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June 5, 2014

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Phil, last week you talked about I need to finish rounds strong.  This was pretty strong.  Four birdies in your last seven?
PHIL MICKELSON:  This is what I was really hoping to work on this week and had a nice solid round going, not too many birdies or bogies.  I was even par.
To finish off birdieing three of the last four makes it a great round and that's exactly what I need to do.

Q.  As good as those were, the up and down at the par three 4th, sand save at 5, those were pretty good too.
PHIL MICKELSON:  The up and down on 4 was a tough one.  The bunker shot on 5 was probably easier than it looked.  The shot on 4 was an unlucky break.  Hit a good 8-iron over the green.  That stuff happens.  Goes over the green into a tough spot.
That lob shot I didn't hit exactly -- how I wanted it, either, came up a few yards short of where I was trying to fly it.  I made that.

Q.  You played so well here last year.  This was kind of the continuation of the great year because you were 2nd here, a 2nd at Merion, you win The Scottish and British.
Something about this place that kind gets the juices going?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I do like the golf course.  I like the small greens.  I like the areas around the greens, if you miss the challenge that it presents getting up and down, but it's also a golf course that doesn't overpower you with distance.
There's a great mixture between short and long holes.  You have opportunities to have some short irons in and decent par-4s that are extremely long.  You have some birdie holes and you have a great mixture of holes here.  I like the golf course.  It's been good to me so far.

Q.  Phil Mickelson, talked before this tournament about finishing strong and you certainly did that with three birdies in four holes.  What allowed you to do that?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I had nice round going.  Even par, not doing too much.  A tough day today with some of the winds.  Just kind of had a solid round going, then I had a few short irons into 6 and 9 and was able to make the putts.  Birdied the par three, 8th.
Finishing the round the way I wanted to.  I did exactly what I need to do and some momentum that I need heading into the U.S. Open.  Tomorrow's round, the same thing.  Finish strong and play a good round.

Q.  This is the kind of golf course where not everyone is going to hit a bunch of greens.  How do you feel your short game held up today?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was really good throughout the day.  There was one little mistake on 18 where I didn't have a very good chip when I hit it ten feet by.  That was a touch issue and something I got work on for next week.
The areas around the green here where the grain, where it's bermuda grass, the grain is going away from the greens, it's going to be exactly what we have every single shot at Pinehurst.

Q.  You talk about having the mental focus to be able to focus on every shot.  How did you feel you did that?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was much better today.  Something I'm trying to take a little bit more time behind the shot, doing a better job visualizing the shot and the thing that's really helped me, I've been more creative, curving the ball more with the irons.  Try to get the ball close to the hole rather than just hitting a stock shot without a curvature.
That's helped me get a few tap-in birdies and that's something that I've been working on but also helped me visually.

Q.  You said yesterday you wanted four good rounds.  I would assume this qualifies as one of them.
PHIL MICKELSON:  Why this round was meaningful to me is the way I finished, birdied three of the last four holes.  It's something I've been struggling with finishing the round strong.  I had a good round last week on Thursday and then played poorly.  To birdie three of the last four made it a great round.  That's exactly what I need to do.

Q.  Phil, talk about Harris English today.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I really like Harris English.  He's a quality individual.  I enjoyed playing with Scott Stallings.  We had a fun time last year playing together.
Harris hits the ball a long ways.  They made me feel my age today off the tee, especially.  Both Scott and Harris hit the ball extremely long ways.  Got powerful games and although it wasn't Harris' best day today you could tell he's got a low round in him if it comes together.

Q.  The scoring, you were talking about, was that just battling through it?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I had four, five really good opportunities from 15, 20 feet early on in the round and had a hard time getting them to go.  My speed was off a little bit, my reads were off a little bit.
I called Bones in and I haven't been asking his help too much on the greens lately.  He came in on the last 9, 10 holes and did such a great job.  Everyone of his reads is right on.
So, it's kind of a win/lose for him.  He did his job great but that means now I'm going to have him work a little bit harder the next three rounds, too, because he had a great read on the greens.

Q.  What happened on 2?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I missed the fairway to the right and was down there by a drain and some sod.  I got relief but hit a shot right into the tree.  Fortunately, it bounced back into the fairway where I was able to get it up by the green, salvage a bogey and birdied the next hole to get it right back.  That was a hole that I could have easily lost a couple shots there and I only lost one.

Q.  We talked to Paddy earlier.  He said sometimes in a round you think things aren't going to turn around for you and you'll get a chip-in or something like that.  It really -- you just have to know that sometime during the day something good can happen and it will turn around.  Is that with you this season really trying to turn this around?  Is what you're looking for maybe one, two, good shots that can turn things around?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yes.  I don't feel bad about any part of my game.  I really feel good about my game.  I've been very patient.  I doesn't don't feel like I'm pressing the issue.  I believe it's going to come.  I believe it's going to come soon.  Always remember one of the shots that sticks in my head is the 1989 British Open, Mark Calcavecchia was kind of falling back.  He was hacking away on this one hole at Troon.
He had to get up and down for par and it looked like he was going to fall a few shots back.  He kind of bladed a lob shot and it flew into the cup.  He made a birdie.  He ended up -- it was a two shot swing.  Was going to go a good, 30, 40 feet by but he goes on to win the tournament.
You just never know when something good is going to happen, when you might hole a shot, when you might make an eagle, when somebody ahead of you might fall back.
You just want to hang in there and fortunately I don't feel my game is that far off.  I really don't.  I've been patient with it.  I've not been pressing.  You never know when it's going to turn.

Q.  Golfers like Harris asking advice on the golf course, do you get it?
PHIL MICKELSON:  If they do I'm happy to help in anyway.  But these guys are very equipped to play the Tour and I know what they're doing.  College and some of the mini tours and so forth have made them ready.  But if they have any questions, I'm happy to help.

Q.  When did you call Bones in?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was on No. 3, the par 5, last 7 holes.  I called him in on pretty much every putt.  He read them exactly right.

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