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September 4, 2011

Phil Mickelson


Q. 15 of 18 greens and you had 27 putts. Was that a great ball-striking round or great putting round?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a good ball-striking round. It was one of the best I've had. Putting-wise, the longest birdie I made was an eight-footer on 11 and then the next was four feet on 10. I had a couple of two-putt birdies and tap-ins. And then I holed out on 12.
I'm needing some adjustment still with getting the speed down with the long putter and so forth, but it's been an interesting trial. But today I struck it as well as I have in a long time.

Q. You wouldn't be the first PGA TOUR professional that robbed Peter to pay Paul. I'm sure you put in extra work with the long putter, maybe sacrificing some work on the irons and driver?
PHIL MICKELSON: I did. After last week's Barclays event I spent only time on putting and trying to get that down for this week. I neglected my ball-striking a little bit and consequently I didn't hit it very well the first two days. But I talked to Butch (Harmon) last night and we kind of sorted it out. It was just a slight adjustment because I've been striking it well. I came out today and hit it really well.

Q. Long putter in the bag, were you tempted to take it out?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was, yeah. It didn't go as well as I had hoped the first couple of days, but I don't think -- it's something that I need to spend a little more time on and I'll probably do that in the off-season. It comes off at a different speed. It's a lot heavier, so it's taking some adjustment from me on the breaking putts. But on the straight putts it's great because it seems to start the ball on line very easily.

Q. Seems like there may have been a little more wind today?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was pretty calm when we played. We had excellent conditions. It might be picking up a little bit in the afternoon. I'm not too sorry to hear that. But it was really calm and nice when we played this morning.

Q. You said that you had a great ball-striking round, probably one of your best of the year?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a really good ball-striking round. I hit it well and hit a lot of iron shots close and had a lot of opportunities. But since the British, starting at the British, I've been hitting the ball really well. The first two days here I did not obviously, but that was more due to the fact I didn't hit any shots for four days because I spent all my time trying to putt, trying to get the putter down.

Q. Can you talk about 12?
PHIL MICKELSON: On 12 it was the one bad drive I hit. The first two days I'd been leaving them out left. It was the one time I left the drive out a little bit left, and it was in the thick rough. Obviously it was a lucky shot. But I was able to -- I was just trying to get it to the middle of the green, and with the stance I had it was going to hook quite a bit. It hooked a little bit more, and it went in. I mean, that was fun to see.

Q. What club was it?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was 7-iron, and it was thick rough, but it was sitting okay in it. But still, I was just trying to get it on the green somewhere and trying to make par.

Q. How close did it pitch on the green?
PHIL MICKELSON: Six feet from the hole.

Q. Good shot.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thanks. Those are fun. Those are fun. You don't expect those.

Q. After that are you thinking 59 at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, yeah, absolutely did. And had I made a couple of putts thereafter, I might have had a chance.

Q. What are your thoughts on the putter? Are you going to continue to --
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure. I think there's some things I really like about it, and there's some things that are challenging, and I'll probably spend some more time with it in the off-season. I'm not sure what I'll do at the start of the year next year, but my curiosity was very high, especially after not putting great last week. I may experiment some more with it tomorrow or Chicago, I may not. I'm just not sure.
But it was fun to play well and hit some shots and finally shoot a low number.

Q. Since you've been practicing putting all week, is it strictly with the long one?
PHIL MICKELSON: Pretty much, just the long one, yeah.

Q. Can you talk about that par save on 17?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I hit the first putt six, seven feet by, and the challenge that I have with it is sometimes the speed because it's a lot heavier than my putting. It's 400 grams. It's incredibly heavy, so it comes off the face differently, and I just didn't get very good speed and I raced it by six, seven feet.
When it's straight in like that, when it's straight uphill, very easy to make, because the ball seems to start on line very easily. So I didn't really even worry about it, like I just kind of knew that one was going to go in, and it did. It's the breaking putts, the five-, six-, seven-footers or 15-footers with break where you've got to get the perfect speed that I'm not quite dialed in yet, so I need to spend a little more time with it.

Q. The average guy out here has a whole different definition of a lucky shot. When you say lucky shot, is that something you might say once a tournament, twice a tournament, every day?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, it happened a few times. I'll get some times where it'll hit a tree and go back into the fairway. That seems to happen once a round, so there you go. (Laughter.) You hit enough in there, eventually one will kick out. But that shot, to go in the hole obviously was extremely lucky; to pull it just the right amount was very lucky.

Q. Did you play 63 today? Is that about what you deserved?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I hit it well. I hit it really well today. But I think everybody feels like you left shots out there. I made an eight-footer today on 11. That was my longest putt. And then I made a four-footer on 10. The others were two-putt birdies, like on 18 and 2 and a couple of tap-ins on 3 and 4, and a hole-out.

Q. What did you do on 3?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit 5-iron to two feet.

Q. Did you give the yardage on the shot you holed out?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was 67 hole, I think, or 72, I forget. I added five to it. I was trying to go five behind it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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