MORE INTERVIEWS: Wells Fargo Championship transcript archive
Q. It looked like in the middle of your round you really had it going. What happened?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. After I made that putt on 14, I felt really good. I thought I could get one on 15. I got lucky on the tee shot that that didn't go out of bounds I missed it so bad, but the second shot should not have been a problem. It was a very easy lie to hit the shot I wanted to. I probably pulled the wrong club. I hit it the second time with the driver to get it to cut. I should have done that the first time. The lie was fine to do it, and I hit 3‑wood and it shot straight, which I was not expecting and it went out of bounds. That was a big mistake, and obviously, 16 following it with a bogey and pulling it to the right and I hit that lady, and that just wasn't good.
But I grinded it out. I felt like this could be a final round deal where we're getting so much rain tomorrow and Monday that we may not be able to play. Much like when I won at BellSouth in the playoff when we got to the last round or two, it rained out. We ended up trying to get a par‑3 that was playable and play a playoff, and there is a good chance we might have that. So I was grinding it out there even though I didn't have my A‑game coming down the stretch just to be on top of the lead or tied for the lead in case that happens.
Q. Looked like you were in complete control through 14 holes. What do you think changed there after you left the 13th green?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. Last year I hit the ball on 15 in the water left two or three times. So with that right‑to‑left wind, I just gave it a little flip and hooked it and got lucky that the drive didn't go out of bounds. And the second shot should not have been a problem. If I had pulled the driver like I did the second time, it would have cut around no problem. I tried to do it with a 3‑wood and it shot straight and went out of bounds. So it was a mistake on my part not hitting the correct club the first time. But I thought the driver might get into the front bunker, and I was trying to leave it short.
Then I followed up the next hole with another mistake, so it was some poor play coming down the stretch.
Q. Did today feel like it could perhaps be a final round for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely it did. I was grinding it out coming down the stretch because there is a high likelihood that we don't play tomorrow. And it reminds me of when we had a rain out at BellSouth in Atlanta years ago, and they just made a par‑3 somewhat playable. We went out and had a playoff, and I was fortunate enough to win. I thought there was a good chance we might have that scenario again if the weather comes in like it's supposed to today and the forecast is as bad on Monday.
Q. The second shot on 15, I'm guessing you figured that that's just ‑‑ there is not a decision. You could pull that off, was that what it was?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was not a problem. I pulled the wrong club. I just had to go up the cart path and then just cut it. The cart path was set lower, so I didn't have a problem keeping it under the tree. I did it the second time no problem. I chose the driver the second time.
First time I tried to do it with a 3‑wood, and the ball, instead of cutting like I expected it to, it just shot straight. The driver I knew it would cut. I should have done that the first time. It was a poor club choice, but the shot was not a problem.
Q. You're sort of playing the end of the round there like it's the final round?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I really was. I was leaking oil too and made some mistakes. But there is a high likelihood we don't get the final round in with the weather coming in tomorrow and Monday, and a good chance that we'll end up having a one‑hole playoff. You have to be prepared for both scenarios. But it was important that putt on the last hole to be tied for the lead because if the last round is rained out at least I still have a chance.
Q. Obviously you didn't finish the way you wanted. Leaking oil down the stretch. But you're still in this position and it gives you an opportunity to win.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's true, and to be in the last group and on top of the leaderboard is terrific. I would have liked to have tried to increase the lead given the opportunities there with the few holes remaining, but I played poorly coming down the stretch, and I'm lucky to be tied for the lead. Especially lucky to be tied for the lead if the final round gets washed out.
Q. What was different out there today condition‑wise? Was the wind getting up, changing things a little bit?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it was playing more difficult. I don't know exactly why it was playing more difficult than it seemed the first couple of days, but I also just let some shots slide. I should have been able to score similarly to the first two rounds, and I let a number of shots go.
Q. Are you surprised to see the field so bunched at this point?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I think it's hard to separate yourself right now with the conditions and so forth, so I was expecting a bunching. Every shot is critical. You just can't throw a bunch of shots away like I did coming down the stretch, but I'm fortunate to still be on top.
Q. You mentioned the bunching and maybe washing out the round tomorrow. If it is played, everybody starts so early to try to beat it.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, but it looks like it's going to come in here that couple of hours. We'll see. We'll see if we can get it in. If we can, it will be an exciting final round because anybody ‑‑ there are so many guys within a few shots of the lead, it could be a real shootout tomorrow. But there is also a high likelihood we don't get to play.
Q. What would putting these greens be like if this gets wetter?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think they have SubAir, so they might be able to suck a lot of the water out. I don't know. We'll see. But it's hard to see what the conditions are going to be like. Tee to green the course is in such immaculate shape there is a good chance it will drain well. You just never know.
Tonight we've got to go into tomorrow's final round prepared mentally for both scenarios.
Q. Can you take us through 16?
PHIL MICKELSON: 16, I hit a really good drive and I had 175 to the hole and 160 to the front edge. I was trying to ‑‑ I have what I call a Pelz 8‑iron that flies 160. I thought I would work off of that and try to add a few yards. I came over the top a little bit, and it worked with the left‑right wind and went two yards off the green. Unfortunately, it tagged a lady right in the head. She was pretty cool about it, but boy, it didn't look good. I felt terrible about that.
The ball kicked down, and I didn't have that bad of a shot. I just hit a poor shot, and I was fortunate to make 5.
Q. When is the last time that happened that you hit somebody?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, yesterday, I don't know (laughing). It happens a lot.
Q. Anything you can put your finger on that had to do with some of your struggles today?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I actually played okay. I hit some decent shots. Then there were the little things that I let slide. I hit a poor chip shot on 3, I hit a poor chip shot on 7 and let a couple of those shots slide. The out‑of‑bounds, obviously, and then short siding it on 16. So I let four or five shots slide where I had not done that the first two days, and that was the difference in the score.