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May 8, 2009

Phil Mickelson


Q. The 9th hole, your last hole, you were grinding there. You knew pretty much what you had to do?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I mean -- yeah, I knew I had to make four to have a chance. I hit a good drive. I hit a good 3-wood on the green. I hit a good lag putt, made birdie.
I struggled on the greens today. I hit the ball really well today. I hit a lot of fairways, I hit a lot of greens and didn't make squat. I had three birdies today and they were all 2-putts. The course played very fair. It's amazing how quick the greens are, because they look healthy. They're not burnt out and dried up like kind of last week was. They are in perfect shape and the ball is just very quick. And I had trouble getting the speed. My speed was off all day.

Q. Did you find that, too, even on chip shots, also?
PHIL MICKELSON: Chip shots were very tough to get it close, it really is. Into the grain, uphill into the grain, it's actually okay. But downgrain, downhill, it's so hard to stop it chipping and putting.

Q. What can you tell about playing well and not playing well here how it affects the rest of your season, how you set it up like for The Open?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know if it really affects any of the other events, but certainly this is a week we look forward to and try to play our best golf and try to gear up. It's by far our largest purse of the year, by far the strongest field of the year and with it being the players, it's -- we all feel as though this is kind of our event.

Q. This is the kind of golf course, assuming that that's the number that plays on the weekend, is it the kind of golf course you can go out and shoot 65, 65?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, it is. Historically the leader in the day is more difficult than in the morning. 6, 7-under par early on, and moved right up the leaderboard. That's what I'm going to hope for and try to do tomorrow. If I'm fortunate to make it through to the weekend, I'm going to try to post a low one tomorrow. You never know, the wind can come up, and move into the top five or ten.

Q. That was a tough two-putt on nine, talk about the eagle putt for a minute?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was an uphill into the grain putt, I could be aggressive. I wasn't worried about racing it by. I felt confident that I was going to be able to get it close. But I knew I needed to get it down in two to have a chance for the weekend.

Q. Butch says you're swinging the club well. Do you feel that way?
PHIL MICKELSON: I do. I'm hitting as well as I have this year. I'm driving the ball well and my irons are getting better and better, but I did struggle on the greens today and I'll have to address that.

Q. Are you surprised in any way to look up at that leaderboard and see 11-under?
PHIL MICKELSON: After the first day, yesterday, no. It's out there. It's a very fair test. You play well, you could birdie the par-5s. I was able to reach all four par-5s. There are birdies out there if you play well. If you make some putts, goodness, you can shoot a low round.

Q. Is it frustrating for you, because you know you love the course and you said earlier in the week how much you love the changes?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not frustrated yet. I feel like I'm playing well. I'm hitting a lot of good shots. I'm taking advantage of the par-5s. And I'm going to go out tomorrow and see if I can shoot a low round. You just never know in this format, you really don't. It's a tough golf course, the greens are very difficult. If I can shoot a low round, I'm not giving up at all.

Q. You said you didn't have the speed of the greens, so does that mean occasionally you're a little defensive, afraid to race it past five feet?
PHIL MICKELSON: I raced some past the hole a lot more than five feet, and that seemed to be the story. It's difficult to make the putts when you don't get the right speed. I was rolling it between 4 and 8.

Q. Do you expect the golf course to continue to get harder over the weekend and is that good?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's hard to say. It's hard to say. In the morning I think it will be a little softer than in the afternoon. The course has a tendency to dry out when the sun has been baking it. You just never know.
I've played in the latter groups and I have seen it where guys march right up the leaderboard. So you just never want to give up here, because too many things can happen on this golf course.

Q. Did Tebow have a pretty good day with you, is he a good golfer?
PHIL MICKELSON: He's a pretty good golfer, I was very impressed.

Q. Anything you can tell him to work on his game?
PHIL MICKELSON: I know he's playing his coach shortly, and that's a big match to him. In an effort to try to push my DVD, I tried to share with him some short game stuff and hopefully it will help.

Q. How do you throw the football?
PHIL MICKELSON: I can't hang with him. We had a contest, he had to throw from his knee and I thought I could throw it okay, and I was a couple yards shy. He ended up having a better arm that from his knees, that's humbling.

Q. You didn't quite pronate?
PHIL MICKELSON: That's a golf term, there. (Laughter).

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