2001 US Open - Phil Mickelson Press Conference Transcript


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?
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.