WGC-Cadillac interview: Phil Mickelsontext sizeMarch 08, 2013
MORE INTERVIEWS: WGC-Cadillac Championship transcripts
Q. What did you see there, thought it was going to spin back?
PHIL MICKELSON: I could tell the ball was releasing. The ball was still rolling forward and it was dead online with the pin, the white of the pin and the ball meshed and I thought it was going to vanish; I was hoping it was going to vanish.
And I was just saying how I gave it the little body shuffle there and usually that causes the ball to release a little bit more, but it didn't there.
Q. What did you hit there?
PHIL MICKELSON: 9.
Q. You have another day of golf tomorrow, but do you think you might be headed for another duel at Doral like 2005?
PHIL MICKELSON: I hope so. I saw Tiger was playing well and I wanted to make a couple birdies to get in the group with him. It seems since 2007 when we played at Deutsche Bank in Boston, I've been playing some of my best golf when we get paired together.
I hope that tomorrow that I play a good round and so does he, and we get a chance to get paired together in Sunday's final round, because he seems to somehow bring out my best golf.
Q. On Wednesday, you said you were a little unsure of what to expect this week. Are you surprised you've come out firing like this?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was cautiously optimistic because I had a good couple of practice sessions at home, felt like I was playing well.
But you never know until you get out here, because the course conditions are so much more difficult or penalizing than we ever get at home. These greens are as firm and as fast as I've ever seen, and we are not able to ever practice at home under these conditions. The rough is challenging.
So although I think I'm playing well, you never really know until you get out here in the thick of it.
Q. The wedges early, first couple holes, were you thinking, going to be one of those days where you're going to be closer or did you make an adjustment?
PHIL MICKELSON: The first three holes, I had chances for birdies. I let them slide.
And then I bogeyed 13, my fourth hole and that kind of pissed me off to where, it got my refocused, got me a little bit sharper. I had it in my head that I was going to birdie the next hole and get back to even. Hit one of the best shots of the week, an 8 iron right at the pin, hit it as good as I could.
Probably the best shot I actually struck today, it ended up about 15 feet behind the hole and I made the putt, and that got me going and pushing for birdies, thinking birdies and trying to push myself to go lower.
So that bogey on 13, it was actually the shot that got me a little more fired up.
Q. Were you in the grass or sand on 16?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was in the rough on 16, just in between the two bunkers there on that tongue on that middle bunker.
Q. Were you surprised in kind of a disappointed way that you didn't get the same results or even reasonable results the next two weeks? And if so, is that why you're kind of uncertain about however you practice, what's going to show up here?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was fractionally off on the West Coast. I saw Butch at Phoenix and got it pretty close. I know that I played really well and lit it up score wise, but it was really close the whole West Coast but it never really felt like it was firing.
And I saw Butch this week and I thought, we just keyed on, it was just a little tweak, just a little bit of a rhythm type difference, and that has made all the difference in the world to where I feel like instead of being close or hitting my iron shots 20 feet I feel like I'm hitting them eight feet and it's making a big difference.
Q. The calendar is one thing, but when you actually physically go to Augusta for the first time, how much does that get you excited?
PHIL MICKELSON: That's what it does, is it gets me excited. And there's not much work you're going to get done six weeks prior to the Masters, because it's not quite in tournament condition. Although it wasn't far off.
But seeing the course, playing there, and being on the grounds, having breakfast, having lunch there, overlooking the grounds and just playing there, gets me excited about the game. There's something very spiritual about playing Augusta if you love the game as much as I do and going there gets me fired up. It also gets me in the frame of mind of getting a sharper picture of the shots that I will have in six weeks.
PHIL MICKELSON: I've been cutting back, man. I've been making an effort.
Q. What do you say about Tiger ...
PHIL MICKELSON: When we play together, he seems to get the best out of me but I have to play a little bit better to get in his pairing.
Q. Do you feel comfortable?
PHIL MICKELSON: Do I feel comfortable playing with him? We had fun, I played with Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson today. Bubba is a great guy and easy to be around, and Steve Stricker and his wife, Nicki, are two of my favorite people. We laughed all day these last two days.