Shell Houston Open interview: Phil Mickelson

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March 29, 2013


Q. All right. Thanks so much. Phil, five birdies here in Round 2, but only able to shoot 1 under par. How would you assess the day?

PHIL MICKELSON: The front-9 I didn't play very well. The back-9 I played really well, couple under par. Could have been a lot lower. I feel like I finally started to hit some good shots. Feel pretty good on the greens and I'm excited about tomorrow, because I feel like I have a chance now with the way I'm hitting, then we have weather like this, I can still shoot a low round. Tomorrow might be an opportunity to make up some ground that today didn't provide, given the way I didn't hit great shots early on.

Q. You told me Thursday after the round you're trying to trust things out there. How difficult were the scores with the wind blowing, is that a fleeting thought or are there moments when you trusted it more than others?

PHIL MICKELSON: You have to stay pretty committed on a lot of shots here because there happens to be trouble left and right on a number of holes. There isn't any rough, so if you can keep it within those perimeters, you still have a chance to get up on the green and make par. It's a golf course that's fairly easy to make pars, but it's really tough to make birdies except on the par-5s.
Again, I played really well on the back-9. I'm optimistic about tomorrow's round. It's the same I was in in 2011 when I won, 50th spot, I came out on the weekend and lit it up. Finally feel like my game is in the position to light it up where, when I go to the range, I'm not trying to search for something. I know what it is. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. Phil, I saw a lot of good golf swings out there today and a lot of good putts. Seemed like a lot better round.

PHIL MICKELSON: It was a round that could have been really low, Dennis. I played much better the back-9, which is why I'm optimistic. I didn't play great the front. The back-9 I really turned and started to hit some good shots, a lot more good shots. Still a couple of poor ones. Felt good rolling the ball, and even though a few didn't go that could have, it was -- it felt pretty good on the greens.

I feel like tomorrow I have a chance now when I show up, I'm not searching, I'm not trying to find it. I know what it is I'm trying to do and the feelings I'm trying to create to hit certain shots. I have a chance tomorrow to shoot low rounds.

Q. I don't want to bring up the 5th hole. I came to the property the first time on Wednesday. Where do you drive it off tee there on No. 5? There's not a very good definition of where the fairway is. You're trying to hit it maybe at the left edge of the back bunker maybe from that forward tee? I mean, where do you hit it? Looks like it's 70 yards wide and it's not?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, right of the fairway angles off into another hazard to the right and left is in the water. So, it is a tough hole. It's a hole you have to stand up and hit a great tee shot or else you're in the hazard. Unfortunately, I've hit two tee shots that weren't great that went in the water and I made double both times. It's a challenging hole. It looks a lot easier than it is, but everything is banked into the hazard. You're playing to half the ground out there that it looks like.

Q. Is it the visual of how wide the fairway is in trying to find the carry number? Bones, I'm sure got the numbers. The one today was it missed by much, really because you bounced it into the water there?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's a tough shot for me because there's a slice wind. I never feel as comfortable on a slice wind as I do a hook wind. The wind is blowing it right into the water. The entire front-9 I underestimated the strength of the wind and how much it was going to take the ball.
In fact, the back-9 I doubled it and finally found out about the right amount and started hitting some shots at the pin. I underplayed the wind there. I should have aimed almost in the right hazard and let it drift over. It was not the best hole for me.

Q. Phil, talk a little bit about I guess the finish when you got here to 18 and that chip up there?

PHIL MICKELSON: I hit a really good tee shot. It's a scary tee shot with all the all water down the left and wind blowing into the water. I hit a an iron shot right at the pin. I flew it. If it was a yard short, it would have hit in the bank and maybe stayed on. It ended up flying up top and went over. Very tough little chipping area there downhill to a highly elevated green, and I ended up not hitting it hard enough, not playing the bounce. It was pretty sticky.

I could have putted it like Jeff. Made a 5. It's a tough hole. I'm not going to lose a lot of ground on the field on 18 making 5. Maybe half a shot to the field. I hit a lot of good shots. I played really well the back. The front I was a little sketchy. I'm excited about tomorrow's round because when I show up tomorrow, I know what it is I'm trying to do, what it is I'm trying to feel, and I feel like tomorrow provides an opportunity to go low. Today I came out three hours before trying to get a practice session in to get that feeling, and it finally felt -- fell into place the back nine.

Q. Did you have a driver in the bag today?

PHIL MICKELSON: I have a 3-wood that is a little hotter, that's a driver, essentially. So I have two 3-woods.

Q. You use that a lot, this new 3-wood.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yesterday I carried a driver, and then today I carried a second 3-wood that's more like a driver. As windy as it is, the idea was a little less loft to keep it lower and get it running on the best fairways.

Q. Two drivers, two 3-woods next week?

PHIL MICKELSON: We have a special club we're making that I'll be hitting on Monday. So, we'll see.

Q. You seem to be up to it. Good feel for you coming in?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think that it is, in that the back-9 I started to really hit shots. I started hitting little cuts in the wind, draws into the wind. Started driving the ball in play confidently in crosswinds. So, I'm excited about tomorrow's round, because the back-9 I started feel comfortable with the golf swing. I'm able to speed it up and have the rhythm and everything fall into place. And tomorrow, if I can play like I did the back nine, I'm going to give myself a lot of birdie chances. Today could have been really low, today would have been in the middle 60s in pretty tough conditions. Few things didn't go the right way. I think tomorrow as well I might do it.

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