MORE INTERVIEWS: Well Fargo Championship transcript archive
Q. Phil, very solid until the last couple of holes. They were a bit of an adventure. What happened out there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I got just a little bit tired, I think. Because I quit on a couple of those swings and pull hooked it two drives on 8 and 9 and put myself in binds. I was unfortunate on 8 to be right behind the trunk. If I had been a few inches either way I probably would have been fine getting it on the green. But it was a bad drive that put me there.
But I hit the ball pretty well today and made a lot of putts on the greens, putted well, and it was a good round. It was playing difficult this morning when it was colder and there was a little drizzle, and I was able to make some pars early on and then make some birdies.
Q. This might be the coldest we've ever seen it here.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, this is usually pristine weather. It's usually just perfect here. It's not bad, it's going to get nice and should be nice this week.
Q. It seems like there's one thing missing on the trophy and that is your name. It seems like this is a tournament that Phil Mickelson should win?
PHIL MICKELSON: I really like this golf course. I think from tee to green it's one of the best I've ever seen. I really enjoy playing here. I've had some good finishes, but you're right. I haven't been able to break through and get a W. This year, hopefully, it will be different because I am playing well and I do really enjoy it here.
Q. We were just talking to Nick Watney about how scorable it is out there with the soft conditions. What did you find out there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought so too. Early in the morning when it was a little colder and there was a little drizzle and wind, it was difficult. As that went away, the scores got a lot easier. This is a great golf course in that there are some really good, easy birdie holes, and there are some really hard pars.
So you get a good barometer of how you're playing and have a great opportunity to make up ground on the field or against the leaders by birdieing the easy holes and parring the hard ones.
Fortunately, when it was tough conditions, I played the harder holes and I was able to make pars and had the opportunity on the easy holes to make birdies. But this is a great mixture of holes here.
Q. We haven't seen you competitively since The Masters. When you take a couple weeks off, what is the most challenging thing to get back into the flow?
PHIL MICKELSON: Usually it will be kind of touch and shot making, short game shots around the greens, little touch shots. But sometimes it just kind of comes together and it's not an issue. I usually take a week off after a major like that and don't touch a club, and then when I pick it back up, either it goes really well and I play well the rest of the weeks, or if I'm fighting it early on, it's like I'm always trying to fix it for the next coming weeks.
When I picked up a club a week ago and started playing, I was playing really well. So it felt good. I wasn't trying to fix anything. I was just kind of swinging the club, and I ended up playing well at home and it kind of carried over into this week. Hopefully, I can continue to play well here next week as well.
Q. The six greens have been a big story this week here at the Wells far go championship. How did they play today?
PHIL MICKELSON: They're fine. The greens are fine. The thing about this tournament is that ten years ago when they started here it went from no tournament here in Charlotte to one of the best tournaments we have on TOUR, and this tournament is really what propelled other tournaments to step up, to do all the little things well, to just make your tournament even better. And this tournament does everything to a T as well as you can do it, whether it's for the fans, whether it's for the players, the media, everything is so good. I hate to see one off‑year the tournament take a beating, because this place has meant a lot to the TOUR because it's made everybody else compete with this tournament. They do such a great job that everyone else is elevating their game.
So just because one year the greens are a little rough, I hate to see it. They should get a pass. They should be cut a little bit of slack because they've done so much for us.
Q. You must be awfully pleased.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a good round today. I putted well, hit the ball well. It was a good way to get started for the tournament.
Q. How different are the just conditions, temperature, obviously, the course, et cetera, from usual?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, in the morning it was cooler, there was a little drizzle and some wind it was more difficult. As those went away and as it warmed up a little bit, it became easier and there were birdies out there.
So if you could start early and just make some pars, your birdie opportunities will come later. That's kind of what happened for myself, for Nick Watney and the guys that played well. You just kind of get through the tough holes with pars and capitalize on some of the birdie holes that are out there, and that's kind of what happened.
Q. As much as you enjoy this course, do you feel somewhat snake bitten out here because you've played so well over the years but haven't been able to breakthrough?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't. I really enjoy playing here. I think teetogreen it's one of the best golf courses I've seen. I think it's a tremendous golf course. This tournament does all the little things well. Not only is it a great course, but it does all the little touches for the players, for the fans, the media, everybody that is part of this event, they do such a great job that it's so fun to come here and play.
Though I haven't broken through with the win, I've played well here. I've had good finishes, and I'm hopeful that it's just a matter of time.
Q. You talk about liking this course tee to green. How were the greens out there today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, they're not as good as they have been, but they're in a transition period. They're going to tear these up and put in Bermuda. They're going to soften, I think, some of the contours. And this course, tee to green, like I say is so good that I think with the right touches on the greens, I think it will be one of the best courses anywhere in the world.
The beauty here is in its simplicity, and I think sometimes on the greens they might be overdone a little bit on the contouring and detract away from the greatness of the place, and I think they're going to fix that. I just think there is potential here to have one of the real gems in all of golf.
Q. The exciting par you made on 9 from the tee and the one‑putt to save it, describe what happened on that hole and how you carry that momentum from that putt?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know if I just got tired, but I made a couple lazy swings on 8 and 9 where I quit and the ball hooked and I missed it way right. It cost me a bogey on 8 where I ended up right behind a tree trunk. On 9, it should have cost me another shot because that was even worse than 8 by far, and I got fortunate to have some kind of shot back to the fairway. I hit a decent wedge I thought was going to get closer and made a good putt. The putter can make up for a lot of mistakes.
Q. You mentioned the attention to detail that this place pays to all the little things and they've done such a great job for 11 years. When something like this happens with the greens, is that what you're talking about? Give them the benefit of the doubt? With that being said, are you a little disappointed that some didn't give them the benefit of the doubt?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I think we should cut them slack and realize there is a transition here for Quail Hollow as they get ready for the PGA Championship. And I think 17 you saw a whole different short game facility. You're seeing different greens, and they'll go to totally different grasses in a week or two. So it's just a transition period, and we're fortunate that we're still able to play here while they're transitioning the course for the PGA.
Q. Phil, you're obviously excited about that drive. How important is it for you to have something like that to kind of get you fired up? Is that important at this point in your career?
PHIL MICKELSON: It is. It is. I mean, I like to hit shots whether it's with irons, carving it certain ways into pins, changing trajectories and so forth. This driver allows me to do that, to hit different shots. And it reacts the same as my irons. The feedback and feel is the same as my irons, so I'm optimistic that I'll have some good driving tournaments upcoming.
But I didn't drive it as well as I expected to today, but it still feels pretty good.
Q. What did you work on last week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just nothing specific mechanically. It's more just kind of feel and swinging the club and getting the touchback of hitting shots after I had taken a week off.