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April 4, 2010

Phil Mickelson


Q. 71 today, but deceptive because you closed in 32 on the back. Little bit of momentum going into Augusta, perhaps?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it was nice to make the birdies. I had a nice stretch there on the backside, and I'm looking forward to Augusta. I love the way that course is much more forgiving for me off the tee, and around the greens there's a lot more area to get up and do.

Q. All right. As we said, 71 today. Let's take a look at some of the highlights because there were many. You start off on the backside, you turn in 39. Doubled 10, but birdied 11, 12 and 13. This is at 14, the birdie putt.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, I hit a 7-iron there about 12 feet right of the hole. Didn't break too much.

Q. Wait a second. That's not Jim McKay. We're going to get to that in a second. We're going to move forward. 3rd shot at the 15th?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm on an upslope, and the ball went further. I only had about 65 yards to the hole. You can see how long the ball lasted in the air, which was fortunate. Lot of luck there to kind of gauge that right.

Q. Go on to birdie that hole as well. The key shot at the par 3, 16th.
PHIL MICKELSON: That was some good caddying here. The 6-iron was too much club. He told me to hit it a little bit lower and release up the slope. As the ball rested 15 feet behind the hole, it was a very tough read, but my caddy pulled through. He said about 8 inches outside the left. You could see it kind of swing in here.

Q. Then a par on 17. Then the drive on 18 finds the bunker on the right side. Hold on a second. Now, there's Jim who is back. It looks like there's all sorts of stuff going on out there.
PHIL MICKELSON: I saw a very famous caddy from the 1984 Westchester Classic, Tom Buchholz. He's an excellent green reader, if I'm not mistaken. It was a fantastic week with some good caddying.

Q. Great second shot out of the bunker after you miss the fairway on the 18th. Then the birdie putt here.
PHIL MICKELSON: Terrible read by the caddy. Didn't give me enough break, and I missed it low. You could see my frustration as I tilt my head back there, thinking what could have been if I had Tom Buchholz on the bag there.

Q. All kidding aside, Jim McKay has been with you since you've been a pro. My understanding, he's only missed two tournaments. One when Steve Loy, your former coach and agent, wanted to caddy for you in Arizona and once when he got sick. What was going on out there today?
PHIL MICKELSON: This man is a brilliant man. One of the best doctors in the world. He's helped us through our hardest times that Amy and I have gone through. He was in the crowd. He had actually caddied back in college and professional tournaments. It was a story we talked about over the many hours and weeks and months we've been together in the hospital, and this was -- I don't know, kind of a whim, come out and caddy a couple holes. He went three for three, three birdies, and as soon as he took a break, I went back to par.

Q. You just fell apart. I understand that Bones said if Phil birdies the next hole, I am not taking the bag.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well. He enjoyed the time off. I saw him in the stands. Looks like he had a beer. I don't know. I don't think he did. He was enjoying the time off. We had a fun day.

Q. That was a nice thing you did for the Doctor there. Question for you, though. Not had the best of weeks here, but you seem to have found something on the backside. What changed?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it comes down to caddying, Jimmy. No. I don't know what it was. I fight this golf course, and it's a real fight for me because I want to play next week and play well and I need to hit drivers next week.
I hit driver at every hole at Augusta except for one. Here if you hit driver, you're not playing this course smart. There's so much water and cuts in. It's just not a course where you can't hit the shots for next week. That's not my goal, though.
My goal is to get ready for next week. I hit drivers on a lot of holes, and I was able to keep it out of the hazards of the last eight holes. That seemed to be the big difference. I was able to make birdie.

Q. Phil, very entertaining round for everyone. Do you do this just to amuse yourself sometimes with the doubles and then the six in a row?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know where it comes from. I really don't. It was a day. Much rather have finished.

