2001 US Open - Phil Mickelson Press Conference Transcript

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 14, 2001, 4:00 pm
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I'm not disappointed in the round at all. It was very windy when I teed off and playing much more difficult than it seems to be right now. The wind has calmed down with this storm coming in. I think they'll have about an hour or so of calmer conditions before maybe the rain hits and they might have to leave the course. Golf course is playing nice, and it's a very good test, especially with a little bit of a breeze.
 
Q. 18 is a fair hole?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes, it's fine. And we knew it would be.
 
Q. You switched clubs on 18, what did you end up hitting?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: I went from a 7 to 8-iron, and chased up the hill. I felt 7 would be a little hot. And I was trying to make 4 there as I will all four days. I was fortunate to be on the green, and I'm not disappointed with even par. I would have liked to shot under par today, but even par never hurts in the U.S. Open.
 
Q. Did you do well in the gameplan today and what would you like to do better?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: There's nothing really in particular that I did exceptionally well today or that I'm going to try to do different tomorrow. I've played well, and I've been playing well. I kept the ball in play and haven't made too many big mistakes. I've been able to feel very comfortable on the greens. I've been putting well. So I'm not looking to do anything different heading into the next few rounds.
 
Q. On No. 5, your second shot, was that a driver out of the rough?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: Yes.
 
Q. It was a good lie, you had a real good lie there?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I had to go under the limbs and with the wind being left-to-right and the fairway sloping left-to-right I could not hold that fairway with any club. And so I was better off being in the rough up by the green than being in the rough 150 yards short.
 
Q. Can you describe 14 and 15, Phil, what happened there?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: 14 was just a miss club. I was trying to hit a 5-iron in the middle of the green, I hit it solid and misjudged the wind. It plugged right in the lip. And 15 was -- the one poor shot that I hit in that I knew I couldn't miss it right of the hole. And I tried to hook one back into the wind to avoid going too far left of the hole, and I hooked it, and didn't have a shot and made bogey. Not overly disappointed, though.
 
Q. Are there any birdies out there?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, you have to understand, the practice round, yes, I did make a lot of birdies, but that was primarily due to the fact that the pins were in the middle of the greens. Now that I'm hitting it mostly in the middle of the greens, my putts are longer. There are a number of birdies out there, however, there are a number of bogeys if you short side yourself. There are some pins that you really need to be careful of. But because the greens are receptive, you can come into those pins with a short iron and get the ball stopped and have a good opportunity with a well struck shot. But there's a lot at risk when you have a swirling wind.
 
Q. On No. 9, you were aggressive off the tee there, and I don't know what you had left in there.
 
PHIL MICKELSON: I had a gap wedge. I only had 88 yards. It wasn't a hard shot. The problem was the ball was sitting down in the Bermuda with the grain in, and I hit it heavy.
 
Q. 2, 12, 14, 18, those are holes that really give Southern Hills character. You parred them all. A couple of guys said if you par all those holes you are gaining shots on the field, do you agree with that?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, first, I didn't par 14, I made bogey there. But I parred the others. I don't know, I think that there are a bunch of holes where you try to make par, and there's a bunch of holes you try to make birdie. You were talking about the holes that you try to make par on. I actually think a harder hole is 13, because it's a par-5 that you can get a shot back on, but it's probably the toughest 4 out there.
 
Q. How much does your success at the Colonial help you this week?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, playing well at Colonial gives me confidence heading into this tournament, because the golf course is designed by the same individual, Perry Maxwell, the same type of bunkering, the same grass, the same greens, it's a very similar golf course, and I feel comfortable on this course, because I've been playing well at Colonial.
 
Q. (Inaudible.)
 
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a nice, solid round. It's certainly doable. I'd be surprised if that's low, though, at the end of the day.
 
Q. Your birdie at 5 and at 10?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: Birdie at 5.
 
Q. Yeah.
 
PHIL MICKELSON: I hit driver in the left rough, and I tried to cut a driver around the trees and rolled it short of the green about 40 yards and chipped up to 10 feet and made it. 10, I hit a 5-iron off the tee, just went through into the first cut and I hit a 9-iron to about three feet.
 
Q. On 9 and 18, you clubbed a shot on 9, are those greens -- those greens that improved from --
 
PHIL MICKELSON: They're fine. They really are. And they knew that on Monday or Tuesday, and they knew they were trying to slow them down and they did. The difficulty is because the pitch is so severe they had to slow them up and they're just a little bit slower than the other greens, so you have to adapt to it.
 
Q. Do you feel pretty good about getting in at even par with the weather up in the air, do you feel good about that?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I'm not ecstatic, and I'm not disappointed. Round 1 is over, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's round. Now because it was a morning tee time I felt it was my opportunity to shoot three or four under par. I didn't really do it. And maybe tomorrow if the wind -- and primarily that was due because the wind was so tough. It was a good 20-knot wind today. And tomorrow there's a chance it will be every bit as strong, and I will be very pleased with even par. If it dies down I think I can get a couple under.
 
Q. Was it windy from the first tee on, essentially?
 
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it was so windy, I think No. 1 was almost drivable, if guys hit driver they could almost reach it. It was 3-iron and only 120 yards left.
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.