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ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP


January 19, 2014


Phil Mickelson


ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I ended up going with a 3‑wood off that tee and just blocked it in a terrible spot.¬† I tried to right hand it out and I double‑hit it.¬† I don't know if it hit the limb and it hit the club or it just popped up from the dirt and hit the club, but I hit it twice and made seven.¬† It happened.
I fought hard to make a few birdies coming in, and Larraz√°bal birdied the last hole, and I needed to make eagle to tie.¬† I thought if I could just have to make birdie to tie, I could get into a playoff.¬† But it was just that one swing, because I really struck it well today.¬† Hit a lot of good shots, drove the ball well and it was that one tee shot with that 3‑wood that did me in.

Q.  We can talk about the negatives, they are gone, it's a good finish in a championship, it's not easy to win every week; what positives do you take flying home tonight?
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† I hit the ball better as each day went on.¬† The first day was very‑‑ not good.¬† I hit very poor iron shots and hit poor drivers, and then the last two days, my iron play started to come around and today I drove it great.
Today I drove it the way I've been driving it towards the end of last year, and I'm excited about the rest of the year because of the way I'm driving it now.  When I had to hit fairways coming down the stretch, 16, 17, 18, 14, I was able to putt those balls in play to give myself a chance to get at the pins and make birdies, and for the first tournament of the year, with that one exception, just that one hole, I played pretty well and I'm excited about the rest of the year.

Q.  What is your verdict on this week?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, what a fun week this has been, to be here at Abu Dhabi with great weather, wonderful golf course.  We had perfect conditions all week long, and it was a nice way to start the year with good practise facilities and each day my game got better and better.
I started off very poorly the first day, and I progressed all the way through to where I struck the ball very well today, and I'm excited about the foundation that I've built this week in my game.  I still have some work to do, and I know where those areas are.  My distance control with my irons wasn't great, and I'll go back and work on that.
But I had a great week in these nice conditions and practise facilities to build a solid foundation for the rest of the year.  What happened this week and fundamentals and foundation should help out for a good start to the year.

Q.  And just one rueful hole today.
PHIL MICKELSON:¬† It happens.¬† Yeah, it happens.¬† It never crossed my mind it might double‑hit.¬† I was just trying to dribble it out of the bush because I couldn't get the unplayable lie to give me a shot without stroke and distance and I felt it was worth the risk.¬† It never crossed my mind that it could double‑hit it.¬† I was just trying to dribble it out of the bush, and that‑‑ when it hit the club, not only did it cost me a penalty stroke, but it also stopped the ball from going to a spot where I could hit it again.¬† So it was like a two‑shot hit of the club, essentially.

Q.¬† Just picking up on what you were saying there about what happened on the 13th, it was kind of a no‑brainer, you had to play the right‑handed shot, didn't you, wasn't a bit too daring or that sort of scenario.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, my two other options, which would be to take the pin and the ball and go back as far as I want, didn't give me a shot.  It was just bushes extending all the way back and I wouldn't have had a shot except to go back to the tee box.  I felt the risk was to try to dribble it out.  If I could just get the ball to go ten feet, it would have been fine.  I make my bogey, I try to make up ground later on.
It happens, though, unfortunately.¬† But what I was really pleased with was how I started to strike the ball really well throughout this week and weekend especially, and I drove the ball much better today.¬† Even though that one tee shot is what cost me, that is with the 3‑wood, my driver was really on, and felt great today and I'm excited about the upcoming events now.

Q.  And in the scoring sense, the way that you bounced back coming down the stretch after taking the 7 must be pleasing.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, I got refocused and got a aggressive and made some birdies and gave myself a chance.  If Pablo had not birdied the last hole to win, I would have gotten into a playoff, and so I give him a lot of credit for finishing the tournament off the right way.

Q.  You are seriously box office, aren't you, the brand of golf you play.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I enjoy playing golf, I enjoy challenging myself to hit some shots, and sometimes I pull them off and sometimes I don't.  And this week, I had a little bit of both.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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