A few highlights from Philly Mick's first press conference of the year at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
January 16, 2007
LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA
PGA TOUR: It's been a while since we've seen you, so maybe talk about your off-season and we'll go from there.
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a great off-season. I watch sat on my couch all day and watched TV and didn't do a thing. Just kidding.
I'm looking forward to getting back to playing golf. Amy and I had some great trips. We did a week in Italy, went to Venice and Rome and hung out there with some friends. We had a chance to celebrate our 10th anniversary, we went down to Bora Bora and had a Polynesian wedding to renew our vows and just had a great time together.
Q. You haven't played since the Ryder Cup, I believe, as you know, there was a lot of criticism aimed at you because of your performance in the Ryder Cup, did you read about that, did you care, and could you explain what happened?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, my performance at the Ryder Cup was every bit as disappointing as my finish at the U.S. Open. Those two events were what made 2006 a disappointing year. Even though I won The Masters, I looked back and those two events, those were the ones that needed to be addressed. Why did that happen and what is it that I can do to fix those. And the first one was the U.S. Open. You know, I really believe that the past former presidents of the USGA that passed away were looking down and said no one should win the Open hitting two of 14 fairways, and that certainly came back to bite me and I have got to address that need. I addressed it with Rick Smith and Dave Pelz who devised some devices to help me with the driving. Rick is helping me with why that happened; why after The Masters I was not able to pick up where I left off and get my swing back.
And then I used Callaway's technicians to help with the design of a driver that will eliminate that left shot because not only was it on 18, it was on 17 and it was all throughout the final round. And so we're working on designing a club that eliminates that, and I think we've got it right. So I'm excited about that.
And then I feel like the Ryder Cup performance was more of -- as opposed to a game problem, more of a physical problem. It's late in the year, it's the last tournament for me of the year and I don't feel as though I stood up physically throughout the nine months, and especially we're playing 36 holes a day. And I needed to address that.
So the last three or four months, I've done a lot with my trainer, Sean Cochran, to address that. I immediately lost 20, 25 pounds and put on about 10 to 15 more with muscle from lifting, trying to build up stamina doing 45 minutes to an hour and a half of cardio five or six days a week. I've started a new martial arts, a different type of martial art from what I've been doing. We also continued with our core strength and so forth. But I'm hoping that this will improve stamina so that at the latter part of the year I have a better performance. I don't expect so see much in the start of the year because I usually play well in the start of the year. I expect to see the same. But I think at the latter part of the year I'm hoping to continue or sustain that level of play throughout the whole year now.
Q. After you left after the Ryder Cup, it seemed like a popular game around the country was: What's Phil's state of mind and how is his shattered psyche. It doesn't sound like you played into that game much in the off-season.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, dealing with failure is part of the game. I deal with it 90 percent of the time.
Q. You mentioned the new stamina, the emphasis on that. Is that directed at all toward the FedExCup finish with the four tournaments in a row?
PHIL MICKELSON: Very possibly. Not just the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, but hopefully it will help out through the FedExCup finish where we're looking to be most likely playing six of seven events. That's going to be a big element of it, and one of the things that I added, too, was weight training. I haven't really done that in the past. I started lifting a lot more and instilling kind of a weight program that should hopefully help with endurance throughout the year.
Q. I apologize for asking the first Masters question of the year, you've had a lot of success and good things that have happened to you, is there one Masters memory that stands out now as your favorites?
PHIL MICKELSON: Come on now, 18, '04? Absolutely. (Laughter).
Q. When you talk about the one shot, you mean the drive?
PHIL MICKELSON: The drive, yeah.
Q. Because you couldn't do anything after?
PHIL MICKELSON: But it wasn't just that one drive on 18. I missed them through the entire tournament but that one drive made me look back at the entire tournament to say, what's going on here.
Q. A couple of years ago, everybody remembers the Tiger versus Phil, everybody was watching it, of course you came on when Tiger was being introduced at the one tournament, do you dislike that, like it; do you think we're going to see a rekindling of that or what are your thoughts?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I don't know, he's obviously played very well. He's won the last six tournaments. It was fun. It was fun and I certainly want to get back to that level where I'm able to compete in each tournament, compete against Tiger week-in and week-out. But again, it's not easy. He's a remarkable player.
Q. What advice would you give to Tadd Fujikawa and talked to you about the temptations that are headed this way as far as being 16 years old?
PHIL MICKELSON: The only advice I can say is to grow. I think another six, seven inches would be great. (Laughter) I'm just kidding.
I think that the great thing about Tadd is his demeanor or. I just love the way he presents himself. He has so much fun playing golf and I love watching him play. I think that he's going to be a tremendous talent and add so much at that time game, because he's unique. He's different than your typical TOUR player and I just love that. To do that well at 16 shows what kind of game he has and we just need to get him out sooner.
Q. You talked about the swing changes in the off-season, can you give us sort of a synopsis in layman's language that readers might understand about what basically you've done to change your swing off the tee?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, what I really want to do is instead of having the face at impact aim left, I want it aimed more down the middle. That's the goal. (Laughter) Otherwise, you know, technically, everybody's swing is different. It's not going to make much sense, but all I'm trying to do is square up the face a little bit quicker.
Q. What did you find when you look back at it, how do you reflect that as opposed to right afterwards?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I need to make a change. I need to make a slight change so that my miss is not to the left and I drive it in play. Any major is an emotional event, and I find myself very tired at the end of each major. Whether I win lose or come close at all to winning and lose or miss the cut, they are all very draining because so much effort goes into performing well there.
Q. Do you feel like the media are if I can to sort of linger on the negative things that have happened to you over the years?
PHIL MICKELSON: Do you? (Laughter).
Q. In general as a whole.
PHIL MICKELSON: Do I feel that way? I don't know. I think it's probably the same for everybody.
In a bit of other news, Mickelson announced he is has opened a golf course design business.