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February 5, 2011

Phil Mickelson


Q. It looked like fun out there.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was great. It's Saturday of the Phoenix Open. It's always fun. There's a lot of people out here. I don't think there's a shot I wanted to make more other than a major championship than that putt on 16. I wanted to make that so bad.

Q. The last two holes last week, you had a walk-up on 17, you read where the ball was going to break toward the hole, you read it stone dead and then you had Bones hold the flag on the last. How hard are you trying?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's not that I'm trying. I'm obviously trying to get it as close as possible and hope that it goes in, but I just don't want -- sometimes the pin is more of a hindrance on those shots. You have so much spin, if it hits the pin it usually will spin away from the hole. Ideally you would never have the pin in, but I think on those shots it hurts more than it helps.

Q. You had home field advantage last week some people would say, but does this week feel kind of similar?
PHIL MICKELSON: I spent 12 great years here and went to college here, and my wife and I met here. We lived here for a number of years and had our first two children here. This is a special place. I love coming back. I love the way people treat us. It makes me feel special.

Q. You can't watch the game tomorrow so you might as well win the golf tournament. But who do you like in the game?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's going to be a great game. I like both teams, they're both great teams, but I think Green Bay is going to win. I think they're going to dominate. Aaron Rodgers is playing so good and Pittsburgh has always struggled against a spread offense, and I also think that Green Bay's defensive line is going to own them.

Q. Starting off the day did you know how far back you were in the charge that you felt like you had to make?
PHIL MICKELSON: I saw that 14-under was leading and that I was only 4 starting the day, but it's only the second round. We've got the third round and then we've got the final too, so all I needed to do was just play something solid today, 4-, 5-, 6-under par to get me back in position and then try to make up some ground in the third round. But it's weird because it's Saturday and we're just finishing up our second.

Q. What did you do yesterday?
PHIL MICKELSON: I had a great day yesterday. Bones and I went up and played with a couple friends of ours up at Whisper Rock just right up the street here. We had a nice little hangout there.

Q. Tell me about that 16th hole. I know you had to be jacked up coming through because they were saying, "We want Phil."
PHIL MICKELSON: That is really a fun hole. I love coming back and playing this tournament, and Saturday is the greatest day here at this Phoenix Open, and there's not a putt I wanted more to make than that one right there, other than majors, but that putt right there was a big one, and to see that go in with the crowd right there was a great feeling.

Q. You've put a little bit of pressure on the leaders.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, there's a lot of golf left, and even though it's Saturday it feels like it's the third round but we've only played two, so we're halfway through and to be within a few shots, it's where everybody is trying to get to.
This golf course is I think one of the best risk-reward courses we have out here. It really rewards you for taking on risk and pulling the shots off. It's one of the most fun courses we play with the two reachable par-5s on the back and the drivable par-4, 16th hole; I think this back nine is one of the best most fun nine holes of golf we play. There can be a huge change in the lead on those final nine holes, and so the whole goal right now is to just get in position for the back nine on Sunday.

Q. Talk a little bit about 16 and the fans you've got out there.
PHIL MICKELSON: 16 is great, it is really great. The players love it, and the fans are so much fun. It's the hole that I want to hit my best shot of the day on, it's the hole that I want to make a 2 badly, and today I hit just an okay iron shot to about 35 feet, but that putt went in, and it was an awesome feeling. It's so much fun to see the crowd erupt there and to do that.

Q. You saw the leaderboard earlier today and you saw that it was 14. Did that put a spark in you to make a run today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, when you see somebody go really low like that the tendency is to kind of force, to push. You just can't. You have to be patient and wait for your birdie holes. And I was able to do that and not force the issue on the back nine. I got it going, shot 5-under there and was able to get myself in a good position and realize there were three rounds left. Now we're halfway through and I'm only a few shots back.

Q. This is a course where everyone wants Phil Mickelson to win.
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't want to let anybody down. I really want to try to come out on top here, too. I've won twice here in the past, and it was very special. It was a feeling that was incredible being able to walk up 18 knowing I had the tournament in hand. One time I was in a playoff. It's such a fun tournament, just trying to get in contention for the final round.

Q. (Question on the weather.)
PHIL MICKELSON: It didn't really affect anybody because first of all everybody has got to deal with it. But second, the weather here has been so good that we've been able to go elsewhere and work on our game. It's not as if we're cooped up in rain and so forth. It was really a fluke deal to have that kind of chill and cold in the morning. But now we're getting some great weather, and the final two rounds are going to be played in perfect conditions.

Q. Rickie is 10-under now and he shot 9-under today. Do you have any comments on his play today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, he's another strong player and he's right up there in contention, and it's going to be a fun shootout.

End of FastScripts

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