pin placements were all perfect to give the best players a chance to separate themselves.
I'm disappointed I didn't play well, but I'm not disappointed the way this championship is shaping into form and the way that San Diego has been presented. This has been awesome.

Q. Is the course more playable today do you think?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the course is set up for some fireworks today. I thought that there were pin placements on just about every hole you could get to. The par-5s were reachable. Even with the back tee on 16, it being downwind, I think the longest guys will be able to get there.
But having that up tee on 14, there's some birdie holes out there if you play well. And I think that there's a chance a guy at 3, 2-, 1-over par can shoot 5- or 6-under and get right in this tournament and win it.

Q. What was that 14th hole like? I know you hit it in the bunker, but what was it like?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a salty little shot. You've got to be careful because if you miss it right of the pin you can't get -- it's tough to get it close.
So really the play is to hit it in that left front bunker, because it's such an easy shot right up the hill if you're not going to hit it on the green. And you got to be careful if you fly it on the green it could very well go over.
So it's a tough little shot. It's not a bad play to hit a 4- or 5-iron and have a little wedge in that you can spin the ball and funnel down by the hole, you should get it within six feet almost every time.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: This has been a great Open championship, obviously I would like to have played better, but the way the course has been presented, the way it was set up, it was the fairest, best test of golf. It gave the best players a chance to separate themselves. The mixture of tee boxes and movement of pin placements was strategically the best it's ever been and really rewards great shot making as well as the ability to recover. It was awesome. It was really a great test. I wish I had played better, but whoever plays the best golf this week is going to win. There's no fluke out there.

Q. Does another U.S. Open deserve to come here do you think?
PHIL MICKELSON: I got to think that the USGA loves the way this tournament has played out and I think that Torrey Pines, in my opinion, has played the best that any Open setup has played.
A lot of it has to do with the way it was set up, but it's such a hard golf course to begin with, you didn't have to it up, it was just a straightforward, hard test of golf and I think that there's a good chance it will come back.

Q. Will you watch the rest of the round here or the rest of the U.S. Open or not?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'll probably watch some of it, yeah, it's kind of my punishment, yeah.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: It didn't feel far off. It really didn't. I didn't feel like it was off, I felt like I was close the whole week and just a fraction where balls were kicking in the bunkers or just going in the rough where I had a tough play. But it wasn't as far off as the stats will show. It's just, just didn't quite get enough in the fairway though.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I felt great when the tournament started. Tuesday on my energy level was up, I felt like my game was there, I was able to practice and work on it. And I felt like I was ready. I just didn't score, I just didn't perform.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: What I take away is I have three weeks off. I'm going to take three weeks off and get ready for a stretch of the run through the rest of the year. I'll leave for the Scottish open in preparation for the British Open and I'm going to try to -- I'll have some work with Pelz and some work with Butch to get as sharp as I can in this, in these next couple of weeks. So when I do come back and play nine out of 12 weeks I'm playing as well as I possibly can.
Because we saw two majors left, we have the FedExCup, we have the Ryder Cup, we have a lot of big events and I want to get my game sharp for that. It didn't feel far off, I think today's score was evident it's not that far off. But I just got to put it all together.

Q. Any plans for your birthday tomorrow?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'll probably take it easy. Spend it with the family. Nothing too exciting. Just I kind of need a day off.

Q. Sunday at the Open, I know you wanted to be in the thick of the mix, but did you try to enjoy it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I just tried to play a good round and use it's as a stepping stone into the British and some of the things I want to work on for the British. And hopefully finish up -- when I get back out here, I'll play nine out of 12 weeks, like I said, and I'll hopefully be sharp for those.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that if I was in contention I would probably would have hit a 4- or 5-iron off the tee and tried to have a 60, 70 yard wedge shot on 14. Because where that pin is, it's very easy to get it close. It's just, it's a very easy shot from 60 to 80 yards. And if you go for it, you can't miss it right of the pin. That right bunker is going to be hard to get it inside eight or 10 feet. And the left bunker's really the only place you can play from aggressively.

Q. Is Birkdale a course that suits your game?
PHIL MICKELSON: I played there twice. I played there in the '91 Open, that was my first Open, and I played in '98 as well. I love the golf course. I think it's spectacular. And I'm looking forward to playing.

Q. Did you hit the driver today?

Q. Many times?
PHIL MICKELSON: A few times. A few times. I actually have been looking at the schedule and there's one or two tournaments that I'll probably go driverless again. I don't think that -- I was averaging more distance than some of the guys that are in contention. Distance wasn't the problem, it was again getting it into play. And if sacrificing 20, 25 yards off the tee will get me into play more, I'm going to do that. Unfortunately, I didn't get it in play more.

Q. Was it an issue of swing then?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was just slightly off. I hit some good shots, they just went through the fairways or into the bunkers. It wasn't far off.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: What about the wedges?

Q. Well --

Q. I assume you were trying to hit it with the wedge real close and it kept spinning off.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: You're right, I have 80 yards though, 82 yards and I've got an L wedge out of a lie that should spin, and I'm 5-over par, trying to get in the tournament, and it's a par-5, I can't afford to let a birdie opportunity slide. And so I got aggressive at it. I don't regret the decision to go at the pin. I just regret coming up a few yards short.

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