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April 1, 2012

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Last year you shot 128 on the weekend to win this golf course.  It didn't happen for you this time.  What was the difference between last year and this year?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I didn't hit the ball close enough with my irons.  My iron play wasn't the best this week, and then when I had a lot of good putts that came close, they didn't quite fall like last year I hit everything.  I played well and drove the ball well and hit a lot of good shots, and I feel like I'm getting some good momentum heading into next week.

Q.  You have three days before you tee it up at the Masters on Thursday next week.  What do you do between know and then to get ready for that day?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Really not too much.  I feel like I've already prepared on the golf course, and I've been working on the shots around the greens and so forth that I'll need next week.  It comes down to touch and feel with the wedges and the putter on those greens.

Q.  Good luck next week.

Q.  Good shots.  Not quite tuned in.  Didn't give yourself a lot of birdie putts inside of 15 feet?
PHIL MICKELSON:  That was really the difference.  I didn't hit my irons as close as I needed to make a good run.  The course was much more difficult today, given that we had more wind and the pins were tucked.  If I had hit good solid shots, I could have made some putts and I just didn't capitalize on a lot of opportunities to make a move.  Feel like I played well though this week, and I'm excited about the ball striking and driving of the golf ball and my putter,  and I'm looking forward to next week.

Q.  You just didn't dominate the par-5s.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It played totally different with the course wet.  13 and 15 were reachable every day last year.  I couldn't get do them any of the days, so that made a big -- that was a big difference as well as No. 8 was a 5, 5-iron last year.  Today it was driver, 3-wood or 5-wood.

Q.  Augusta National is such a feely golf course.  Did you put in enough prep for it?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week at Augusta.  Spent a lot of time on the greens, and I know that golf course pretty well, where I want to be and the shots that I'll have when I'm in the proper spot, and I feel like I don't have to be perfect there.  I feel like I can get up and down and let my short game salvage a stroke if I need to.  Right now the way that I feel like I'm striking the ball well enough that I can play it pretty good next week.

Q.  After Saturday's low round, you thought you had a low one in you.  How frustrating is it that a low one might have given you back-to-back wins?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I knew when I was looking at the pin sheet it was going to be tough for the leaders to go really low.  If I could shoot, 6, 7-under par, I would have a good chance of making a move.  I just didn't get it together.  I didn't capitalize on the par-5s.  I make a bogey early in the round.  I fought hard.  I hit a lot of good shots.  I hung in there and played steady.  It wasn't exceptional play.  Didn't hit the irons close enough.  The putts just didn't quite go in.  I had a good week, though.  I played really well.  I feel like I'm getting some good momentum and got a lot of positive shots that will carry over into next week.

Q.  How confident are you for next week?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm confident because of the way these last couple weeks have gone.  I've steadily progressed at Bay Hill after hitting loose shots.  Played much better this week.  Didn't really have but one penalty stroke on a golf course here that has water everywhere.  I was excited with my ball striking.
I put forth the hard effort to try to defend.  Wasn't able to make a good run on the weekend.  I played well and hit a lot of good shots.  I had some good momentum for next week and walk away from this week feeling really good about where my game is headed.

Q.  Feel like home out here?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I do enjoy the people here in Houston, and having won here last year, I have a lot of really fond memories.

Q.  Talk about your emotions now that you shift to Augusta.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I think next week at Augusta is by far my favorite week of the year, the one I look forward to in the off-season.  I can't believe it's finally here.  Three more days and we're teeing it up for real, and I think every player is excited.

Q.  It seems like everybody you talk to, it's a perfect course to prepare for the Masters.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Conditions very similar to what we have next week at Augusta.  From a design standpoint, we're not able to hit drivers, we're hitting a lot of 3-woods here.  At Augusta we're trying to hit drivers as hard as you can.  You got to shape shots here, can't really work on your chipping because you've got either water or sand.  And so I had to put in a little extra time at Augusta with my wedge work because it's such a critical part next week, but the conditioning and the -- of the fairways and the first cut are very similar to next week.

Q.  Any more pressure when you're the defending champion, difference in your mindset?
PHIL MICKELSON:  When you're coming back to a place you won, you have a lot of positive memories.  I had a lot of positive memories last year.  I won't ever forget how well I putted.  It's one of the best putting weekends I ever had.  I felt I was going to make everything.  The greens are so pristine, if you get hot with the putter, you can make it from anywhere on these surfaces.

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