Phil Mickelson: Round Two Flash Interview
Q. I just asked Justin Rose if it felt different being the defending champion. He said when he plays with you, it's like you're the defending champion. What's your response to that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't know, I mean, the people here have been really great to everybody in the field. It's been fun to play for. It's been fun to see how many people have come out to support this tournament. What a great venue it's been. The golf course couldn't be any better. It's fabulous.
Q. Do you feel like you just couldn't get anything going right today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I feel like I'm playing well enough to win the U.S. Open, except for putting. And that's not a -- it's kind of the same story. After I've 3-putted three or four times, I kind of lose my focus on the other stuff. It really affects my ability to concentrate and my momentum and energy. It's a frustrating time, because I feel like the other parts of my game are there. I don't feel like I had such a great stretch last year putting. I feel like it's in there. It doesn't feel like the ball's coming off bad. I don't feel like the stroke is bad, but I'm just not dialed in. I'm just not making them.
Q. Martin sets a 36-hole record at the U.S. Open on this setup, which most people thought it couldn't happen. How impressive is that going forward?
PHIL MICKELSON: It all depends on the greens. And because the greens were receptive, the surface area of the green is double what it would be if they were firm. So we have seen a lot of low scores because of that. But it all comes down to the firmness of the greens. If the greens are firm as repellant as they are, we're going to not -- we're not going to hit very many of them. But certainly his game is on, he's putting incredibly well, driving it very well, and playing great. You never know what will happen in a U.S. Open. It just -- we have always had crazy things happen. So you just never know. There's a lot of guys right there ready to pounce if he slips up.
Q. You worked hard on your putting. How tough is it to know it's in there, but it's just not coming out?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a frustrating thing for me. It's very important part of the game. Last year, when it was on, like the British Open was some of the best putting I've had, and whenever you putt well and you make short ones and you make those 5-, 6-footers and you're running a couple of 20-footers in, the game feels easy. You don't put pressure on yourself to hit it close. You can hit more of the middle of the greens. Your ball striking then becomes a lot easier. Your targets are a lot bigger. But the hole looks like a thimble to me right now. I'm having a hard time finding it.
Q. What's the process today on switching the grip, the thought process?
PHIL MICKELSON: I felt like I identified what I was struggling with and I thought it was my eye line had gotten well over the golf ball. So as I moved the ball away and put my eyes over the ball instead of over the top, I felt like that's how I putted last year, so I went back to my regular grip. I thought I was going to have a good putting day. I made the putt on 2 and 3 and I hit a really good putt on 5 that didn't go and I thought I was going to have a good day. The 3-putt on 6 shook me a little bit. Then 8. After that I was really fighting it.
Q. With some work to go, your mentality going into the weekend round?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I'm not overly optimistic. Obviously I'm not in good position, but more than that, I'm just -- you know, you can't fire at a lot of the pins. You got to make 25-, 30-footers, I'm just not doing it. I'm not going to give up, you just never know. I've had rounds that kind of clicked, like at Charlotte, where all of a sudden the putter clicked and I just saw the line, the ball started going in and went on a run. And tomorrow I need to shoot 6- or 7-under par to have a realistic chance.
Q. What's it like when you tee off and you're already 10 back?
PHIL MICKELSON: Maybe a little bit, but I don't worry where the lead is in a U.S. Open. I want to play a solid round. I was a couple under. I felt like there was a 4-, 5- or 6-under par round in there and I would be right in it. And with two rounds to go and penalty on what can happen on this golf course, I've seen guys here go back and forth chipping, putting, making triple and that stuff just happens here. As the greens firm up, it will happen more often. So I wasn't overly concerned with the strokes back, I just needed to play a good solid round. And for the most part, tee to green I did. And then after I struggled with the putter, it started to affect some of the other stuff.
Q. What was it like playing with Matthew over there, a 17 year old?
PHIL MICKELSON: We had a good time, he's obviously a great player and I think he's turning pro next week and I wish him well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports