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September 8, 2012

Phil Mickelson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN:  Phil Mickelson, thank you for joining us after a third‑round 64, currently tied for the lead with several players still on the course, but maybe some opening comments, great day, 10 birdies.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a fun day.  I got it going with the putter.  I hit a lot of good shots.  It was very similar, actually, to yesterday's round where I played really well, had a lot of good opportunities.  But yesterday when the ball was getting to the lip and turning away, today they seemed to fall in.

Q.  I'm not sure how aware you were of your gallery, but you had a mob out there, and you gave them quite a ride, and they loved it.  This is the first time you guys have been here since '91.  Could you sense that hunger, and did the crowd‑‑ did you get a kick out of the crowd?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I think it's great to come play golf here.  It's a great golf course, and the community is‑‑ it's unreal how much support we've had this week.  The weather has been difficult.  I've driven‑‑ driving to the course, you see people walking for a couple miles from the parking lot to get here, and I just think the dedication and the loyalty of golf fans, especially in this area, is pretty impressive, given that it's not like another sport where you just buy a ticket, sit down and watch the entire event.  You're walking miles, you're catching just a small glimpse of the action, and I think that it's been pretty impressive the numbers of people that have come out to support us, and we're very appreciative.

Q.  The last time the TOUR event was here, I think you were getting ready to defend your U.S. Amateur title.  Do you remember reading about Daly and what kind of an impression that had on you?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I remember that I qualified for the tournament and wasn't allowed to play in it, and that really upset me back then.  I won the Tucson Open in '91, which qualified me to play the PGA Championship, and I wasn't allowed to play because I wanted to graduate college and stay an amateur.  I would have loved to have competed.  I felt I deserved to after I had already qualified, and I look back on that 20 years later, and I'm still upset.

Q.  I wonder if you could just speak to, you've been in all the TOUR Championships since the FedExCup began.  This is the one thing that's been a benefit is all the top guys are playing these tournaments and now we have a great leaderboard like this.  I wonder if you could just speak to that and how that's evolved.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It's been great for the TOUR where a number of players would shut it down after the PGA Championship, but now it's a huge motivating factor for us to keep our games sharp.  It has the best players in the world competing against each other four additional times.  More than that it's kept the U.S. players sharp and their games really in tune heading into the Ryder Cup in this year's instance or the Presidents Cup, and I think it's really helped the U.S. side in our performance the last five years in these team events.

Q.  Could you talk about how satisfying these last two weeks having after a rough stretch this summer?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Certainly my game went south for a while, and I was trying to piece it back together.  I started with some iron play and it progressed to getting my driver back to where I was hitting the ball straight and getting my speed back, and now the putter is back.
It's taken me a little while to piece it back together, but I could tell last week that my game was back and I was ready to play at the highest level again.  I knew heading into this week I was going to have a good week.  I came out very anxious on Thursday and forced it a little too much the front nine and didn't play a good nine holes.  But after that I've been able to settle down and play some good golf.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow's shootout.  It should be fun.

Q.  What has this year been like for you, and how important are the next three or four weeks in shaping how you'll remember this year?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It's actually been looking back on it, a great three or four months, because as bad as I've played, it's forced me to really analyze and look at and dissect the parts of my game to get it back to where I wanted it to be.  It's taken me some time, and certainly I have a little ways to go.  But I've been able to, again, analyze each area of my game and get my iron play back to where I want it.
When was it its best?  What was I doing then that made it its best?  How do I practice?  How do I hit the shots?  What allows me to have good distance control, trajectory, all those things?  Although it's taken me three, four months of poor play, I feel like now it's back to a level where I'm going to start playing the way I know I'm capable of playing.

Q.  When you're playing as much golf as you guys are playing at this time of year, how important or how fun is it when you can play some courses that you're not really grinding for pars?  These are not necessarily easy courses, TPC Boston or here, but you're not having to grind over it, you can make some birdies, have some fun, maybe not grind over every shot so much and try and make pars?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I love when it gets mixed up.  I know that the tournament organizers probably wanted a firmer, faster golf course this week, and it would have made scores a lot‑‑ not as low, and it didn't work out with the soft conditions.  But this has been a lot of fun for the players and I think fun for the fans to watch.  It's a very challenging, demanding golf course, but with the soft conditions it gives the best players in the world ability to show their skills.

Q.  You said last week that you weren't sure‑‑ you had your game together, you weren't sure how the pieces fell apart.  Is it simplistic to say that one or two bad shots at the Masters began it?  If you had not hit that one errant shot‑‑
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, it actually‑‑ I know exactly what happened, but I really don't want to discuss it.  All I care about is that it's on its way back.  I saw remnants of it last week, and I'm seeing it again this week.

Q.  Did you get a chance to look at the leaderboard out there, and what was your reaction in seeing it?
PHIL MICKELSON:  The only glimpse I saw, it did not have me on top, so I still have some work to do tomorrow.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN:  Phil Mickelson, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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