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November 6, 2008

Phil Mickelson


SCOTT CROCKETT: Phil, thank you very much for coming in and joining us as always, and it's a pleasure to welcome you back as the defending champion. Give us some thoughts on your opening round which was a very good one.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. It was a good first round. With the weather conditions being soft, the greens being soft, even though it was difficult to see, it was very good scoring conditions.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Did anything in particular please you about your game? It looks fairly solid through the card.
PHIL MICKELSON: I putted well today and made a lot of good putts today. Last year I putted the greens very well. That was a big key to me winning and I putted them well today.

Q. When you look at the leaderboard now, there's a lot of huge names on the leaderboard. Does that make it more exciting going into the second round, knowing you're going to be competing against all of those big names?
PHIL MICKELSON: The field here at HSBC Champions is one of the best fields we have in golf. So many of the top players are here that we expect the best players to be up on top of the leaderboard, and that's obvious with Adam Scott playing well and Sergio GarcĂ­a, Henrik Stenson being up there.
Many of The Ryder Cup players played very well, and the golf course rewards good golf shots, so I expect to see big names up there.

Q. A lot of people are suggesting that this could be a World Golf Championship; would you like to see it given that label?
PHIL MICKELSON: I would. I think that it would be great for the game of golf to continue to bring world-class golf to China. HSBC has taken the lead; a World Golf Championship would enhance that, and this would be a great venue to host it. Shanghai is a wonderful city, and Sheshan is a world-class golf course and this would be a great place to host it.

Q. This is normally the down time for most of the American players. If this were made into a WGC event, do you think most of the Americans would stay home because it's break time or do you think they would come?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know the logistics that would have to take place to make this a World Golf Championship. I don't know when it would take place; what time of the year. So I don't really have good answers for you.

Q. Sergio Garcia, if he wins this, week will take the No. 2 spot. What does the ranking mean to you, and what would it mean to lose it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't thought about it, but certainly Sergio has played some great golf this year. He played wonderful in the FedExCup series, and he is a tremendous talent. But I haven't thought about losing the ranking yet.

Q. What does it mean to you, the No. 2 ranking?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't really thought about it.

Q. First of all, given the financial crisis and the fast growth of golf in China, would you think of promoting golf in China in the future? That's the first question. Second question is that given there are so many junior golfers on the field in China right now, would you like to be interested to be the coach for them in the future?
PHIL MICKELSON: I am not a coach. I like to play and compete, and I want to beat them, not coach them.
But I do want to see the game of golf continue to grow in China. I do want to see more junior golfers participate, and I hope that golf becomes an Olympic sport, because if that's the case, I believe the Chinese Olympic Foundation will help fund the growth of the game of golf throughout China.
I think that the PGA Tour has not many financial institutions as sponsors, maybe two. But the automotive industry is a very big sponsor, and they have been hit very hard. And so in the United States, we need as much help getting the sponsors back and to further promote our tour before I can think about elsewhere.

Q. Going back a couple of questions, presumably if you were the No. 1 you would be more protective and aware of your position than as No. 2; I know golfers aim to win and to be at the top.
PHIL MICKELSON: I really don't think about the World Rankings right now very much. It's the end of the year, and my thought is to play well and to compete internationally and play well internationally. My thought throughout the year is more about trying to win major championships. It's more about trying to play well in FedExCup events there at the end of the year, and overall improvement, and the ways -- I don't even understand the way the points system is.
So that's the last thing that I really think about, other than trying to improve my game and be the best that I can be and hopefully the best in the world, but I don't worry about the points system or the actual rankings themselves.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Phil, thank you very much. Good luck tomorrow.

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