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August 2, 2008

Phil Mickelson


Q. You shot three rounds, three straight rounds in the 60s here, which I was just looking through here, that's as many as you've shot here in the last five years combined.
PHIL MICKELSON: That's a shitty way to phrase it (laughter).

Q. Congratulations, obviously. That was actually intended as a compliment. I guess I need to work on that.
PHIL MICKELSON: It would be nice (laughter). It's been a good few days. I really hit the ball well the first few days, and today the first 12, 15 holes I was off just a little bit, I was missing by just a few yards here and there, and then I made a couple of big misses on 11 and 13, so I made an adjustment on the 14 tee. I just made a slight adjustment in my setup, I was just a little bit off, and the last five holes I started to hit some good shots. I don't know what happened with the wedge on 18, but I drove it great on 14, good wedge shot there, and hit a good 5-iron on 15, good tee shot and hybrid on 16. So I hit some good shots. I'm excited.
I'm a little tired tonight, so I'll have a practice session tomorrow with Butch just to make sure that things are back in order, but I was excited heading into the tournament because I had been playing well, and it was just a little fraction off throughout the round today.

Q. Did it take you 13 holes to recognize it was a fraction off?
PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't really address it until I missed it big on 11 and 13 because I had been playing so well and I felt like it was only a couple of yards off the fairway most of the time, and so I didn't really address it.
But after those two big misses, I started looking at what I needed to change.

Q. So you made an adjustment on 14 --
PHIL MICKELSON: Drove it great, and from there on.

Q. Ball placement and stance kind of thing?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just alignment was just not quite square to the target.

Q. Seemed like everybody on the course was following you guys. Was it fun?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I don't know what the other groups had, but gosh, we had a lot of people. I thought the crowds were great. They were funny, some funny comments, and it was really fun. They were great to both me and Vijay, it was a great day.

Q. I don't know what that one for America was about on the first tee.
PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't catch all of them, but I heard a couple of good ones, yeah.

Q. We didn't see 18. What happened there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit a good drive, and then I just hit a terrible wedge. I blocked it a little bit, hit the tree, came back in the fairway but short of the green and hit a good pitch shot, but the first bounce it didn't take a divot, it kind of skidded and went eight feet by. I thought it was going to be close, but it wasn't.

Q. I can't remember which hole on the back nine. Did you hit a chippy 3-wood under a tree?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, 13, when I bogeyed, I hit the 3-wood from the left rough through the trees to the front edge and was 85 feet and ended up hitting it to five feet and missed it.

Q. Even though you're tied for first, does it matter to you that you're in the last group or second to last group?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think there's pluses to both. I think there's pluses to being in either one. I don't think I'm in the last group, I think I'm second to last. You know, again, there's advantages to both. If I get off to a good start, it's tough to follow birdies when you know you have to make birdies. But on the other hand, it's nice to be in the last group and know what you need to do.

Q. On the unsolicited comment thing, is it a good thing or a bad thing when a guy tells you he loves you more than his wife?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, that's not a good thing either way you look at it, for me or his wife (laughter).

Q. The guy was stalking you. I don't know how many times he said it. Was the wind a factor at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, it was a factor. Yes, it was.

Q. If you could just kind of paint a picture for tomorrow. There's three tied for the lead, and it seems like there's 10 or 11 guys all separated by four shots.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's going to be difficult. Even though normally you would say four shots, you're right in it, I think it's going to take a 6- or 7-under par round from one of those guys to catch all four of us, because all four of us are playing well and I expect at least one and probably two or three of us to have good rounds in the 60s tomorrow and force the guys behind us to catch up with birdies. I don't think all four of us are going to come back to them, so they're going to have to go make birdies to catch us, I believe.

Q. So unless someone goes berserk tomorrow, you think the winner is probably coming from the last two groups?
PHIL MICKELSON: Most likely, yeah, but I wouldn't rule out someone getting hot. It's out there, it's been done before. And the guys right there at 3-, 4-under par are some very good players, obviously.

Q. When you were going through your slightly-off type thing, I think you only dropped one shot during that stretch. Was that almost as important in terms of where you were in relation to the lead as what you did late in the round?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it is because it's a hard golf course to make a lot of birdies on it, so it's important that when you are off a little bit that you somehow salvage par. And I had a couple of good pars out there.
The best was one on 9 when I drove it in the bunker and had no shot other than to wedge out and got up and down with an 8-iron. That was the best part, making that putt on 9.

Q. Where was your ball in relation to the lip? Right up against it?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, but the lip was so high, anything in that bunker you're most likely wedging out.

Q. Was the putt in the fringe?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, a foot in the fringe.

Q. The WGCs, winning one of those things, is that something that's important to you at all? That had even escaped my notice until this week that you hadn't won a WGC despite being close over the years.
PHIL MICKELSON: I expected you to say you've played in 18 events -- how many have I played in, 40, 30? I expected you to phrase that differently, to say you're 0 for 30 whatever. That was really nice. Thank you.

Q. The first one was not intended as an insult.
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm just kidding. It would be nice to win a WGC, it really would. I haven't really thought about it too much. I think maybe 20 years from now or 30 years from now they'll have prestige, much like I think the guys who first won the Masters had no idea what this tournament was going to become. I have no idea where the WGCs will be 30 years from now. They started midway through my career in the late '90s, so I haven't given them the priority like I do a major or care about like a major. But they are always the best fields in the game, they're always on great golf courses, they're always on tough tests of golf, so I think there's a lot of merit to whoever wins those, yeah.

Q. How does it feel to be the best player to have never won a WGC?

Q. You said that you were playing well the first two days and then you shot a round in the 60s. Are you kind of disappointed that you didn't separate yourself a little because you were playing so well coming into today?
PHIL MICKELSON: You mean separate from the field? I thought it was going to be tough when you looked at the first round scores. When you saw 12 people at 2-under par and five people at 3-under par, I knew it was going to be tough because it's not an easy course to go shoot 7-, 8-under par on this track. So I knew it was going to be bunched, but I felt like it's one of those where you try to outlast. You try to just make a lot of pars and birdies here or there. Today I had three bogeys which was different than the first two rounds. I want to play more like the first two rounds, a lot of pars, a scattered birdie here or there so I'm not giving a lot of shots back. I think in the end, the marathon-type mentality of trying to outlast will end up winning.

Q. Is that any different than a major mentality?
PHIL MICKELSON: Not too different, no. This is very similar to -- this is like a perfect PGA setup here because probably right around 10-, 11-, 12-under par is going to win. What are we at, 8? So yeah, probably 10-, 11-, 12-under par is going to win. And to me, that's a great quality golf course. That's what the best players in the world should probably shoot under a tough test, so it probably does have a major feel.

Q. Under any condition do you recall being able to reach 16 from all the way back?
PHIL MICKELSON: They moved the tees up.

Q. I'm saying when they leave it all the way back, when it's been firm and fast, have you ever been able to get to it in two?
PHIL MICKELSON: They added the new tee box five years ago, six years ago, and since they did that I don't recall ever doing that. Maybe if it was downwind I might have tried it once with a 3-wood or something when I was out of the tournament. But today it was actually into the wind, which helped get the ball stopped and carry the -- you get over the water and the ball stays closer to the hole, as opposed to when it's downwind. I'd much rather go at that green into the wind, because I hit a good drive I was able to get there.

Q. What are your thoughts on three-shotters for par-5s because there's not a ton of them out there anymore? Do you mind them? Do you think it's a good one when it's all the way back?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's a good three-shot par-5, but I also when I was signing autographs here had a dozen people say, hey, that was awesome on 16, I can't believe you went for it, great job, great shot. I think all those people sitting around the bleachers like to see us go for it. I think it was fun, and I hope they do it tomorrow where you're given a chance to go at it, because I think if you hit a good drive it's exciting for people to see that. It's a tough hole. It wasn't design to be hit in two shots. That green is set for a wedge, not a 3-wood.

Q. Did you tell those fans that the tee was moved up 50 yards?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, they didn't know. They didn't need to know.

Q. Between the rough around the greens and the bunkers, do you have a much better chance of getting up and down out of the bunkers than the rough around the greens?
PHIL MICKELSON: This is probably the same, 50/50, either way. I think that the rough is a perfect setup because if you hit the proper shot the right way, you have a good chance of getting it close. But yet there's still an opportunity to miss it big and have your 8-, 10-, 12-footer and not get up and down. I think the rough is set up perfect, and the bunkers are the same. So I would say it would be about the same.
Now, I like it like that because the bunkers are supposed to be the hazard. I mean, maybe you could even make them tougher, the bunkers tougher, so you want to avoid them. But in some of the majors -- well, most every major, you want to be in the sand because the grass, you can't control it out of the grass. It's a hit and hope, and skill isn't a factor, which is why I love this setup so much. I think skill is a big factor.
LAURA HILL: Phil, thanks so much. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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