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September 26, 2009

Phil Mickelson


Q. Talk about your round a little bit, please.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a fun day. I shot 4-under and made a good number of putts, hit the ball well and gave myself chances and ended up making some, so it was a really fun round to get back into it.

Q. You're going to be in contention here for the first time in a while.
PHIL MICKELSON: It feels great. I haven't been in contention since the Open. It's been a few months, mainly because of my putting, and again, I look back on Thursday where I threw six shots away from three holes, otherwise I'd be leading. But to come back the way I have and play the way I have, I feel like I'm playing some really good golf, that no matter how many shots back I am, I think I'll still be a factor.

Q. Winning here -- was it 2000?

Q. Was it so long ago that it doesn't matter or is it still relevant?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a different course. It was different greens. Rees Jones got ahold of these bunkers, and the subtleties are different now than it was in 2000.

Q. Not so much reinforcement or anything from back in the day that you can use for motivation?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, it's changed a decent amount, especially as firm as the greens are. You know, it never used to be like that. But also, the bunkers used to be where you to get up-and-down or have a reasonable chance, and now every single bunker the green is angled away from you, and with the greens being firm and quick, there's not a single bunker where you're hitting into the slope. Everything is going away. So the bunkers are very penalizing. You have to play much more conservative, play much more away from those, because they're truly hazards on this course.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: I feel like it, yeah.

Q. Compared to say the last two months or last year, whatever.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I was going this way and now I'm going this way. It feels great. I think the good thing for me is that I feel like, one, it's not new. It's the way I've always putted. And I have direction now. I mean, I know what I'm trying to do, and I expect that not only to play well tomorrow or the coming events, maybe The Presidents Cup, Singapore and China, I'm expecting next year. This is what I've been waiting for. I've been waiting for two years to get this kind of direction, because although I've won some tournaments and I've had some good putting weeks, I haven't putted well throughout the year. I'd have a sporadic week here or there that was good.

Q. Are you still working with Pelz?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I'm going to see him next week. We've never worked an technique, Dave and I, and Dave has been very helpful on what and how to practice around the holes. But to hear Stockton reinforce the technique that I've always putted with, which was hands ahead, hitting almost -- it feels like down on it, even though it's not, even though the hands continue low, keeping the face more square going back, not letting it open, all the things that I've always done he has reinforced. I've gone right back to the way I putted as a kid. It feels great.

Q. You're not the first guy who's gone back to something he used to do, but why did you get away from it?
PHIL MICKELSON: Because nobody teaches that. Nobody talks about that. So all you hear about is this rotate open and stuff, or you hear my hands have been too far ahead, so you slowly gravitate over the years away from it. I won't be doing that anymore.

Q. You're not a rotate open guy?
PHIL MICKELSON: Not too much, no. I mean, it will -- it's going to a little bit, but I've always felt like it doesn't.

Q. After the Michelle Wie success, did it cause you to call Stockton?
PHIL MICKELSON: We talked a little bit at the Ryder Cup, and he was in town for the LPGA event, and it worked out great.

Q. Was it you didn't realize you got away from it?
PHIL MICKELSON: Over the years, yeah. You look at me when I came out early on, it looks so different than it has the last couple years. I've putted okay, but I feel like I'm on the right track to good putting.

Q. I know over the years you've had these moments where you feel like you can make anything. When is the last time you kind of felt like you could make everything?
PHIL MICKELSON: (Shaking head) Yeah, it's been a while. It's been a while. I'm not sure. Even when I made putts at Doral this year or made putts at LA, I mean, when I'm walking up to the green here, I don't care if it's four feet or 40 feet, I feel like I'm going to -- like I should make it.

Q. How much are you looking forward to going to the game tonight and seeing your alma mater, and what do you think their chances are?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm hoping that ASU catches Georgia off guard. I'm hoping they catch them asleep. They've got to play LSU next week, they've played Arkansas, South Carolina, some tough games. They whipped us last year. I'm hoping they just take it easy on us, and then maybe we just might make it a game.

Q. What would a win, given all the water under the bridge this year in your game, at home and all that, to kind of maybe cap off the --
PHIL MICKELSON: It would be cool. I don't have a chance at the FedExCup because too much stuff has to happen, guys that are playing well. It won't. It's not important for me. I just feel great about the way this week has gone. I'm excited when I show up on the course. I'm having fun. And I'm starting to score a little better, which is nice.

Q. So you're going to be about three, maybe four back. What do you feel like you need to do tomorrow?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think this is a tough golf course. I don't think that you've got to go out and shoot 7-under par. Maybe I do. Maybe whoever is leading does that. But I feel like I can shoot 3-, 4-, 5-under par, and I think there's a good chance that that might be enough.

Q. Is your putter a face balanced or heel-toe balanced?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a blade.

Q. Is it balanced on the face?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a heel shafted, so it's just like my old blade, only Odyssey put that White Hot XG insert in that I like so much.

Q. Guys are bunched up on the leaderboard and it looks like we might get an exciting finish like we hoped for.
PHIL MICKELSON: That would be cool. That's what we're wanting.

Q. Is the putter the club in the bag that can be the B-12 shot and also the one that can depress you the most?
PHIL MICKELSON: It is, but the thing is I've been working so hard with Butch. I've hit the ball so well, and yet my scores haven't reflected that. And now you're starting to see the distance that I've increased, the accuracy, not so far off fairways, the iron shots, all the stuff that Butch and I have worked on, you'll start to see the results because the putter is now where it should be.

End of FastScripts

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