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October 2, 2013

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Talk about playing 14. 
PHIL MICKELSON:  14 will be up to each player, but as a player who likes to go for it, even I have a hard time of understanding the advantage of going for it.  Very simply put, there's water right, bunkers left with a green that's so severely pitched, you can't stop it on the green.
There's no place to miss it; and the target is so much smaller than the fairway that I'm going to hit 6‑iron and a wedge in, unless we move up to another 40 yards to the ladies tee where it's a 240‑yard hole or something like that, it will be a lay up.  I don't anticipate many of our guys if any going for it.

Q.  Does the shorter rough made it more enjoyable?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I think it brings in the most exciting shot in golf which is the recovery shot.  Having a chance to recover out of the rough is what's exciting.  It always leaves you in the hole.  It gives you a chance.
If you miss fairways and you're in the rough, yeah, the trees are difficult, the wind is difficult, but at least you have a chance maybe out of the lie as opposed to having to having to wedge out.  I think that's going to lead to some more birdies and force more aggressive play because the rough, not being so high, you can salvage par if you miss fairways.

Q.  Does it play any different from when you play in May?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It's actually very similar to when we play the tournament in May.  It's somewhat soft and wet.  The greens are in spectacular shape.  The golf course, fairways and stuff, are just perfectly manicured, and it seems to be playing distance‑wise very similarly.

Q.  With 19 straight years on a U.S. team, being on these teams, you've made it every time, where does that rank, that accomplishment, that you've made every team?
PHIL MICKELSON:  1994 I was a captain's pick by Hale Irwin on The Presidents Cup team, and since then I've been on the team or made it on my own.
As I look back on my career without really thinking about it while I play, I think that will be one of the better records that that I am most proud of, because it just shows the level of consistency year‑in and year‑out.

Q.  You've been playing on these teams almost as long as Jordan's been alive; what does that say about Jordan, that he's in your company, and what makes Jordan enjoyable to be around?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I think that statement says more about me and my age than it does about Jordan.
It's fun playing with him and seeing the shots that he hits.  I was 20 years old when I started playing some TOUR events, and to see his success level at that age makes me reminisce.
And to see how far advanced‑‑ his game is so far past where I was at at 20 years old, and the shots that he hits and the level of consistency he's been playing at week‑in and week‑out is really impressive and we are all very happy to have him on the team.

Q.  There's some reports that you got a ping‑pong coach that you worked with before this week.  Tell us about that.
PHIL MICKELSON:  There were some reports that I took some lessons for pong prior to this tournament, and those reports would be correct.

Q.  How has that worked out so far?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It's been okay.  I haven't really been playing any matches, been taking it easy, again, working on the fundamentals, but it seems like it's coming around.  I'm ready for the challenge with some of the players.

Q.  Is it tough to say this is a rivalry?  Does it feel like a match‑‑ you know what I mean, a their team against our team kind of thing, the way the U.S. has dominated this field, how do you get up for this?
PHIL MICKELSON:  As I look back on my career, these team events become some of my fondest memories, because of the relationships that are formed the week of the tournament, as well as the emotions that get brought out in this event.
And regardless of what past results have been, it's a tournament we very much want to win, we very much want to play well in, and we want to represent the United States with class and pride in a way that everybody can be proud.
So we want to play well, and past performance has nothing to do with it.

Q.  Playing Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, pretty good match?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I think those are two very strong players.  Oosthuizen has not been healthy and able to play lately, but apparently he's 100 percent and his game looks pretty sharp.
So the fact that he's hungry is going to be tough.  It's going to be a tough match.  And Schwartzel has one of the most aesthetically beautiful swings you'll ever see.
But Keegan and I are playing well.  We're ready for it and we seem to bring out the best in each other.  We had some great momentum at The Ryder Cup last year.  We want that to continue, and the only way to continue that is with good play and with good results, so we've got to put together our best game tomorrow, because we want to keep the momentum going.  It's not going to be easy.

Q.  Is the intensity of this competition different‑‑ when you step on the tee tomorrow will it feel different than when you stepped on the tee at Medinah?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It might be a little bit more subdued, but it's pretty intense.

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