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March 25, 2010

Phil Mickelson


Q. 1-under par 71, first time you got a chance to see the course changes, what do you think?
PHIL MICKELSON: Thought it was terrific. I thought every improvement, everything that was changed was for the better. I loved Arnold's attitude a few months ago when he said we are going to make 4 and 16 par 5s, these guys are the best players in the world, if they shoot 20-under, they shoot 20-under. That's a great attitude to have. I think as players we are getting tired of some of the courses being doctored so much.

Q. How much emphasis is there on the par 5s to attack the course?
PHIL MICKELSON: They are much better holes to begin with. They were moving the tee up on 4 and we were hit to go an area that was not designed to receive tee shots. It's just a great hole now. I love the way the bunkering area is, the way the chipping area is around, the way the ball gets pulled away from the green, like a shot I hit on 14 where it goes quite a bit further away from the green leaving a much more challenging shot, but yet you still have a great shot. I thought it was very well done.

Q. Last thing I saw you working on the range this morning for a couple of hours this morning with Butch Harmon; does the work you put in with Butch translate on to the golf course now?
PHIL MICKELSON: It usually does but I spent more time this past week putting and trying to get my putter going. I spent four days with Dave Stockton, a couple hours each day. It feels much better. I have much better direction, and so I haven't spent as much time hitting balls, and so I need to get a few practice sessions in with Butch, and so it works out great that he's here this week.

Q. You just shot a 1-under par 71, your thoughts about the changes you saw today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought they were all for the better. I really enjoyed playing the golf course. The bunkering was terrific and there were a lot of short game areas around the green that provided challenging shots and really made the golf course fun to play.
I'm looking forward to these next three weeks. I feel like I have direction where ball-striking and putting are concerned, and short game has been pretty good. So I don't feel far off. Again I've got three weeks to get going for Augusta. It's been tough on my schedule this year having a week on, week off, week on, week off, it's a tough way to get into my routine, so I'll enjoy playing these next three.
A good stretch here coming up, and you know, I feel like I have direction, which is the biggest thing, direction with the putter and ball-striking. It's great to have Butch here for a few days and I'm looking forward to these next three weeks.

Q. Are you making any special changes with your wedges? Or short game?
PHIL MICKELSON: I really haven't. I think that the bag, the clubs that I'll have in the bag for Augusta are the clubs I'll be using here, as well as next week. There's only one other possible club that I may interchange a different driver, but if I like the way this one is working, I'll probably use this one.

Q. What do you think about, as you know, Tiger is coming back; are you glad we have gotten to the point where it's going to be about golf pretty soon?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I think we are all excited to have him back. We all know how important he is the to game and we as players are excited to have him back.

Q. What if you get paired with him? Would you volunteer?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, it would be great. The TOUR has not paired us together in -- since we have been out on TOUR. It's just never happened before. I think it would be great. I would love it.

Q. Sunday last year --
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I enjoyed that.

End of FastScripts

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