Q. You had a little trouble early. You junk your caddy. You throw Bones overboard and pick up a new caddy?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I had enough. No, I'm kidding. There's one of the best doctors in the world really here at M.D. Anderson helped us through tough times was out here, and he actually told me a story. When he caddied back in 1984 at Westchester for Allen Miller they had a good finish. They finished like 12th or so back when he was in school studying. And I thought, well, this was a good opportunity to see just how good a caddy he is. He did quite a job. We went three for three on the three holes. It was only going to be one hole.
I kept making birdies. When I did call Bones back in because he looked a little too comfortable standing in the stands, having a drink and burger. Needed to get him back out. Of course, we finished with two pars. So, lesson to be learned.

Q. Dr. Tom Buchholz, let's give him credit. He's a great surgeon, but also as a caddy, that's a fun way to do it.
PHIL MICKELSON: Augusta there's not water on here. Out here you deal with water almost every single shot. 22, 24 shots here have it. So I have to kind of accept the fact that I'm not making the smartest decisions out here this week, but I have got to hit drivers and get ready for next week.

Q. Your schedule now, you're going to try to get any in today?
PHIL MICKELSON: No. I'm going to head over to Augusta. I'll take tomorrow off. I always like to take Mondays off the week of a Major and get rested. I'll start a practice round on Tuesday and probably take Wednesday -- I won't play but probably have a good practice session.

Q. Let me ask you something on a little more serious note. As far as Augusta next week, with this incredible run of six birdies, I mean, you've got to feel awfully confident today, I found something, I'm ready.
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm looking forward to next week. This golf course I know heading in is nothing like what we're going to play next week. None of the shots are the same. Off the tee, water cuts in right where the landing area for driver.
You can't hit drivers here and play this course effectively, but I refuse to play this -- to play irons and woods. I've got to hit driver and find out how I'm driving it, where my misses are and so forth to get ready for next week.
It's not the smartest way. I had penalty shots every single round. It's the way it's going to be. I would rather get ready for next week.

Q. I'm assuming after today your spirits are sky high.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's much better after the back-9.

Q. Nice round.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes. It was very up and down, up and down round, and I got off to a very poor start but finished well and made 6 birdies coming in and gained a little bit of the momentum for next week and had a fun week.

Q. Phil, good way to end a week being with the doctor and with the surgeon and everything. Is that the best way to end the week for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was. It was fun. It was fun. Dr. Buchholz there is -- been so helpful this last year. We've been very lucky to have him and Dr. Hunt in our life.
And he told a story, you know, about when he caddy going through medical school back in 1984, Westchester for Allen Miller. So I had to call him on it today.
I don't know what made me think of it. I saw him there, and I just thought this would be a good opportunity. It was only supposed to go one hole, and I ended up making birdie and kept making birdies, and we went three for three together.
It wasn't until I saw Bones in the stands, a little too comfortable there with a drink in one hand, that I needed to get him back out here. I need him working for next week.

Q. Was this a bittersweet week for you being back here for treatment, or how would you say?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was nice to be here in Houston without having any medical issues, and it was an enjoyable week. The people here have been terrific. I've been surprised how much support this tournament gets. It's just wonderful to come out here and see so many people supporting this tournament, and unfortunately, I didn't score as low as I would like, but I had a fun week.

Q. Do you think you started a trend with the two-caddy system?
PHIL MICKELSON: It will just keep -- it's just designed to keep Bones on his toes.

Q. Will you be using the Doc anymore?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure.

Q. Phil, what do you think you maybe gained from this week, something really good for next week, seriously?
PHIL MICKELSON: I know coming into this week that this is not a golf course that has anything like the shot value of what Augusta has. You cannot hit driver here. I can't hit driver on this golf course and play it effectively because water cuts into my landing area, bunkers cut into my landing areas, pin placements are all tucked with the shaded areas going into the water.
Augusta, you play very aggressive. There aren't any chipping areas here. I realize that, but I won't succumb to that. I'm going to hit drivers out here because I'm going to hit them next week, and I got to get that ready.
I'm going to attack pins because that's what I've got to do next week. Unfortunately, I get a lot of penalty strokes when I do that out here.

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