Quick Quotes - Friday, January 22, 2016
Q. You shot a solid 68 at La Quinta on Thursday, the number indicates today a better round for you. What were your strengths out there on this course today that led to this great number?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was -- I had a good round where I was just patient and put a lot of shots in play and then gave myself a number of chances on the greens. And I had a number of putts go. Some that didn't. But I had a lot that did go. It was just a good solid round.
Q. How close are you to having the swing where you want it to be?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm probably a week away, if I'm being honest. But I've also won with a lot less game than I have right now. So, it's not that I expect -- I still expect to get in contention and have a good weekend, but a lot of iron shots are 12, 15 feet off. I know that when I get it right, when I get it right, I'll have a lot more tap in birdies throughout the round. And when I'm playing well, I usually have three or four tap-ins and then if I can make a few 10, 12, 15-footers, I can shoot in the mid to low 60s. But I haven't been giving myself those tap-ins yet.
Q. You said after yesterday's 68 you were hoping each round would feel better and better as far as your game. What's your verdict on today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, this was a good day. It felt good today. It felt solid. I felt like there were a lot of good shots and a lot of good things that came from today's round. I hit a lot of balls in play off the tee and give myself a lot of good putts at it with the irons. But I didn't hit it, didn't hit a number of shots to within tap in distance. When I'm playing well, I need to have three or four of those. Then, if you can make a few extra birdies, that leads to a really low round. Today, they were good shots, but they were 12, 15 feet. So I did make some of those, but the ones that I missed, I need to try to get it a little bit closer.
Q. You said that the work you've been doing with your new coach you've got the swing more on plane. How have you gone about that? What's the process?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's been, details of it don't matter, but it's been a three or four month process and it still is challenging to -- there's a 10 or 12 inch different from shaft angle throughout the swing and that's a pretty substantial move, especially trying to develop face awareness of where the club face is. So just now really in the last week or two have I been able it start hitting shots and curving the ball and having awareness of where the face actually is through impact. And it's, so that's still not exactly how I want it, but it's close. Like I say, I'm probably a week away from being where I want it. But it's also a good chance this week, because I've again won tournaments with a lot less game than I feel like I have right now.
Q. One of the highlights of the round was the chip in on the 14th. First green you missed all day. Describe how that went about.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's not like it was a hard chip. Certainly you're going to get that up-and-down probably 19 out of 20 times. It was an uphill lie. When you have the uphill lie, the back of the hole, I was hitting to an uphill cup, you have the back lip a little bit higher than normal than if it were flat. And I hit it right in the back. I hit it right in the back part of the hole. So I kind of used that little back board to get the ball stopped in the cup.
Q. We played together about five weeks ago and you mentioned it wasn't that much fun because you were working on your golf swing, it wasn't shots. I saw a lot more engagement right there, right now. It looks like you're really, really close.
PHIL MICKELSON: I feel like I'm really close. I feel like I still am about a week away, where I'll have much more face awareness. But when I say, face awareness, I mean that sensitivity through impact of feeling the face slightly open or slightly closing to hit a little draw or a little fade. I'm talking about the difference in a two or three yard distance control and that's the difference between having a 10, 12, 15 foot putt for birdie and a tap-in. So I'm just very close to having three or four tap-ins around and, but yet, right now, I hit a number of good shots that went 10, 12 feet, I made some putts and had a good round, so I'm not complaining. But I'm probably a weak away from being where I wanted.
Q. When we played five weeks ago you drove the ball pretty good. You drove it great, too. I love the way you're swinging the driver right now, man.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. It feels a lot easier when the swing is on plane, certainly from when my arms are waist high to waist high, through impact. There's a lot more space, the club goes through so much easier, I don't have to use my hands to square the face. So basically the shaft plane is much shallower as it approaches the ball. With the driver, you need to do that. I've been so steep lately and trying to adjust it with my hands that I haven't had a chance. But now I'm starting to feel easy with the driver, it doesn't feel like it's a lot of work to get the ball in play, and that's, if I could get it somewhat in play, the strength of my game is usually irons. So, that gives me a lot more opportunities into the greens.
Q. If you can drive it in the fairway at Stadium that course is a lot easier. I think you should have some fun out there if you can get it in the fairway like you did today.
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm looking forward to the challenge and having to really focus on every tee shot to get it in play. But I hit a lot of good shots today on crucial tee shots and was able to get it in play that allowed me to attack pins and make a number of birdies.
Q. Any concern being 10-under on your first nine holes and only 1-under on your final nine in the last two rounds?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't thought of it like that, no. So, I guess not. No, I don't know what to say to that. I've gotten off to some pretty good starts and it's nice to feel that momentum.
Q. What do you attribute those good starts to?
PHIL MICKELSON: Patience, really. Because I didn't -- it's not like I came out of the gate and birdied the first couple of holes, but I just waited for some opportunities. And I feel like I'm not trying to force the issue. You get on these golf courses where we have perfect weather and greens are perfect, conditions are great and you feel like you've got to go shoot 6-, 7-, 8- under par, which is true, you have to. But you try to force the issue and a lot of times that doesn't lead to low scores. So I've been kind of patient and taking advantage of a few opportunities. Now I kind of just let the ball roll in. I made one putt today of about 20, 25 feet and that got the round started and then I ended up birdieing the last three holes.
Q. How do you compare today's iron play to yesterday?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was good. It's not bad. It's, I'm hitting it solid, in the middle of the face, 12, 15 feet from the middle of the hole. But the sensitivity of little fades little draws two or three yards off adding two or three yards to each shot, the subtle nuances that it takes to hit the ball close and make a lot of birdies, it's slowly coming back. But it's not quite there yet. It wasn't there today. I didn't have the one or two tap-ins, I need to have a few more of those. But I made a number of putts to offset it.
Q. So you're not necessarily as concerned with a couple of those lipped out putts from 10 or 12 feet as you are about the fact that you were 10 or 12 feet to begin with.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I think that it's not how well you putt, but where you putt from. You putt from three feet you make a lot more of them than from 10 or 12. I hit a putt as perfect as I could on the last hole and it was breaking in perfect speed and it didn't go in, it caught the lip. Now if I'm from six feet, that putt's going to find the hole. So I hit a good 9-iron there, but it just fell a little -- I was trying to hit a little, get it to fall a couple feet to the left and it fell a couple feet to the right and next thing you know I'm 12 feet. So those little nuances are the things I'm talking about.
Q. Two rounds under your belt, how does this season, your first two, compare to some of the other, the last couple season, your first time out here after the first two?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't gotten off to great start here in this tournament lately, so I've been fighting to make the cut every year. Now I feel like I'm in a position where, if I can keep it going and get a good round, I can have a good chance on Sunday. That's kind of the goal tomorrow. I know Stadium Course is going to be a challenge, but if I hit it the way I've been hitting it, driving it in play, I think there's a lot of birdie opportunities still on the Stadium Course.
Q. So you think you're right where you want to be?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well you always want to be ahead, but I'm happy that I'm in contention, I'm happy I'm playing well, I'm happy that my game feels good, and I feel like I'm on the right path with the right direction. But I'm still probably a week away.
Q. How much coaches did you consider and what is it that you like about Andrew that made you settle on him?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know, I don't know, I just, I don't have great answer for you. I don't know. We just seemed to -- I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel, I'm not trying to learn anything new, I'm just trying to get back to old.