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February 27, 2014

Phil Mickelson


Q. First round you've played competitively in a few weeks, what did it feel like?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It felt good.  It's fun getting back out playing.  It's a good golf course, good test.  I did some things really well today and I did some things poorly, and I've got to get better with my iron play, my distance control, figuring out the wind, all these little things that come into play when you're in tournament golf.  It's hard to work on back home.

Q.  Does it take you awhile to get back into the competitive groove?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It usually does take a little while.  You're a little uncertain and so don't make confident committed strokes or swings.  That's something I'll be working on as we head into the next three rounds, but the game feels pretty good as far as how I'm striking the ball and control over it and so forth but I've just got to get that fine tuning down.

Q.  You made a conscious decision to play this difficult golf course and this tournament after quite some time; what was it like out there seeing this golf course?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I really like this golf course.  I think it's a wonderful test of golf.  I think it's a very difficult, hard golf course but when you hit good shots, you get rewarded with birdie opportunities.  The greens are not ridiculously pitched to where you have an impossible putt after a great shot.  If you hit a good iron shot close, 12 feet or so, you're rewarded with a very makeable putt.  I like that about this course.

Q.  Hard to get the speed today with the putter?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I did a lot of things really well and driving the ball was one of them.  What I didn't do well was hit the right shot into this wind and get the right club to get it close.  I kept hitting it 30 feet, 40 feet, having difficult putts, even though I struck it fairly solid and I've got to do a better job tomorrow of fine tuning, of getting the right club, the right shot, matching it up into this wind to get the proper distance control. 

Q.  The conditions didn't do what we expected, especially on the back, the wind couldn't make up its mind whether it was going to blow or not.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was inconsistent in the direction it because blowing but it wasn't very strong.  I felt like it was very scorable.  You could with good shots get the ball close, and the greens are very well conditioned.  If you hit it 15, 20, 30 feet, there's not too much pitch in them and you can make those putts so there were a lot birdies there.

Q.  How different is the approach, a veteran of the PGA TOUR and you're seeing a track for the first time, you haven't seen that in a while.  What's it like trying to approach this week?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm a little uncertain times where I want to go all the time because I'm not as familiar with the course but you should be able to pick that up quickly with the yardage books and I've got a great caddie.  So those things are not as important as the execution, hitting the right shot and pulling it off.
The course was in wonderful condition, very gettable today because the wind wasn't‑‑ it was still up but it wasn't blowing that strong and the greens are in such great shape, if you hit it close, you should be able to make those putts, they don't have a lot of break in them around the hole which I really like.  I feel like if you hit a good iron shot to 15, ten, 15 feet you should be rewarded with a good birdie putt and you certainly are that‑‑ rewarded here.

Q.  Did your playing partners tell you it gets harder out here‑‑
PHIL MICKELSON:  I'm sure it does, there's a lot of crosswinds and hitting these fairways and hitting these greens into crosswinds can be very difficult.

Q.  On No.2, were you in the water or in the mud or what?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was in the water but it was only about a third submerged.  So I was able to get a ball on it very cleanly.

Q.  Do you feel like you missed a lot of makeable birdies today?
PHIL MICKELSON:  What I missed was opportunities from the fairway to get the ball close, and it's not as though I hit bad shots per se, but I didn't hit the right shot for the wind and the conditions to get the ball close to the hole, and I was repeatedly 30 feet plus from an opportunity to get good birdie putts at it.
So tomorrow I've got to hit the ball closer but the game feels pretty good and I should have a good chance tomorrow.

Q.  How close a call was 17?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I got very lucky that the ball stayed up.  It shouldn't have.  It hit high up on the bank, above the line, and got caught up in the last foot or two and then it had a great lie, so I got very lucky in turning a five into a three there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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