MORE INTERVIEWS: FedEx St. Jude Classic transcripts
Q. Phil, solid round of golf today, 3-under par. Drove it really well and made some birdies and got away with it a little bit on the back-9.
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit some good iron shots. It was a tough day to go really low. In fact, even though I was way back from the lead and felt like the temptation is to try to shoot 5, 6, 7-under par, I knew today a good round would be anything under par, 2, 3, 4-under because the greens are difficult to receive shots, it's windy. You miss fairways and the rough is very challenging to get the ball on the green.
I thought I hit a lot of decent shots. I played fairly, I don't want to say conservatively, but I made an effort to get the ball in the fairway. Didn't do it all the time. The majority of the time I did and was able to get somewhat aggressive and have good putts.
I shot 3-under today. I'm pleased. I'm going to have to force the issue to try to make up ground tomorrow. I thought my game felt pretty solid today.
Q. I think that's one of the weird things that's going on this week. You're only a couple shots out of 4th, but those guys are out there pretty far. If they come back to you, you're right there right now. You don't have to make that many birdies to pass quite a few players.
PHIL MICKELSON: The thing on this golf course, if you get it going the wrong way, it compounds and you end up making more and more bogies. If the leaders find themselves 1, 2, 3-over early and try to force the issue, they can end up 4, 5, 6.
Conversely, if you're playing well and make a few birdies early and get off to a fast start, there's a 5, 6, 7-under par round out there, which I'll be trying to do tomorrow.
Q. The whole thing is really be conservatively aggressive out there. You can't get them all at one time on this golf course.
PHIL MICKELSON: That's a good point, Dennis. You want to take a conservative line but aggressive swings. You can give yourself 15, 30 footers. These greens are very pure. They're rolling extremely well. You have to be careful. On some they're quick, especially downgrain. You can make some good putts with the grains being in good shape.
Q. Should be an entertaining weekend.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it will be a fun weekend.
Q. Phil, you said 3, 4, 5-under par on Friday you'd be there.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was not easy. The greens were a little bit firmer and harder to get them stopped. They were in great shape. I was patient today, and this weekend I'm going to have to press the issue a little bit, trying to make some birdies and maybe force it.
But I think there's a 5, 6, 7-under par round at the end. If I can do that tomorrow, I should be in the mix.
Q. No one was going to run away with this thing the way Harris did.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think the golf course is very difficult. If you make a few bogies early on and try to make birdies to get it back, you could easily shoot, 4, 5, 6-over par. It's a tough golf course that you have to be careful on. There's water. The rough is challenging. You miss fairways, you're struggling for par right from the start.
A lot of things can go wrong and consequently if you play well and hit some good shots, you make a few birdies early, you can shoot 6, 7-under par out there like Harris did today.
There's a lot of opportunities to make up ground this weekend. I'm looking forward to it. I've had a lot of fun here and I'm really enjoying the golf course and today I played better than I did yesterday and I'm hoping that I can play better tomorrow.
Q. Can you talk about how -- a lot of ugly shots on Thursday and you were able to put those away. So as you progressed, are you finding your game rounding into form where you want it to be?
PHIL MICKELSON: This is a good thing for me to try to continue to play better each day in the tournament. I let a number of shots slide yesterday. Made a couple of dumb mistakes, and I think that's why I enjoy the competing element before a big event like the U.S. Open next week. And I'm not selling myself out this week. I feel like if I play better tomorrow than I did today, I've got a low round in me.