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July 19, 2013
PHIL MICKELSON: It was really a challenging test today.
Q. You're only four back. The leaderboard is really tightly
bunched. Is the course allowing somebody who is playing well to
PHIL MICKELSON: When I made those comments yesterday, I
wasn't being totally fair to The R&A, because they've done a lot
of things great this championship. The fairway width is a very
fair width to get the ball in play. The rough is difficult and
challenging but it's not over the top. It's very fair in spots.
And the setup has been great. And for me to single out just a few
sketchy pin placements and not give them credit for all the good
things they've done was not fair of me yesterday.
But I think that it is set up where if you're playing
well, you can make up some ground and separate yourself. I think
that really solidly struck shots are giving you easy pars and
potential birdies. And poorly struck shots are making it
extremely difficult to salvage par.
So I think that it's going to be a good test to be able
to separate yourself, if you're playing well.
The great thing about tomorrow is that now all the
players that are in contention will be on the course at the same
time. And that's going to be the key.
Q. If somebody told you on Wednesday you'd be four off going
into Saturday, how would you feel?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, certainly I would take it. I would
have taken it after the double on 2. And certainly after the
double on 16 I'll take it. I fought hard today. I putted
phenomenal. I made everything. Some of these six-footers,
eight-footers, 15-footers for pars and stuff that I made were
really hard and I ended up making them. I putted phenomenal today
to stay in the tournament.
Q. Can you talk about 16 and what you were thinking about
when you walked off?
PHIL MICKELSON: 16, it happens. The tough thing about
that particular putt for me was that it was in direct crosswind.
So I've got a left-to-right breaking putt and the wind was
directly left-to-right. You could see I hit a solid putt, it
rolled a few feet by, and it snapped low. And the same thing
happened on the way back. I just didn't play for enough break on
the direct crosswind. Something you don't see on TV, because you
can't tell which way the wind is blowing. But that's a huge
factor on those short putts.
And I was compensating well for it and playing for it
well thought the entire day. And I didn't there. I needed to
play more break. I tried to hit it firm thinking that it would
keep its line a little better and it didn't, it snapped.
Q. Do you question yourself coming off of the green
PHIL MICKELSON: Look, it's part of the game. It
happens. It's going to happen to everybody. Everybody is going
to miss those length putts. Everybody has. I saw Tiger miss a
couple today. I saw all these guys out here, are, too, because
it's hard. You do the best you can and fortunately I made a heck
of a lot more of my share today.
Q. What you made at 15 had to be one of the ones that you're
talking about. That was a good one.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I had to chance to stop it, so I
had to make it or I was going to have a 15-footer coming back. I
barely hit it, it just got over the crest. But it was downhill,
downwind, and these are faster than Augusta. Augusta is 14 1/2 on
the Stimp and these were well into the 15 on spots. And that was
one of them. I gave a little fist pump because I knew I was going
to have to make a 15-footer for par.
Q. Some of the guys were saying that this was the toughest
grind they've ever had to deal with. How do you respond to that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I definitely would not disagree
with that. I think it's one of the most difficult tests that
we've had. We don't get rain, any of the four days, whether it's
a U.S. Open or a British Open. There's no governor. When I say
"governor," I don't mean like governor of the State of California,
I mean governor like on a golf cart that slows -- (Laughter).
There you go.
Q. You're within striking distance, how do you feel going
into the final two days?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm excited. I'm playing great. I'm
putting phenomenal. And I'm looking forward to the next two days.
Q. Is that really what it's going to take is two-putt
phenomenally this weekend more than most?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think so, I do. I think that
two-putting from 60 to a hundred feet, around that range, is going
to be important, and making those six-footers, six-to-12 footers,
those are really big par saves, I had a bunch of them today.
PHIL MICKELSON: Decent amount until about 12, 12 thirty.
Q. What's that like going on in the course compared to more
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, maybe the iris of the camera
gets more of the chlorophyll of the greens on TV than what I saw
with my own eye out there, I don't know (laughter).
But it didn't have the same coloration. Is that even a
Q. Just your anticipation?
PHIL MICKELSON: I try to watch to see what tendencies
are, what certain putts do, where you don't want to go, and where
guys are making birdies from.
Q. Is the wind from the east tougher than the west wind?
PHIL MICKELSON: I wouldn't say that. It's certainly
different. But I wouldn't say it was necessarily tougher. I
thought the back was easier with this wind and I thought the front
Q. Jimenez, his character, he's always around the Majors.
What's your impression of him? Do you know him at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: I've always gotten along well with
Miguel. We see each other at a lot of the Ryder Cups and World
Golf Championships. And I've always enjoyed being around him.
He's one of those guys I like to people watch and just kind of
watch him move, you know, see how he rolls (laughter).
I'm amused by his warmup routine. I always get a kick
out of that. I'll actually arrive early to the course to watch it
He's just an entertaining fellow.
Q. About 24 guys separated by five shots. Does this weed
out more than --
PHIL MICKELSON: I think you can get off to a hot start.
I think you can make some birdies. I think you can shoot 2, 3,
4-under par in these conditions and move right up the leaderboard,
and certainly a bunch of guys are going to fall by the wayside.
Q. You said you love the challenge. Is there a way to have
fun in this process or is it in such a grind that it takes the fun
out of it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's fun. I think there's a lot
of times where it's fun. You know, when you get the ball on the
green and when you're walking up, that walk is enjoyable. The
walk around the hole, that's enjoyable (laughter).
But I think it's a fun -- it's a fun challenge every now
and then. I think we were all excited to have these firm, fast
conditions, because we haven't had it since maybe Hoylake in '06.
And it's really a different test than we've had in a long time.
Q. Should it be that way? It's a Major.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, absolutely.
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I've had to make an adjustment
in the bunkers, yeah. It's hard to control the ball. There's a
lot of sand and it's very powdery. I've made an adjustment by
just catching it further behind the ball. And I've seemed to do
okay with it.
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I don't think you ever want to let
your guard down out here. One shot gets going with the wind and
it just goes into the wrong spot, and the next thing you know
you're looking at double or triple. You don't want to let your
guard down here, even on the par-5s.
Q. Having two days with Matsuyama, what do you think?
PHIL MICKELSON: He's a very solid player. He hit a lot
of good golf shots and made some key putts. He's right in it for
the weekend. He's playing well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports