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June 5, 2011

Phil Mickelson


Q. Everything okay with the scorecard?

Q. 17 great holes obviously, last one not great, but it was a fantastic round.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I played well today. I had fun. Kevin and I both had a good time today and we both were making some birdies, so it was a fun day.

Q. What did you pull out of this week from start to finish?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, the areas that I need to work on. I was able to -- I hit the ball pretty well tee to green throughout the week. I didn't putt the best the first few days, but putted pretty good today.

Q. Everybody is intrigued by your 2-iron. Can you tell us about that club?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's just a 2-iron that Callaway has made for five or six years now. It's got a little bit of a backing to it, kind of an X-Tour 2-iron that is easy to get up in flight, so it's going to be in the bag at Congressional, and I anticipate using it quite a bit.

Q. Have you seen the new configuration at Congressional, the finishing holes?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I'll see it here the next few days.

Q. Plan on going out and playing a few practice rounds?
PHIL MICKELSON: I will, yes.

Q. Can you talk about obviously going into Congressional when going into the Masters you won at Shell; how you're coming into Congressional playing what we think is pretty good obviously after today. How do you feel going in? And when you say you've identified what you need to work on, what is that?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's really getting a good feel on the greens. I mean, it's getting good speed. The first three days my speed was off, so if I had a good read, I either hit it through the break or I'd come up short, miss it low, because I didn't use enough pace.
My speed from outside of 6 feet, 6 to 35 feet, the putts you've really got to make to get a good round going, was off a little bit the first few days. Today even the ones that missed were rolling about a foot and a half by, which is about the speed I'm looking for.

Q. What's the difference in the scores today?
PHIL MICKELSON: A little bit of rain last night made it play a lot easier, so just softening the greens. Even softening the fairways made them a lot easier to hit.

Q. Can you talk about what the Open means to you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I'd love to win our national Open. I've come close five times now, five second-place finishes, which is actually a good sign in the sense that it's a course or a setup that probably nobody thought I would do well on throughout my career and yet I've played some of my better golf in the U.S. Open. And I just need a few breaks here and there or maybe a few less mistakes here or there to be able to come out on top.

Q. Was it about at this time last year when you started having those issues?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was, yeah. It's been about a year, and so I feel pretty fortunate to feel as though I'm able to practice and play and do most of the things -- most everything I was able to do before.

Q. Your performance at the Open, pretty amazing considering what you were going through and what you didn't know you had to deal with there?
PHIL MICKELSON: At the time I didn't think much of it. I just thought it was one of those things where you get a little ache and it'll go away. I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary.

Q. Talk about Stricker, just the way he's playing today and the whole tournament. What is that like?
PHIL MICKELSON: He's a heck of a player. When he gets it going -- you give him greens and putting surfaces as smooth and as pure as these, he's really tough to beat.

Q. Jonathan Byrd was saying with Tiger's absence it's opened a window for a lot of American players to jump in. How do you think you've done in that time, the two years that he's kind of struggled to get his game back and his injuries, whatnot?
PHIL MICKELSON: With the exception of a glimpse here or there, the Masters, Houston Open, I really haven't played to the level I expect to or have throughout my career. But it's okay. There's been some other things going on, and I feel like my game right now is really good. This whole year I've felt like it's been close. I've been playing very well tee to green, short game feels pretty good, but -- chipping any ways. I haven't putted to the same level that I'm used to, but today was a much better day. Today was how I expected to perform on the greens.

Q. Is that just a little bit disappointing knowing that that window is there and like you said you're --
PHIL MICKELSON: Sure, but it's a marathon, it's not a sprint. We've got a long time here to get things going. It can turn in a week, and I'm just trying to progressively get better.

Q. Given what's going on with the questions with your health and not really able to grip the club last year at Pebble, where do you rate that performance with grit?
PHIL MICKELSON: Again, see, I didn't think much of it at the time. I just thought it was one of those things where you get a little ache here or there and it just goes away, so at the time I didn't think much of it. So it had not progressed as bad as it got a few weeks later, so it wasn't that big a deal.

Q. Was there some kind of an adjustment with the irons earlier this year?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, the only difference I'm trying to make is I'm trying to get a little more touch, a little bit softer, softer transition, trying to get a little bit more feel in the swing on those iron shots where I'm taking five, seven, eight yard shots off of a full swing. And my iron performance has been much better this year trying to create more feel.
Now I'm trying to carry that over onto the greens. I tried today to get a much softer feel and touch, and I putted a lot better today doing that.

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