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May 2, 2010

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON: I was four, five, six holes into the round thinking that 68 was kind of the number, that 11 was the number I needed to try to get. I've got to congratulate Rory on a tremendous round. He played some incredible golf. 30 on the back nine the way this course is is just fabulous. He's an amazing talent. You knew he was going to come out and win out here. He's won all other places in the world at 20 years old. It's remarkable, and he is some kind of player.

Q. What does Phil Mickelson take from this event this week the way you performed and put it to use in Ponte Vedra next week?
PHIL MICKELSON: I get to go spend some time with Butch the first couple days of the week. I felt like it was great for me to get back into contention right out of Augusta. There was no let-down. I got right back in the thick of it, made some clutch shots at times and also made some poor shots when I needed to hit some good ones. So I'll have a chance to work on that.
And THE PLAYERS is a really big event. It's one that we all would like to play well, and fortunately my game is really close. Some adjustments here or there, and hopefully I should be able to get in contention again on Sunday.

Q. It looked to me like the difficulty of judging the winds and figuring out how firm the greens were and club selection, those kind of things were more issues than maybe just mechanical golf swing.
PHIL MICKELSON: For whatever reason this week, I was hitting my irons 10 to 15 yards farther than I expected. That hasn't happened in years. I can't remember the last time. Even at Augusta, I was hitting my irons longer than I usually do, but I was able to adjust for it.
Here it was constantly surprising me how many times I was going long, and so that's something that I'll have to work on, as well.

Q. You talked about what you thought you needed to shoot today to win, but it would have been 63 because of what McIlroy shot. You had 68. Talk about your day.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it was a great round by Rory. I mean, on the back nine I made a couple of birdies to try to get close, and I thought I might be able to catch him. I was within one or two before he played 15. When he played 15, he knocked it a couple feet, makes eagle, birdies 16 and 18 and finished off with such class. He's a young player, obviously 20, but he's got the game of a veteran. This guy has got all the shots.
I've played with him over the last year or two a decent amount, and it's tough to walk away feeling disappointed, not only as a player but as a person, so I'm happy for him to win even though I'm disappointed it was at my expense.

Q. A lot of people wondered how you would follow up the Masters win, and you certainly came through.
PHIL MICKELSON: I feel like at the Masters a lot of things kind of clicked. I was happy to come here, get in contention, get in the thick of it and have a good tournament even though I wasn't able to quite finish it off. That gives me some momentum heading into next week. I'll have a chance to spend some time with Butch Harmon early in the week and iron out a couple of kinks that I may have felt I had this week and see if I can put it together at THE PLAYERS. That's a big one for us, one that we all dearly want to win.

Q. I can see your confidence now going to Jacksonville has to be solid.
PHIL MICKELSON: It is. I'm glad that this first tournament went well because after a couple weeks off after a big high like Augusta, you never know where the game is going to be at, and the way that I played and kept the ball in play and hit good shots, so I'm looking forward to next week.

Q. This morning you said it was going to be difficult. It was windy and the golf course was really good. Did you think anybody would get that low today?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I really thought even while I was playing out there on the front nine that 11-under was going to be kind of the target number, that that probably could win outright or playoff at the worst. You just never expect something like 62. I've got to give Rory -- what a great round. He's an incredible player, a great talent, a great young man, a great kid. I really enjoy being around him. And I'm so happy for him. I'm just disappointed it's at my expense.

Q. Speaking of Rory, you've seen people come over here and try to be (indiscernible). What does it mean for a kid like him with all that talent to alleviate some of that pressure very early in his career?
PHIL MICKELSON: He's won a number of places throughout the world, and for him to win here on the PGA TOUR just sets it off. He's got all the shots, he's got the game of a veteran, and he's a class act. He's fun to be around. You can't help but pull for him.
62 is one of the best rounds I've seen in a long, long time. It was very impressive. He's an impressive player. He's also a wonderful person, so I'm happy for him.

Q. When you dropped that bomb on 13, that kind of looked like it might jump start you. At what point did you see the scoreboard and see him kind of inching away?
PHIL MICKELSON: When I birdied 13 and 14, I was within one shot of him as we both played 15, and as I was walking down 15 fairway, I saw that he had eagled 15 and started to pull away.

Q. After all of that, I think he dropped a 43-footer on 18. Can you just talk about -- I know you kind of addressed it a little bit, but being 20 years old and winning for the first time?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I think that he's won all throughout the world, and for him to win here on the PGA TOUR before his 21st birthday I just think sets his career off. He's obviously an impressive player. Everybody knows how great he is and sees some of the shots that you just look in amazement. I'm happy for him that he was able to put together this great round. I'm sorry it was at my expense.

Q. I know this is a way-in-the-future sort of question, but given your reticence about the greens here, will that stop you or make you think harder about coming back?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, not at all. I love this tournament, and I think that -- I love the way the TOUR sets it up. I love the city here, and I've always loved this -- I've come to really love and enjoy this golf tournament, and everybody has got to play them.

End of FastScripts

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