2014 PGA Championship Round 3 interview with: PHIL MICKELSON


Q. Did you give yourself a pep talk?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I just was struggling to get the ball in a hole there for a while. The first four holes on the back nine, 10 through 13, is where the round kind of stalled.

I had a good start the front nine, but couldn't quite get the ball close enough, couldn't get the putts to drop. Turned at 2 under and they were tap in birdies, a 2 putt on 7 from 15 feet and a tap in on 4. I didn't get anything to give me some momentum.

The birdie putt on 14 was huge for me. I needed something to get it going. Knocking that one in gave me a little bit of momentum. Then I ended up following with three birdies coming in.

I'll still be three shots back here, it looks like, and not make up any ground today. But I feel like every time I tee up this week I have that 7, 8, 9 under par round in me. I just haven't played all 18 holes the way I played the last five.  I need to do that tomorrow right from the start. I've got to be sharp and I feel like I have got that low round in me. The golf course is giving it to us, if you play well, and I just need to do it all 18 holes.

Q. Tomorrow might be the time to take chances, do you feel that way?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't really wait until Sunday to do that. It's no different. You've got to go out and make birdies. You just have to get a hot hand.

Q.  (Inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON: It really is amazing when you look at the weather conditions and the challenges logistically to get here from a spectator's point of view, how many people have shown up to support this tournament.

Now, they have done it every year from '96 and 2000 PGA and the '08 Ryder Cup, the fans have been sensational, and supporting us the way they did to that '08 victory. They were a huge part of our momentum. And they have been out here supporting the players equally as strong as they have in the past this week.

Q. What does it do for you when you are in the midst of that kind of atmosphere?

PHIL MICKELSON: It is just great energy. It's great energy to have so many people and be so supportive not just of myself but all the players. They have been great.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, last week at Firestone that 10 under par round is where I got off to a good start. I just kept the momentum going throughout the round. I need to do that again tomorrow. That's the bottom line.

The great thing about it is that I put myself in a position now where if I do do that and play the way I feel I can and shoot the number I believe I can, I'm in a position to win the golf tournament and that's what feels good.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I certainly was flustered after Thursday and Friday's round at Akron last week. I felt like the game was sharp and ready after the two championships in the UK, the Scottish and the British Open. I played some good golf, had good control of the golf ball, made just a few too many mistakes.

When I showed up at Akron, I believed I was ready to go. And I don't know what to say. I mean, 71 73 was just pathetic. Over the weekend instead of trying to search and find it, I just was patient and it clicked. Started to click.

Then it doesn't take much when you feel like your game is close. I didn't feel like I was searching as much. I didn't feel like I would show up on the range trying to find it. I knew what I was trying to do. The golf swing felt good. I just needed to get the right feel.

Even today, good example, I felt confident teeing off. I was in control and had good control of the golf club. It was just a fraction off early in the middle part of the round. My irons were just a touch off. 25 feet instead of 10 or 15. The last five it was on. I need to do that start to finish tomorrow.

Q. You were 8 under total on your second nine combined for the first three days. Why is that?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. I don't have a great reason other than I've played well as the round has gone on and gotten more comfortable. I need to play aggressive and make some confident swings early on and make some birdies. I'm going to be trying to make up ground on some guys that are playing really good golf and will be making birdies tomorrow, so I'll have to make a lot of them.

Q. (Inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's really no different than each each day on the PGA Tour where you have to push yourself. You have to push yourself tomorrow to go low. You can't make the mistakes, but you can't play defensive and conservative. You have to attack. The golf course is soft and you can get to a lot of pins.

Q.  (Inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm the only that's what?

Q.  (Inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, normally I would say it would be advantage, but the disadvantage from my point of view is I have not played well, been in contention, and I haven't won this year. That is a negative.

I'm playing a guy that's won the last two weeks he's played. He won the British Open and the World Golf at Akron. That's a huge disadvantage because I haven't been in the heat. I haven't been in that position this year and I'm certainly going to feel some pressure tomorrow because I want to have an opportunity to make up for the entire year in one round. I'll certainly be feeling some pressure. It's those five majors that I've won in the past really aren't much help going into tomorrow's round.

Q. A lot of those guys on that board that have not won a major? What do they feel?

PHIL MICKELSON: Hopefully more nervous and more pressure, a little tight around the collar. That's what I'm hoping for. I don't know if that will happen, though.

Q. Is it fun when there is this many players up front?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's more fun when it's when I've separated myself or when there is just a couple of guys. That's more fun because you don't have to worry about everybody else. When there is this many guys, I don't look at the leaderboard. I just know I've got to push and keep making birdies. It's a little bit different than if there were only a few and then I would be watching what those few were doing.

Q.  Do you like the pressure?

PHIL MICKELSON: It's so fun for me to be back in the thick of it, have a chance, being in contention heading into Sunday and not having to get up at 6 o'clock in the morning to tee off, if I get to tee off. So it's been a nice change.

Q.  (Inaudible)?

PHIL MICKELSON:  Absolutely. My game feels so close to clicking. And when I say clicking, shooting really low. I just haven't quite put them all together on all 18 holes.

Tomorrow and much like Murfield, I got to start right from hole No. 1.

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