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September 3, 2012

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Terrific week.  How encouraged are you now because you put together four solid days?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, this was a good week for me because the last couple of weeks I've started to kind of piece my game back together.  The irons have been good, putter is getting to where I want it to be, and I've been driving the ball well.  So the pieces are finally there.  Even though I didn't put myself in a position to make a run at the leaders, my game feels like it's back, and I'm ready to start competing here in the next couple, and I'm going to see if I can get one of the next two.

Q.  A lot has been made of the new grip, but as you said, iron play puts you in position for a lot of birdie shots.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, and it really has been.  I've hit a lot of good iron shots.  My distance control has been really good.  I feel good with my game now.  I'm putting the ball in play when I need to, my speed is coming back, and the last thing that feels really good is the putter.  It's taken some of the anxiety out of it, making all of the short ones, and my speed and touch has been the best it's been.

Q.  You're so close.  Next week could be a special week for you.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I sure think so.¬† I think my game is coming around to where ‑‑ I've not ever played Crooked Stick, but I do like the way Pete Dye courses play, and then the TOUR Championship course I've had success on in the past, and both those tournaments come at a time where I feel like my game is finally back.

Q.  Are you curious as the rest of us as to who the four picks are going to be to round out the Ryder Cup team?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, I think I have a decent idea.

Q.  Is that because you've talked with Davis?

Q.  And?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, I'm not going to say anything.  That's up to him.  But I think I have a decent idea.

Q.  Do you think because of your experience in team matches and friendship with Davis, he leaned on you more for guidance?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, I don't think it's really needed much advice, I really don't.  I mean, he's been on so many teams and he's been able to take elements from captains that he likes and implement those and take elements that he hasn't liked and leave those aside.  I think he's going to be one of our best captains.

Q.  Have you found yourself as a veteran that a lot of guys you're close with, playing practice rounds with, the old and the young guys?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Davis has been out here playing.  He's played some really good golf this year.  I think he has a pretty good idea of what players are playing well, what games he'd like to have at Medinah.  I think he has a pretty good grasp of the young players coming out.  But he seems to be really on top of it.

Q.  What do you like best about this golf course?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I think esthetically it's very pleasing, but what I really like about the course is that there are a lot of birdie holes and there are a lot of tough par holes, and I believe in making the hard holes hard, which we have here, and I believe easy holes should be left easy.  Holes like No.4 where you leave it drivable, it's reachable for everybody in the field, I think that's great.  You move the tee box back 30 yards, it ruins the hole.  I think that type of foresight is what makes this course so good, because the easy holes give you birdie chances and a chance to separate yourself from the field, and the hard holes you can separate yourself from the field with pars.

Q.  What do you think about 18 now?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I don't think it's quite done yet.

Q.  What would you suggest they do?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, it's not for me to say.  I think Gil is wonderful, one of the best in the business, but I don't think this green on the 18th hole plays that he wanted it to play.  There's too many perfectly struck shots getting ridiculously penalized.

Q.  Do you have any sense that anything that's happened today is impacting Davis' decision?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I don't know.  I don't know.

Q.¬† Your round today‑‑
PHIL MICKELSON:  Is that vague?

Q.  What do you take out of your week here?
PHIL MICKELSON:  This has been a good week for me because I've felt like the pieces have been coming together slowly.  My iron play started getting better, now I'm starting to drive the ball a little bit better, now my putting is better, and now that the pieces are together, mentally I was focused for four solid rounds.  I didn't make any dumb mistakes, I was able to keep my focus throughout each round and play four good rounds, and now I feel like I'm in a position to where I've got the game to get myself in contention and see if I can get a win here in these next two weeks, and I feel like for the first time in a few months that that's a reality.

Q.  The pieces were all together in February, March, April.  What happened?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I don't know how to explain it, but it just kind of left.

Q.  The putting grip, is it here to stay?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† Yes.¬† Yeah, I don't see me going back to conventional grip.¬† This way I'm much more effective on short putts, and my touch on long putts is better, too.¬† I've had virtually no three‑putts, my short putts have been incredibly good, and I'm making more 15‑, 20‑ footers.¬† On fast greens that we play on, having my bottom hand on the grip so lightly is helping my touch and helping my speed.

Q.  Are you surprised that the scores weren't a little bit lower or that somebody didn't go real low?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, because the greens are challenging to get the ball stopped, and the wind has been difficult to judge, and so it's made it tough to get it close to the pins.  The pins we've had the past couple days have been pretty salty.

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