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July 13, 2012

Phil Mickelson


Q.  What was the difference between yesterday's 73 and today's 64?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, there was a big difference, but I hit a lot better shots today, and struck it solidly and made a few putts.

Q.  How much do you have to change your ball flight when you come over here into the links season, we call it.  The tennis players have hard court, grass; this is our links season.  So what do you have to change?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, you want to‑‑ today in, these first two days, it really has not been a factor because you can play the ball through the air.  In fact it's probably the best way to play the course these first two days.  But when the wind gets blowing 20, 30 knots, you have to get the ball on the ground quick so that the ground affects where the ball goes, as opposed to get the ball in the air.
I think that's what's fun about the British Open and The Scottish Open is playing the ball on the ground.  It's almost disappointing that we have not had bad weather.  I was surprised.  I didn't know it was this nice in Scotland.  We have warm weather and very little breeze.  That's not what I was expecting.

Q.  Are you hoping for a bit of breeze?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I would like to I think the great thing about Castle Stuart is that the ground allows to you play the golf course in any type of weather.  It's really a well designed golf course, and it accommodates beautiful weather like this, but also when it gets terrible, the course is still very playable.
I hope these next couple of days we get some bad weather as a preparation for next week because it's supposed to be wet and windy next week.

Q.  How hard is it to adapt to greens in America, bentgrass, soft greens, to adapt to sort of more coarse grass?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It has been probably the biggest challenge for me throughout my career; it has not been playing in the wind or playing the ball on the ground.  It's been the putting of the greens on the fescues that grow, the stronger grains, and that's been a bigger challenge.  Bones and I have made a couple of adjustments on how we read greens and how we putt them and it's been very helpful the last few years.

Q.  Are you thinking, these greens don't take as much break, because they are not as fast?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Instead of having constant pitch to them, there are a lot of little rolls and knolls.  It's difficult to read if you try to read greens the same way as you do in the States where you have a consistent pitch or a consistent break all the way to the hole.  Here, you have little knolls that might take the ball two or three ways throughout a putt but with very soft influence.
That's probably the biggest adjustment is how we read them and how we start to see those little breaks.

Q.  Return to form, 64 after eight consecutive rounds over par in the last few weeks.  What have you found overnight that's made the difference?
PHIL MICKELSON:  That's a little skewed stat, because four of those days were at Olympic.  So it wasn't that far off.  But I just needed to play more.  It's not like there was anything overnight.
I just needed to get out and play a little bit more, because I felt like parts were not that far off but I wasn't putting together an entire round.  I can't keeping my focus on each shot.  Today was a much better day obviously.  I was able to hit shot after shot.  We had perfect weather, too, and the golf course was there for the take.

Q.  Is there anything that you felt you've struggled or is it more the sum of the parts?
PHIL MICKELSON:  More the sum of the parts.  I hit a lot of good shots, a lot of good chips, a lot of good putts, but I also make sloppy shots throughout.  I think that getting into the flow of the round, I just needed to play more.  I've only played three tournaments the last couple of months and I just needed to play more.  I'm really glad I added this tournament.

Q.  I know it must have been a big decision to leave your family holiday; to do that it must have been a pretty serious situation.  Does this in some respect the vindicate the decision to leave them?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, it's very helpful to see my game progress so quickly.  I'm very lucky because I've got a very supportive family and, in fact, when I was thinking about adding it after missing the cut last week, Amy had the same idea simultaneously.  I'm very lucky to have the support and understanding that when I need to do something like this, add a tournament, to have that type of support at home.

Q.  Obviously looking forward to Lytham next week?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, it was important that I have a couple more rounds here.  It was important to make the cut.  Now being within striking distance of the lead, if I get a hot round tomorrow, I'd like to get into contention for Sunday.  But more than that, just being able to play here in this thick air, hopefully it will get a little bit nastier and a little bit of rain and wind for the weekend, because it's supposed to be some tough weather conditions next week.

Q.  How much fun was that round?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a fun day today.  It was an important day for me because I have not played well as far as I had not scored well, and to get into the flow of the round, to keep my focus throughout each shot; to hit good shot after good shot, control my misses, all the things that go into scoring, I have not been doing well.  And to put it together in a round today was important.  It gives me a chance now on the weekend to have a couple more days of working on it.

Q.  How difficult is it to get prepared for these playing conditions coming from the states, and also looking to next week, how difficult is it to get used to these playing conditions?
PHIL MICKELSON:  We have not had the weather yet.  Hopefully it will come in this weekend and be a little rough and get some wind and get some rain.
But the air is still very thick and very heavy.  So even the slightest of wind has a greater effect on the ball than what we see on the states.

Q.  How much will the conditions affect the results of the tournament?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I hope it gets a little rougher because it will give me preparation for next week as well as get me into contention for Sunday if the weather gets bad.

Q.  When you look at the leaderboard and how you played today, I guess you're feeling you made the right decision?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, it wasn't a difficult decision.  I really liked the golf course.  I loved it when I came here last year.  It's a great place to play The Scottish Open.  It's a great place to get ready for the British Open and I thought it was very instrumental in my success last year in my second‑place finish in the British and my performance.
We had planned on having a family vacation, and I thought I would be ready but the way I played competitively the last couple of events I've competed in, it's been very poor and I needed to get more reps.  I can tell I have not been in the flow of the round and today was a big day for me to have a bit of a breakthrough and hopefully continue on and it gives me now two more rounds on the weekend and hopefully I'll continue that and try to make a run at the lead now.

Q.  You mentioned you're in striking distance, and we don't know what's going to happen this afternoon, but you have two extra rounds to play, so just go for it and see what happens?
PHIL MICKELSON:  That's it.  And hopefully we will get some tough weather and it will make it easier to move up the leaderboard.

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