FedEx St. Jude Classic interview: Phil MickelsonJune 09, 2013
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Q. Here with Phil. You find yourself four, five shots behind. Boy, it was fun to watch.
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit a lot of shots. I had a little bit of trouble getting my putts and the pace was off. I kind of limped it up there by 12. Killed right through the break on 13. Hit some good wedges coming in and I thought that one on 18 might even go.
Looks like it's going to be -- wouldn't have been enough with Harris making birdie on 17. He's played some great golf.
Q. No. 11 again, I just knew you were going to hit it right of the flag. Is it like half -- were you between clubs or what?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit the shot that I was playing for, but I was not playing for much of it at the time. I hit a little 9, four feet left of the pin. I thought it was going to be perfect. It did not look like Scott's ball got hit. It bored through the air. He hit wedge. I hit 9.
It got hit a little bit by the wind. It's a tough little hole. You're thinking birdie, but if you get -- misjudge the wind a little bit, you're going to did what I did in the water.
Q. Lot of people chose not to play the week before a Major Championship. You got to be pretty pleased heading into next week.
PHIL MICKELSON: I am. I really like playing here. It's a good golf course. It forces you to hit the fairways, a premium on hitting the fairways. The only difference the grass on the greens is a little bit different, but the shot making, thought it was very similar. The grass here will be very similar to next year's down at Pinehurst as well. It will be a good spot to get ready for next year's Open as well.
Q. Good luck next week.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you.
Q. You gave yourself a lot of of opportunities. Didn't really come your way and yet they still gave yourself an opportunity to get back in here. What was the feeling about the way you played?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I thought that I played pretty well the backside. I hit a lot of good shots. Came up a couple shy. But it was an encouraging week. I felt like I progressed and got better each day. Felt like it was fun to get in contention, especially after not being there for three weeks and not playing the last three weeks to get in the mix and to feel the nerves a little bit, and the shots, especially the one on 18 where I knew I had to make 3 and thought it was a very encouraging week.
I thought it was a great golf course. Demanding off the tee as well into the greens. It was fun to play.
Q. Final analysis, what is it that you takeaway about where your game is and what you maybe need to shore up or what you're encouraged about going to Merion?
PHIL MICKELSON: My iron play was very good this week. I'm really encouraged with the way I hit my irons. Got to get the 3-wood in play a little bit more, although next week at Merion distance won't be as critical as TPC Southwind. I'll be able to hit higher and softer shots.
I'll have to get the ball in play with a 3-wood. I'll have to hit some long irons in play, 4, 5 irons in play, too. So, those are the shots that I'll be working on. My short game felt pretty good after the day. I got better as the week wore on.
Q. Phil, you're pretty happy with the effort this weekend. Looks like you came up a little short?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm a little short. I was quite a bit back on the back-9 and just kind of plowed alone. I had trouble getting the ball in the hole making putts. Still shot a few under and was able to make a run with the guys when the guys fell back.
Harris finished strong. He's been playing some great golf. It's good to see him up there, but it was fun also for me to feel the nerves a little bit, the last couple holes to know that I had a chance and to pull off the shot on 18 when I knew I needed a 3, and that felt good. And after having three weeks off heading into the Open, it's important to feel that nervousness.
Q. Great shot at 14, great shot at 17 going at the flag sticks coming down the stretch. Tell me about the fans out here. You coming to the tournament really infused a lot of energy. They were so supportive all week long for you out here.
PHIL MICKELSON: The people have been so nice this week. I can't tell you how many people have been -- have come up and thanked me for being here. It feels so good to be appreciated like that and they've just been really a lot of fun and nice to be around.
Q. It's not very often, you have big galleries but to have 5-, 6,000 walking with you from the first hole all the way through, how did it feel?
PHIL MICKELSON: It is cool. Not only was it great to have the support from the community out and supporting the event, and the hospital, what they do for St. Jude, but also we had great weather this week.
When I was here a few years ago, it was so hot. It's beautiful, comfortable, little breeze keeps it cool. We had a great weather week, too.
Q. All week you kind of talked about getting your game, building it and being in a position to make a run on Sunday and you did that today.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a great week. I had really a wonderful week. The people here have been so nice and so supportive. I love what this tournament does for St. Jude's Hospital.
And as my game progressed each day, it felt better and better. The back-9 I hit a lot of good iron shots and was encouraged to feel that nervousness the last couple of holes. I haven't played the last three weeks.
So to have that feeling to be able to pull off the shot on 18 when I needed it to have any kind of chance, I had to hit it close, is very important heading into next week's Open.
Q. What's it like knowing what did you this week playing, helping the kids at St. Jude's?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a cool feeling. The way the community supports the hospital and knowing what that hospital does. You hope you never have to go there, but if you do, you sure are appreciative of having a place like St. Jude's.
Q. Phil, on 18 when you hit the shot, put your hands on your head, what was going through your mind?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it was going to have a chance to go in. I knew it was the right number and yardage. I couldn't see it because there was a little bit of a ridge hiding the hole from me. I couldn't tell if it went in. I saw the reaction of the crowd and you couldn't tell if it was just close or if it had gone in, and I felt I needed to make it to have any kind of chance.
As it turns out, with Harris making birdie at 17, it probably would have been irrelevant anyway.
Q. Did you get everything you wanted out of this week in terms of getting ready for next week?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think so. My iron play was wonderful this week. I was really pleased with that. I've identified some areas. I'll work on getting the 3-wood in play a bit more off the tee. I'll work on hitting 4, 5 irons in play for Merion.
A lot of times you need a 4, 5-iron off the tee there. My short game got better as the week wore on. The first day was pathetic.
Q. You realize --
PHIL MICKELSON: We had such a great weather week. Last time I was here it was so hot in the 90s and brutal. We had a comfortable week and the breeze kept it even cooler. It was nice.