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May 1, 2014

Phil Mickelson


Q.  You jumped out of the gate and put up a good score, 67.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a really good round for me, a great way to start the tournament.  I haven't gotten off to great starts, and I was trying to get a good focus to get a good round in on Thursday because I always feel like I'm playing from behind, so to get off to a quick start is really a good sign, and what I needed.

Q.  Brand new greens, you rolled in several 13‑foot putts today.  Can you talk about how comfortable you felt with the putter in your hand over the ball?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I made a lot of really good putts today and it covered up some very poor chips, a number of poor chips, 15, 20‑feet from the hole that should be tap‑ins and ended up making three out of the four, so it covered up a lot of mistakes.  The greens, not only are they rolling great but the design is just perfect.  It's become such a wonderful golf course and I'm so happy for the club here and Johnny Harris because this place is terrific.

Q.  Final thing, I know you were disappointed not to pray the weekend at Augusta, how much does that miscut motivate you to get your game sharp not only for this championship but for the many big weeks to come.
PHIL MICKELSON:  You always have to let go of poor performances; it's part of the game of golf.  Failing is a huge part of this game, especially playing professionally, and you have to let it go and move forward.  There are too many great tournaments coming up to let a poor performance affect your upcoming events.

Q.  Phil, nicely done out there.  You talked earlier in the week about how this golf course, finally the greens match the golf course pretty well out there, 5‑under par, 67 today.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I love the design of the greens, and this first year you've got to cut it a little bit of slack because they're new and they haven't had a chance to grow in, but they roll beautifully.  We were able to make a lot of putts out there, and I think next year you're going to see this course be one of the best courses that we have on TOUR, if not in the world.  It's just a wonderful design.  I'm so happy to have the PGA Championship coming here in 2017.

Q.  You got off to a good start, but it looked like the aimer was right on, you were right at the flagstick for most of the day.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a good day, hit a lot of good iron shots and I had a couple of areas I can improve on.  My chipping was poor, at best, and my putting was unbelievable and covered up for a lot of mistakes.  I love the golf course and I've played well here in the past, and given my performances here, I haven't got off to good starts.  It was important that I get off to a good start here today.

Q.  I noticed on some of the putts you didn't look from the other side.  Is that just something you feel or you just have a good sense of where it is?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Sometimes when you feel it, you can overthink it.  Sometimes when you see the line and you know what the ball is going to do, you can overthink it.  When I don't have a good feeling, I will walk around and take another look from behind and get a better feel.  But sometimes I just want to get up and hit it, if I feel like I've got a good read and feel good over it.

Q.  Phil, you're always wondering where your game is at after a little break.  Looks like it's pretty good.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a really good day for me today, and I putted really, really good.  It was a great day for me on the greens.  There were some areas that I saw where I need to improve on, my chipping was not very good today.  But it was covered up by a couple of good par putts from longer distances than they should have been.  Iron play was really good and Bones did a good job of pulling clubs in a wind that tends to swirl.  Sometimes it gets blocked out by trees and sometimes it's exposed, and it's difficult to pull the right clubs, and he did a great job, and it was a good team effort, and I was able to get off to a good start.

Q.  What about this place?  You seem to be mixed almost every year you're here.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, I really enjoy the golf course, I've always loved it, tee‑too‑green.  I just think it's one of the best I've seen, and it requires such great shot‑making in all different directions off the tee, as well as onto the greens.  The greens now are just stupendous.  They match up perfectly with the beauty and the simplicity of the design, and I believe it's one of the best golf courses I've played.
I'm excited to have a Major Championship coming here and I'm excited about playing, with the extension of the PGA TOUR event here at Quail Hollow, playing for many years here.

Q.  Phil, with what happened at the Masters and your time off, how therapeutic was it to shoot such a good score today?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was important for me to get off to a good start today, because I haven't played as well as I would like to this year, and I haven't been getting off to a great start, so I'm always playing from behind.
It feels great to get off to a quick start where I don't feel like I'm playing catch‑up.

Q.  How important was that putt on 18 to keep the momentum going?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a good one, because those last three holes are tough, and you just want to finish off the holes with some pars, and I hit some good shots and 3‑putted the 17th, I didn't want to end with another 3‑putt on 18, so that putt felt great.

Q.  Did you make adjustments during your time off?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, I really didn't.  There is nothing different.  I'm streaky with the putter, as you know, I'm going to be hot or cold, and I really like the way the greens feel.  I'm able to see the line and match it up with the speed for whatever reason, and I feel good.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, appreciate it.

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