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May 1, 2009

Phil Mickelson


Q. Talk about 17, Phil.
PHIL MICKELSON: 17, you know, it's out there. You know, on 10 I hit a putt from 30 feet that went 15 feet past the hole. There's some pins that are very challenging, and it can happen. Unfortunately I left my first putt short on 17. I was fearing rolling it eight, ten feet by, and I left it five feet short, and when I missed it, there wasn't anything to stop it. I probably should have made that seven-, eight-footer coming back, but just didn't hit a good one.

Q. You came back on 18, had a nice chip, almost knocked it in.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it happens. I think guys are going to struggle with some parts of the course out there, but it's a very fair test. The rough isn't up there. It's like Augusta; it's like the first cut. And because of that you always have a shot. But with the greens being firm and the pins being on slopes, it's not an easy course to shoot low.

Q. Do you like the way it's set up?
PHIL MICKELSON: I do. I think that the recovery shot is brought into play here. I think people are enjoying seeing some recovery shots. I think the short game around the greens is coming out. You have to hit some great shots to get it close, but you always have a chance. We're not having that hack-and-hope out of long hay we see often, but this is one of the best setups I've seen. I love it.

Q. Have you formed a strategy going forward knowing the way the golf course is playing?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's hard to say; depends on the wind, depends on the conditions. If we get some rain and the course is soft, there will be some low scores. But when the greens are firm like this, it's very difficult to get the ball stopped and the slopes are pronounced so it takes the ball quite a ways away from the hole.

Q. Did you chip the ball on No. 4?
PHIL MICKELSON: On 4 I chipped it, yeah.

Q. What was the thinking?
PHIL MICKELSON: The slope was so severe, I didn't think I could just eke it over the edge and stop it, and I would have had to have gone way up sideways. I just thought it was easier to just fly it to the bottom. That's kind of where I went with it.

Q. How did that work out?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit it about five feet by the hole and made it. So I'll take a two-putt, I guess, if you will.

Q. What about 10, kind of a similar thing?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, the greens are rolling quick, but what's interesting is they're very grainy. I don't see very grainy bent greens that often. My first putt was uphill into the grain and then straight downhill, downgrain, and it just wasn't going to stop. I didn't hit a bad putt, it just went 15 feet by.
I knew it was going to be out there. It's out there on some other holes, too.

Q. Do you see the greens picking up even more speed through the weekend, and did you see any difference from yesterday to today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it was comparable, but when we had a little rain for just a minute, it softened them just enough to where they were almost easier than when we first went out in the morning.
If the weather comes in and we get a little bit of rain and the course softens, we'll have low scores. If it stays firm, it's going to be a very interesting weekend, a fun weekend. Some great shot making I think you'll see.

Q. Can you see anybody, looking at how the course has been set up, and there's always going to be some complaints, but people suggesting that they're only doing this to get the power players up at the top of the leaderboard, big names, Tiger, Phil?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hope so. That would be great (laughter).

Q. Does this play into the hands of power players? What would be the argument against that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the argument against it is the fairways are so firm that I'm having to hit a lot of 3-woods and 4-woods off the tees and I'm playing my approach shots from the same spots that many of the shorter players would play from because their balls are running out on these firm fairways.

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