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January 29, 2010

Phil Mickelson


Q. I know you probably want to talk about your round, but there's been an article that's been written and Scott McCarron has made some comments. Are you aware of his comments, which I'm basically paraphrasing that it's cheating for you to use your wedge and the Ping i2 wedge even though it's within the rules, and also that he's appalled that you're using it.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I agree that the rule -- it's a terrible rule; to change something that has this kind of loophole is nuts. But it's not up to me or any other player or interpret what the interpretation of the rule is or the spirit of the rule. I understand black and white. And I think that myself or any other player is allowed to play those clubs because they're approved. End of story.
Again, I totally agree with them. I think it's a ridiculous rule. But whoever wants to play them, they're approved. And like I said before, we have two things going on. We have legal and conforming grooves, and we have approved for play, and I have sent in legal grooves that have been not approved, and these grooves in my opinion are, just like Scott felt, are non-conforming grooves, but they are approved. And as a player when you ask the PGA TOUR or the USGA or whatever, all that matters is if they're approved.

Q. When you hear your name and the word cheating in the same sentence by a fellow pro, what's your reaction?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I think rather than answer that directly, I think what he's saying is the rule is a terrible rule, and I agree with them. I'm just as upset. The difference is I've been talking with Dick Rugge of the USGA and talking to the Commissioner and explaining this behind closed doors, how ridiculous all this is. I don't agree with the way he carried on about it, but that's his choice.

Q. But you kind of agree? Will you now take the club out of the bag particularly since your character comes into question now?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was skeptical about playing it this week, not because of the legality of it. I think anybody can play those clubs.

Q. Other than the bogey at 12, your third hole, you got things going in the middle of the round and then it kind of slowed down. What was the cause of that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I missed a putt on 1, 3 and 4 that I thought I had made all those, and it may have taken a little momentum out. But the difference was afterwards I didn't have very many birdie putts, but I was able to make all the tough par putts and kind of salvage the round.

Q. Somebody is calling you basically a cheater for using your wedge. Your reaction?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, all my clubs are approved for play, and I take that very seriously not to violate any rule. It's not my job or the job of any of the players to try to interpret the spirit of the rule or the intent. I understand approved or not approved. I didn't make this rule. I don't agree with the rule, but I'm abiding by it.

Q. Would you consider changing your club?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't think there's that much of a difference between this club that I'm using and my other wedge as I've been playing with it. So there's a very good chance that I'll switch back. But not for the reason that I feel like I've been doing something wrong. I think that any player using these clubs that are approved under the rules of golf are fine.

Q. Is there some validity to the spirit of the rule argument?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, it's black and white. If you're speeding going 65, over that, you're speeding. If you're going under, you're not. It's not our job to interpret rules, it's our job to understand if our club is okay to play with or not.

Q. You alluded to having sent clubs to the USGA that conformed to the letter of their specifications and they were ruled illegal.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, this whole groove thing I think has turned into a debacle because we have grooves that we sent in that are legal that are not approved. We have these grooves that in my opinion are not legal, are not conforming, but they're approved for play. And then we have testing methods that are totally different amongst our two governing bodies. One is approving them, one isn't, and it's never the same. They're not on the same page, and it's been very frustrating trying to figure out what you can and can't play.

Q. So in other words you say that you think it's a ridiculous rule and you don't think they should be approved, but yet you still play them --
PHIL MICKELSON: Because they're approved. There's a lot of guys that are playing them this week, and I don't blame them.

End of FastScripts

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