MORE INTERVIEWS: THE PLAYERS Championship transcript archive
Q. How would you describe that round today??
PHIL MICKELSON: Pretty good.
Q. Graham DeLaet said he felt like he had gone 12 rounds with ties on.
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it was a very fair test today, and the reason I say that is the first five holes I hit a couple of shots that were squirrelly, wind got it, greens were tough, rough; I was 2 over.
Thereafter, I hit a lot of really solid shots, played it in 4 under. If you strike it really solid, don't go at every single pin, get it on the surface, there's a lot of holes you can make birdies on.
If you miss it fractionally, the wind will take it. It'll miss the green because the greens are firm. You'll have a very difficult up-and-down, and you'll end up making bogeys.
It was the exact kind of day that I needed. I needed a few more birdies to make up the ground I wanted, but it was the type of day I needed to have to have the opportunity to make a move at the lead.
Q. Obviously the courses are very different, but does this course ask for the same type of golf that you'll need at Olympic and Lytham??
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that around here there's a lot more water, there's a lot more spots you cannot play from.
I think Olympic, there are spots you can miss it and still get up-and-down, still have a chance, still advance it to the fronts of the greens on a lot of the holes, where here, it's tough to do that.
It's tough to -- if you get in trouble, advance it down by the green.
Q. What do you take from those last two putts? They appeared well struck; didn't get the reward.
PHIL MICKELSON: It happens, you know. When they're this quick and this sensitive, you've got to read it perfectly, judge the wind perfectly, and have it be smooth around the hole to get some of the putts to go in.
You just can't hit it hard enough to hold its line a lot of the time, and you need a little bit of luck on some putts.
Q. Did you hit a gap wedge into 17??
PHIL MICKELSON: I did, yeah.
Q. What degree??
PHIL MICKELSON: 53. It's a strong sand wedge or a weak gap. It was 124 to the hole. It was just right on it.
Q. When you hit it in there that close and don't convert, is that something you have to accept on this golf course??
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't really -- I didn't really have a choice (laughter), but it hurt not birdieing 15 and 16.
I felt like if I could get to 6 starting the day, shoot something in the 60s, that I would be in a good position for tomorrow. It's not that I'm out of it per se, but I'm going to have to go that much lower tomorrow, two shots lower than I was hoping to, which means I'll probably have to shoot something in the mid 60s to have a chance.
Q. Rickie will probably be in the mix to repeat from last week's win. You came close to doing it. It's been three years almost. What's the -- why is it so hard? What's the challenge there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's -- I mean, I don't know. It's just tough to win any time, but yet back-to-back weeks is difficult because usually you have different conditions. It can be mentally, physically draining to stay focused for 72 holes at the highest level and can be sometimes difficult to get up the following week. But it's been done before by a number of players, and there's no reason why it can't happen.
Q. Does Rickie remind you of anybody over the years, home-grown swing??
PHIL MICKELSON: Johnny Depp a little bit with the look. Doesn't he look exactly like him? (Laughter.)
Q. How about between the ropes??
PHIL MICKELSON: He's just a solid player. He just really is a solid ballstriker and a good putter; a good short game; plays without fear.
He's a really good asset for the TOUR, and it's good to see him playing well. We want him on our team events, our Ryder Cup team for sure.
Q. When you talk about mentally and physically draining, does this golf course in the wind cover both of those??
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly if you're not hitting it well it's a fight to start salvaging some pars; if you start straying too far off the fairways and start missing greens.
Q. Can you talk about the atmosphere out there??
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it's really cool. There's a lot of people out here. The community really supports this tournament well. It's an exciting little stretch there around that lake. It's cool.
Q. You've got a lot of work on your short game during this round. How would you assess how you did around the greens??
PHIL MICKELSON: I mean, it was okay. I didn't miss a green the back nine, so it must have been the front.
Q. First four holes.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, the first five holes. I hit one green, and I bogeyed that one. The first five holes I struggled a little bit. Like I say, if you start hitting some good shots here, you're going to have some birdie opportunities.
Q. Yesterday Kevin Na said that he sort of apologizes to players before he begins a round and says, guys, I'm trying to work through this. Among the players, this situation with him with the waggles, do you empathize, sympathize??
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't really know what you're talking about. I played three rounds with him at AT&T this year, and he was fine.
You know, he's a nice guy, pleasure to be around. I don't know. I mean, I didn't really notice anything, so I'm not really sure.