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February 2, 2012

Phil Mickelson


Q.  You rolled the ball beautifully today, 24 putts.
PHIL MICKELSON:  You know, I feel so good with the putter.  It's been a little while.  It's been a few years before the guys out here have seen me putt like this or roll it, and it feels so good, and I'm looking forward to continuing this streak and hopefully getting in contention for the weekend because I feel really confident on the greens.

Q.¬† I know you wanted to tighten up the ball‑striking a little bit.¬† You had nine greens in the opening round.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Yeah, it wasn't the best ball‑striking today.¬† I hit a few shots in the rough, and the rough was tough.¬† I made a couple mistakes, but I was able to salvage a lot of the round through short game.

Q.¬† You had six straight one‑putt greens at one part of the round.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Yeah, like I say, you miss enough greens, you're going to have to do that to keep the round going, and I was able to use short game, again, to get up‑and‑down.

Q.  It has to be so gratifying from the gallery.  20 years since you graduated from ASU?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, it's really cool the way the people here have treated me and the community feel that I get every time I come back here.  I lived here 12 years, I met my wife here, we had our first two children here, and it's a very special place in our hearts.  To come back and see a lot of my friends means a lot.

Q.  You had talked about trying to bring these good practice routines onto the golf course.  How did that go today?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† It went okay.¬† I hit a few loose shots and made a few mistakes, but I putted really well, I feel great with the blade, and I let my short game kind of salvage the round.¬† I'll go up to a club up north here, work on my game a little bit and see if I can get my ball‑striking sharp for tomorrow because it feels really good, but where I feel really good is on the greens.

Q.  Aside from the greens what else was encouraging in your game today?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I felt like I hit a lot of good iron shots that didn't quite turn out.  You have to be very precise here because the greens aren't soft and spongy, they're firm and not quite as receptive, which is a good thing in that it makes it more challenging for us.  We've got to be more precise.  I wasn't as precise as I need to be.

Q.  How was the fan support for that group you played in today?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, it's really cool coming back here.  Obviously playing with Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson who have a huge following, and then to come back to the community here where I spent so many years, met my wife, had our first couple children, it's a cool place.  We all played okay, and it was a fun day.
I love playing this golf course.¬† I think this course has great risk‑reward.¬† It entices you to go for it, but it also penalizes you if you don't pull off a shot.¬† I think it's a wonderful course and an exciting course to watch on.

Q.  Are you happy after the round giving yourself a chance going into day two?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Yeah, I feel good, especially on the greens.¬† I feel really good with the putter, and I haven't had this feeling for some time, but I could tell in the off‑season it was really coming.¬† My ball‑striking wasn't as sharp as I wanted, but I hit a lot of good shots.¬† I'm going to go up to my club up north here and get a little work done ball‑striking this afternoon and see if I can get it dialed in for tomorrow.
This course if you're precise and hit great golf shots, you'll be rewarded, but because the greens aren't holding, if you don't hit it perfect, it will release to a distance that's tough to make birdies, and I think that makes for a really good test.

Q.  Did Rickie's wardrobe blind you by chance?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I like‑‑ I mean, I like the way he dresses.¬† It's not for me, but I think he dresses really sharp, and a lot of people really enjoy it.

Q.¬† Talk about the bunker on the early par‑5.
PHIL MICKELSON:  What do you mean?  I hit it about four feet, missed it.

Q.¬† No, 13, where you had to take the‑‑
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Oh, I hit it into the desert.¬† I hit a good drive, in the fairway, just kicked off in the canyon and it was up against a trunk, so I took an unplayable, moved back about 30 yards and hit a 5‑wood on the green, two‑putted for par.

Q.  The story today about the lawsuit and the internet provider, are you able to talk about that, why you made that choice?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm all for freedom of speech, but I won't tolerate defamation, and so I've got a great attorney, Glenn Cohen, who's on it.

Q.  Did the wind come into play later in the round?
PHIL MICKELSON:  The wind was difficult because, again, you really have to fly the ball a precise distance because the greens aren't as receptive, and so if you hit a good shot, you'll be rewarded.  The wind made it tough to fly it the right yardage, and I thought it it was a little bit more challenging as the breeze picked up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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