PRESS CONFERENCE WITH PHIL MICKELSON
Q. What do you think about your chances at the Barclays Singapore Open 2010?
A. Well, after playing this course the last three years, I feel like I have learnt the greens better and better. The biggest challenge for me the last few years has been on the greens and I feel like now with the speeds being a little bit quicker, the grain takes less effect and I putted very well today so I’m optimistic that I’ll have a good putting week.
Q. What do you think of your form last week?
A. I didn’t play the best last week. I seem to play better in the second week of my two week stretch here in Asia and I’m hoping to put it together this week.
Q. Could you sum up the season you’ve had?
A. Honestly, I haven’t played the way I would’ve liked to this year. Other than the win at Augusta, it has not been the year that I was hoping for or expecting. This off-season will give me the chance to work on the areas that need some work and hopefully come back sharp in 2011.
Q. Has your arthritis been affecting you?
A. I don’t believe that it has affected my play because I feel great now. I’ve been on some medication and I feel terrific so I don’t feel like it has affected my golf. I haven’t experienced any pain since I began treatment and I feel great.
Q. What are your thoughts on playing two courses instead of one like in last year’s tournament?
A. I don’t anticipate it being an issue. The grasses and golf courses are very similar, similar greens although the other course might be a little bit shorter. But I don’t anticipate it being much of an issue. I think the weekend will look very much the same as it has in years past.
Q. Does playing two courses change the way players approach the Thursday and Friday rounds?
A. It may, given that on the shorter course you have to make a lot of birdies and it’s probably the easier of the two. But, I don’t think it’s too different. We play two courses a lot on the PGA Tour. At some events like the AT&T event, we have three courses and at the Bob Hope we have four courses. So there are times when you can’t necessarily play a practice round on every golf course. When I encounter things like that, I rely on my caddie ‘Bones’ to get the right yardages, develop a course management strategy: off the tees and into the greens. And then it’s up to me to get my game sharp. If I don’t play the course, I have to rely on his course management but I have to rely on my shot making, chipping and putting. So that’s where the teamwork comes into play.
Q. Could you sum up the week so far?
A. Well the highlight was winning Augusta and I came close at the US Open. That would have made the year incredible. Other than that though I haven’t played the way I would’ve liked to. With only one win, it hasn’t been what I was hoping for.
Q. Is the battle for the World Number 1 spot a little bit distracting for you?
A. It hasn’t been something I’ve been focusing on. It’s tough for me to think about that when I haven’t played my best but I had a good day and have adjusted to the time. After playing this golf course for three years, I believe that I’m going to play it better and better and I have high expectations this week.
Q. What are your thoughts on Golf in Asia?
A. I really enjoy Golf in Asia and it’s exciting for me to see the way the game has really taken off. I noticed it a lot in China, in Shanghai. The crowds are more knowledgeable now, have a better understanding of the sport and the proper etiquette. I see younger and younger kids playing the game. I see that here in Singapore, where a lot of people play golf. It’s exciting to see the game grow. Because in the U.S. we have not been growing, we’ve been staying the same or even declining. This game has given a lot to me and it means a lot to me. For me to see it grow in different parts of the world, all throughout the world whether it’s in Asia, U.A.E. or whether it’s in Europe. It’s important and very meaningful to me.
Q. The PGA Tour is close to announcing the Player of the Year. Do you see a battle between Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar for Player of the Year?
A. They certainly had great years. They had some very good years but this year there hasn’t been a player like Tiger who came out and dominated. I thought Jim winning the FedExCup really closed the year out well, especially after what happened at the Barclays event in New York. For him to come back and win the FedEx Cup, I thought that was really cool. He’s a good candidate for Player of the Year.
Q. What do you think of the rule on everyone having a standard groove on their clubs?
A. Most people that I know did not use square grooves in their Irons. Most of the clubs that I had were conforming to this year’s rule. With the exception of the Wedges. It was really just a waste of money for all of our manufacturers. I haven’t seen any effects really.
Q. With the problems Tiger was having it seemed that World Number 1 was yours for the taking. Are you a bit disappointed that you haven’t reached it yet?
A. Sure, I am. Because you’re right it was there for the taking. For months it was there if I had played well and I just didn’t play to the level of my own expectations and it’s been disappointing because of that.
Q. Given the choice. Would you choose your Masters win or the World Number 1?
A. That’s not really much of a question if you ask anybody in the game of golf. Major championships mean more than an arbitrary ranking.
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com