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May 6, 2011

Phil Mickelson


Q. Yesterday it looked like you could have shot anything. Today it looked like you could have shot nothing. Which was more fun?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, today was a lot more fun because yesterday was an important round because when I didn't quite have it, to be able to salvage pars, keep myself around par, a couple under, so that if I get a day like today where I was playing well, it moves me up the leaderboard. Today was really a fun day. Putts went in early, and it's going to be a fun weekend.

Q. What was the difference?
PHIL MICKELSON: I had some really good iron play today. I hit a few more -- it seemed like I was playing a little bit more, too, early on not as much, but towards the end there I started hitting some good drives and had some chances for birdies.

Q. Short game was ridiculously good.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. I've been working on it, and my touch has been good. The putts, either they're going in or they're catching the lip. They're rolling much better. Starting to see the break a lot better, so I've had a good two days on the greens.

Q. Looks like you and Gary really enjoy playing together.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, he's a nice guy. He and Nick are both terrific guys, some of the nicest we have. So we had a fun couple of days.

Q. Things were really working for you, especially today.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a good day today. I was able to make some birdies and salvage some pars with the short game. Yesterday is where I really needed my short game because I put myself in some precarious spots but was able to salvage pars and make a few birdies, so when I did get a hot round like today it did some good and moved me up the leaderboard as opposed to just trying to make the cut.

Q. You always seem to feel comfortable here, every single year.
PHIL MICKELSON: I really like the golf course, and I love the way the course is set up. I love the way there's first cut. There's a lot of opportunities for recovery. When you do miss the fairway, even though you're in trees and you have a tough shot, you still have an opportunity with a decent lie.

Q. Yesterday you wanted to work on keeping the ball in play.
PHIL MICKELSON: Things got a lot better right around the turn. Right after 18 I started to get it dialed in a little bit more. I either hit the fairway or just went through and still hit good shots, so it got to be much better.

Q. Birdie at 18 really gave you a lift.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, that was a bonus putt because it was so quick by the hole, I'm trying to make it but I have to die it in, and to have that ball trickle in was kind of a bonus shot.

Q. The greens have softened up a bit. How low do you think you guys are going to go this weekend?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, there will be some low scores, but there's still some very challenging pins and there's still a little bit of wind that starts to swirl, so I think we'll have a pretty good discrepancy in scores. We'll have some low ones and some high ones based on the golf course because the course will reward you if you hit good shots and it'll penalize you if you don't.

Q. Seve has taken a turn for the worse and his family pull out a bulletin saying it doesn't look good. You mentioned that he had been very helpful to you when you were a young player. What are some of your thoughts about him?
PHIL MICKELSON: He was the guy I wanted to play a practice round with the most, and when I played my first PGA TOUR event in San Diego in 1988, Ernie Gonzales, another fellow lefty, arranged a practice round with him. From that day on, he couldn't have been nicer to me. We had a great round of golf. He showed me a few things, showed me a few shots, and ever since then we've had a good relationship for the last 23 years that I've known him. I have nothing but nice things to say about him.

Q. What about his impact on the game, the Ryder Cup, so on?
PHIL MICKELSON: He's certainly had an impact on the game, but to me the greatest thing about Seve is his flair and his charisma. Because of the way he played the game of golf, you were drawn to him. You wanted to go watch him play. He had charisma and he kind of had so many shots that it was fun to watch him play.

Q. How would you compare today to yesterday?
PHIL MICKELSON: Today I was thinking of going low. Yesterday I was just kind of fighting to keep the round in check. Yesterday was an important day because I was able to use short game to keep myself in it and shoot something under par so that when I get a hot day like today where I'm making a few putts, making some birdies, it's able to move me up the leaderboard rather than just get me back in the middle of the pack.

Q. What's the most difficult thing when you come back competitively after a three-week layoff?
PHIL MICKELSON: Usually what happens is the first eight or nine holes I'm a little rusty, and I think that was evident yesterday. I wasn't mentally in tune for a competitive round, and I hit a few wayward shots. And then as you get into the round and get back from a few weeks off, you start to get a little bit sharper mentally, see the shots a little bit better and pull them off a little easier.

Q. There are opportunities out there. Are you surprised where the scores are right now or do you think they're about right?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I think it's about right because of the fact the greens are pretty soft.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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