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April 9, 2010

Phil Mickelson


Q. Talk about the putt on 18.
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit that putt a bunch in the past, and I knew that the tendency is to leave it short. So I gave it a little bit extra, and I was fortunate that it caught the hole.

Q. How challenging were the conditions and particularly the course set up today versus yesterday?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought the pin placements were a lot more difficult, and I knew going out that it was going to be much more difficult to shoot under par or shoot in the 60s because it was a lot harder to get to some of those pins.

Q. It's been proven out before, and you say this often, you just feel welcome when you get here; you feel relaxed and comfortable; you're almost permanently in the Top 10. Why is that, almost regardless of how you perform prior to arriving here?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I just love this place, and there's a couple things about it that fit me, and that is there's enough room to recover. There's not this big heavy rough. Underneath the pine trees you have swings, you have a shot. And because of that I feel like I can make a mistake, it frees up my golf swing, and I swing harder every drive here at Augusta than I do any other week. If I miss a couple, I'm still able to have a shot get it up by the green and let my short game save par.

Q. How do you assess your position?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's a good position. I'm two back. I'm in third place. We've got 36 holes left, and I feel like I'm right on the cusp of really having a good round. I've putted and rolled the ball so good these last few days and caught so many lips, as soon as a couple of those 12-, 15-footers start to fall, I think I can get in the mid 60s.

Q. How good does it feel, the position that you're in right now?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it feels great. To only be two back, to be in third place going into the weekend. There's nothing like being in contention on the weekend at Augusta National. There's no better feeling in the game. There's nothing you dream of more. I'm within two shots. I'm playing very well, and I feel like I'm right on the edge.
I've rolled the ball as well as I have in a long time. The balls are tracking, and as soon as a couple of the 12- and 15-footers start going in the hole rather than catching the lips, I think I'm going to have a really low round.

Q. (No microphone.)
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, quite a few. I mean, quite a few. But the good news is I'm making all the short ones because I'm hitting the ball solid, I'm rolling the ball well and I'm giving a lot of putts a chance, and that's what I care about.

Q. Not to go all Ben Crenshaw on you, but your game was kind of -- you kept talking about how close it was and how you felt it was coming. But it wasn't showing, and then you show up on a magical golf course and it seems to have just -- everything is coming together.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think -- well, this couldn't be a better place for me to bring my game together because you don't have to be perfect. It allows me to free up a little bit and play without fear because the opportunities to recover are there. If I hit a poor drive in the trees, I'm going to have a swing underneath those pine trees, a shot and a chance to get it up by the green and let my short game save par for me.

Q. Talk about 15.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the further right I play it along the fringe, the more severe the slope. It was just going to take it to the left front anyway, so I was just trying to give myself a 10- to 15-footer there up the hill.

Q. How far were you off 8 and why that shot?
PHIL MICKELSON: Off 8, I didn't have a shot over there to keep it on the green. If I fly a wedge on the green, it's going to go right over. The only option that I saw was to go over the green off that bank and let it come back on. That was the only way to get it on the green and be 40 feet. I've practiced that shot over there with a putter right of that green, not that far right, but I've practiced that shot a bunch, and I felt like I had a chance to get that close. What I messed up was I should have putted the next one. It was only this far from the fringe, and if I just putt it up on top, it'll just trickle down to the hole.
But I thought the ball was going to grip my face and get a little spin, and it didn't. With the new grooves it just kind of hit and kind of jumped up and had no spin on it and took off down the hill. Where I made the mistake was not the third shot but the fourth not putting it.

Q. How far off was the third one?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was probably 30 -- it was exactly 30 yards. We paced it.

Q. What do you feel has clicked in with the putting?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just rolling the ball better. It hasn't felt far off. I've hit some good putts, and then when I come to a course like this where I know the reads or have a pretty good idea what the reads are, I make more confident strokes. I've been just getting the ball with a nice tight track on it, tight roll on it, and they're rolling out very good, and as soon as -- again, as soon as just a couple of those 12-, 15-footers fall, I feel like I've got a really low round in me.

Q. 18 was a great putt. How far was that?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was roughly 65 feet I would say, and I've hit that putt a bunch in practice. I knew the break. I also have a tendency to leave that putt short four feet, and so I gave it a little bit extra in an attempt to get it there, and I gave it a little too much.

Q. Good read, though.

End of FastScripts

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