2012 PGA Championship Interview Transcript -- Phil Mickelson

Q.  How tough was it?

PHIL MICKELSON:  It's very challenging and the reason I think is a couple of things.  One, most every hole is a direct crosswind; and two, you're not able to really play the ball on the ground here.  You have to play it through the air, because the greens all repel off.  You can't really roll a shot up.   That makes it difficult, because you have to play the ball through the air.

You have to challenge and take on the crosswinds, and if you get it going with the crosswinds, your misses are going to be very big.  And so it's a difficult test.  But, it's one of the best setups I've seen.  There's plenty of room in the fairways if you drive the ball well and hit a good shot, it will be in the fairway.

You know from the tee if you hit a good shot, if it is in the fairway or not.  The greens are receptive so if you hit a good, solid shot, they will hold on the green.

There's plenty of room to play on this course.  There's plenty of room to miss it and still have a shot.  It's just a very well designed golf course given that conditions are very common around here like this.

Q.  So is your approach different than it would be at a British Open?

PHIL MICKELSON:  Absolutely.  You can't hit the low shot along the ground.  The ground is not wet so it's not running and more than that, up by the green, it all goes away.  There are hills in front that will stop the ball from going on.  So playing it along the ground is not an option.  You've got to go through the air and you've got to tackle these crosswinds and it's difficult to play through the air, as we'll see the guys this afternoon.

Q.  Conditions yesterday were so much better; how do you explain shooting so much better?

PHIL MICKELSON:  They were still a little more difficult in the afternoon.  The wind was still blowing, maybe not as strong.  And I think the great thing about this course is if you play well and you hit good shots, you can make pars, you can make some birdies.  And if you don't, you're going to make some big numbers, because it really does reward good shots and it penalizes bad ones.

I know that sounds commonplace, but that's just not been the case these last couple majors.  You've hit great shots that have been brutally penalized and here it is just a wonderful setup.  The PGA of America really has it dialed in.

Q.  Is this what you used to see at the British Open, windier days you've had, is this day right up there?

PHIL MICKELSON:  It's windier, yes.  The difference is when it's warm like this, it doesn't have the same effect on the ball as it does in the cold air.  Other than that, it's still very difficult.

Q.  (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, we had about a five or ten minute spurt there where the wind just started gusting 35 or so and it started raining.  And we hit three just really kind of funky shots that were all pretty solidly struck.  And you know, the pin is 38 on, and Davis hit a solid shot that ended up four yards short of the green.  Just, it's tough.  We were fortunate that we had pretty good lies in the bunker where we were at and we were able to salvage par.  But we hit a 4 iron where if we would have hit four or five minutes prior, we probably would have hit 6  or 7 iron.

Q.  (Inaudible.)

PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, I hit a really good 4 iron on the first hole to a couple feet to start the day.  It was a nice way to get me right back to even par.

The decision to hit driver on the second, for my second shot on 11, I actually felt like it would be easier to control it because I wouldn't have to fight the wind.  It would just stay down and the wind wouldn't touch it, so I didn't have to do anything special.  I just had to hit a normal driver.  I felt like 3 wood would get up in the air and had a potential for a bigger miss.

Q.  You and Vijay both had very good rounds today and you're both in the Hall of Fame; just the kind of success players continue to have    how difficult is it to do what he's done through his 40s, and he's still doing it.

PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, he's a tremendous ball striker.  These conditions here where you don't have an option to go on the ground, you have to keep it through the air, plays right to his strength.  He hits the ball extremely solid and penetrates right through the air and he's done that his whole career.

When he gets hot with the putter, he can reel off a number of wins just like he did one year where he won nine times.  He has that ability.  You don't ever forget it.  Sometimes you might go through hills and valleys, but you don't ever forget how to hit those shots and win.

Q.  Do you feel good about your position?

PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, I mean, I don't know where it will be around relative to the lead, but I think if somebody shoots better than 4, better than Vijay, that's going to be a heck of a play this afternoon.

If I'm within four shots or so heading into the weekend, that's a really good position where I can actually feel my game get better as the week's gone on.

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