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January 27, 2012

Phil Mickelson


PHIL MICKELSON:  I don't feel like there's any one area that I feel bad about my game.  It's just that I'm not bringing it from the practice session on to the golf course yet.  I'm not sure why that is, but the good news is in my practice sessions it's been great in every area, except that I'm not carrying it to the course and scoring and playing smart and putting the ball in the right spot and what have you.  So that's probably the area that I'll be working on here this weekend now that I have it off.

Q.  Yesterday it looked like you were just a little off on everything.  But you putted well, and I thought you putted well today.  You didn't make a lot of putts, but you hit a lot of really good putts.  So if you get that part, there could be some low rounds in the future with the putter working.
PHIL MICKELSON:  That's true.  And the exciting thing for me is the last two years I have not felt good on the greens, and I feel better than I have in years.  I'm making a lot more putts than I've made in years.  Each round I'm making extra putts that I haven't been making.
So I feel great on the greens.  The last couple years my ball striking has been better than it's ever been.  So I just have to put them all together on the course.  The scores look like it's way off, but it doesn't feel that far off.  I've just got to go from the practice tee to the golf course.

Q.  Yesterday you described your round as pathetic, which we rarely hear from you.  Nine shots better today.  Did you feel more comfortable on the course?
PHIL MICKELSON:  My practice sessions the last month or so have been better than they've ever been.  I'm having trouble bringing it from the practice session onto the golf course.  I'm not sure exactly why that is.  But the good news is that there's not an area of my game that I feel bad.  In fact, on the greens I feel better than I have in years and I'm making more putts than I've made in a long time, but the scores aren't reflecting that because I'm putting the ball in the wrong spot and missing in the wrong spot.
I'll have to work on that here this weekend.¬† But it's‑‑ I just have to carry the focus and be able to focus on the golf course a little better.

Q.  To follow up on that, when we talked on Wednesday, I saw such a great confidence in you.  Can you give us a measure of surprise that your numbers aren't lower than they are?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, well, yesterday's round was shocking to me just because my expectations were so high because I knew I was playing well.  To come out with that score was, I don't know what else to say about it.
So I've got to let it go and move on.¬† Today was the day where I needed to let things happen, because I had to shoot 7‑ or 8‑under par. ¬†You can't go out expecting to shoot that score and have it happen.¬† You just have to let it happen, and it didn't quite get there.
I shot 4‑under, and I didn't get the little things I needed to do to go that low to make the cut.¬† But I'll have some time now to work on it, whether I want to or not, and see if I can get it turned around for next week's tournament in Phoenix.

Q.  Do you take some positives out of the last two days?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I don't feel bad about my game.  I really don't.  I just have to take it from the practice tee to the course, and that's easier said than done sometimes.
The good news is I don't feel like there's anything off my short swing or putting or what have you.  It all feel goods.  All that matters out here is the score.  Doesn't matter how you hit it.  It just matters what the final number is, and right now I'm not getting low scores.

Q.  Obviously, expectations and results aren't exactly what you wanted.  Did you put your finger on it?  Were you walking up nine and thinking about it?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It's easy for me to see where the difference is, and the difference is that I'm not taking it from the practice tee to the course.  My practice sessions have been better than they have in quite some time.  But it's not correlating on to the golf course.  I just need to have a better focus.
That's the only explanation that I really have.  There is not any one area of my game that I don't feel good about.  I feel good, but the scores aren't correlating.
Unfortunately, I'm going to have a weekend off here and we're going to have perfect weather out here at Torrey, and I'd love to be playing, but I don't have that opportunity.  So I'll have to work hard this weekend to see if I can get it going next week.

Q.  Did you have a number in mind when you stepped on the tee?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I knew I needed to shoot 7‑ or 8‑under par.¬† You can't go out expecting to shoot that.¬† You have to let that round happen.¬† You have to make a few birdies here and there, and capitalize on the par‑5s.¬† I didn't quite do enough to make it happen or let it happen.¬† I ended up shooting 4‑under and it was an okay round, but I needed to go pretty low.

Q.  Do you hang out with the family or work on the game this weekend?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I little bit of both.  I'll make some time to practice.  But more than that, that's not really the area of concern.  There's not, like I say, there's not an area that I'm worried about.  It's just I'm not getting it to the golf course.  So I'll have to look at that.

Q.  Is that something you say how do I get it from the practice tee?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, a little bit.  And trying to hold my focus a little better so when I do miss the ball on the right spot, that I hit the right shots into the green that the shot calls for and that I'm able to execute a little bit better on the course.

Q.  Can you just talk about going into Phoenix without a good result this week, but also just the change in the grass going there et cetera?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Although the grass, the altitude, the temperature is always a little bit different in Phoenix, I've enjoyed the adjustment.  I grew up there, so it wasn't that hard.  I say grew up, I didn't grow up there, but I went to school there and lived there for 12 years, so it's not that hard of an adjustment because I'm used to it.
It's a golf course that I really like.¬† I think it has great risk‑reward so I enjoy playing there.

Q.  And the momentum?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Again, I won't know until Thursday, because I feel pretty good with the areas of my game, but I'm not bringing it to the course.  So I won't know if the practice and the work I do these next four days will correlate until I tee it up on Thursday.

Q.  When is the last time you've had that situation where you've been practicing well and not scoring?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It happens, but it's unusual, actually.  Because when you feel good on the range, it's much easier to take it to the course.  I'm not sure.  It's been a little while, but it does happen occasionally.

Q.¬† You said you feel better than you have in years on the greens.¬† What did you do in the off‑season to get to that spot?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I just looked at on the greens what I needed to do.  I had to make a decision on which direction I was going to go.  Was I going to go with the belly putter and was I going to try to get a better feel and touch for the breaking putts?  Was I going to go back to the blade and try to putt like I did when I was a kid?
So I obviously did the latter, and I took out the putter I grew up with and made sure the specs and everything on my Odyssey was the exact as when I was growing up.  Just tried to get better feel.  So I putted every day.
I have a green that I put in my yard there and I spent one to three hours every day just getting feel and touch.  I'm very comfortable now with the way I set up to it.  That's not changing any with my hand position.  All the things on the technical side, I'm rolling the ball well.  The last element is just getting some feel.
So I felt terrific these last two weeks on the greens.  I still missed a lot of putts, but I've made a lot more than I have in the last couple years.

Q.  So you stick with that moving forward with the smaller putter?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yes, oh, yeah.

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