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March 30, 2013

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Lot of talk going on trending with Dufner. You trended very nicely and played solid and a good one today.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I played well today, Dennis.  The game really started to fall into place, especially the back-9 again.  I hit a lot of good shots today where I felt like I could extend to the target line, the shots were coming off, whether it was draws or fades, and the game really feels good.
I started to feel much better on the greens getting a good touch, letting it feed in from the high side, which we'll have to do at Augusta playing the maximum break, and I'm excited about tomorrow's round.  I feel like it's getting better each day and that's what I was hoping for.  I feel like I'll have a low one tomorrow.  I'm not sure how far back I'll be, but I feel like I've got a low round in me tomorrow.

Q.  The thing was today getting started, you had to just have the drool bib on because you could get to the golf course early without the weather being where it's at.  There's some guys at the top of the leaderboard who haven't been there before.  You knew that if you shot 6, 5, 6 under par, you would have a chance for sure.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I let it slide early on in the first four, five holes, lot of good chances just in the front green on the par 5, 4th, hit it on water on No. 8, made bogey.  I let a lot of shots slide on the front-9.  The back is where I took advantage of a lot of opportunities.  There was only one shot that slipped up there on 14, but I made a lot of birdies, lot of good shots, and I'm excited about my chances tomorrow, I'm excited about the way my game is starting to feel.

Q.  No smoke and mirrors today.  Really good.  Go out there and have some fun on Sunday.

Q.  Phil, obviously you're right back in this tournament.  I guess talk about your round today.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I had a good round today, the first 7, 8 holes we played, there was no wind.  It was really a great opportunity to take advantage of some birdies.  Let some slide there on the front-9, but the backside I really played well.  I shot 4-under and -- in conditions that got increasingly more difficult.
My game is starting to feel really good.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow's round because each day I feel like my game has gotten better and better.  My touch on the green has gotten a lot better and I've -- I got a low round in me tomorrow.  I don't know how far back I'll be or if I'll be within striking distance.  I think I'll be able to make some kind of move.

Q.  18 is obviously not the easiest hole.  You made it little pretty darn easy today, talk about that approach.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It's a tough pin to get to.  I needed to make a couple of birdies, coming in I took it on.  Only had a wedge in, even though it was from 160 yards, it was straight downwind and hit a good shot right there on the edge and got it to about 6 feet, made it.  There's a lot of risk/reward on this golf course.  If you don't pull it off, you're looking at double.  If you do, you can make a lot of birdies there.

Q.  Phil, you sort of sensed this one coming yesterday, didn't you?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Jason, each day the game has gotten a little bit better, and today is where it really started to feel good, where I was able to react.  When I'm playing my best golf becomes kind of a reactionary sport where I'm looking at the target, I see the shot and just swing.
The first couple of days, the first day especially, I was more conscious about golf swing, about mechanics and whatnot, trying to get things right:  Today I was able to get out of that mode and just start reacting, starting to see the shot, and the game feels a lot better, which is why I'm excited about tomorrow.

Q.  With the extra week in between this tournament and the Masters, are you almost worried that you peaked a little bit too early?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Nicklaus used to try to peak over the week before and over the weekend and then take a couple days off Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of the tournaments and try to build back into the tournament at Augusta.  I'll have to take a page out of his book, because I'm not used to taking a week off before a Major.  It's not my preference.  But, I'll try to do what I did where I'll try to peak a little bit early and try the back off and build into the tournament again.  I'll go to Augusta early and get some good practice in late next week and we'll hopefully be able to spend the early part of the week relaxing and getting ready.

Q.  Did you talk to Jack at all or you just --
PHIL MICKELSON:  Years ago.  Years ago when I first turned pro.  When I first turned pro, 20 years ago, I asked him about some of the stuff, and I still remember I wrote some of it down, because those guys have some great knowledge.

Q.  You talked a little bit, I was just kind of overhearing, you said you started to get some of the putts on the high side to go, running them down the way you would have to at Augusta, you started getting them today.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, I was able to get a better touch on the greens where I was able to feed it in from the highest break point and get it to fall over the lip.  The couple putts I tried to kind of jam in and use more speed to take some of the break out, I ended up missing, and at Augusta next week we won't have that luxury.  We'll have to feed it in from the highest point possible, and I started to make some putts that way and get a really good touch on the green.

Q.  Phil, will you spend some time with Bush 41 today?
PHIL MICKELSON:  If he comes out, I sure would like to.  He's a special person.  Amy and I came in here a month ago to say hi.  I just cherish the time with him.  That family has meant a lot to this country.

Q.  How important was it today in the whole process when you said on Thursday your game was getting better?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Each day I felt better and better.  Today it really started to click.  I was able to be more reactive.  When I'm playing well, golf becomes kind of a reaction sport.  I just create the shot.  The first couple of days, the first day especially, I was more in tune with fundamentals, thought process on mechanics and so forth, and today on the back-9 I was able to just look and react.  Hit some really good shots, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's round because I feel like my game has kind of come around to not only ball striking but touch on the greens is good, too.

Q.  Speaking of the touch on the greens, a lot has been made the last couple of days of changing the putter grip; how comfortable are you right now with your putter?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm very comfortable.  I love the touch that I have on the greens and I'm not abandoning one grip or the other.  I love what the claw has done for me.  It's put me in a more consistent address position.  If my hands continue getting -- get too far forward, I'll go back to the claw right away because it gets me right back in the position to address where I want to be, where the shaft is slightly more vertical and a soft forward press to start the stroke.
I have a tendency with the regular grip to get my hands way ahead.  With the set-up and the putter and having putted with the claw for awhile, I feel very comfortable with the regular grip and I'm in the proper position because of it.

Q.  Speaking of positions, you're on a good one on Sunday.  See you then.

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