Team USA

European Tour: Phil Mickelson Talks 2020 Goals Ahead of The Saudi International

PGA Tour professional Phil Mickelson speaks with the media about his 2020 expectations, the importance of growing the game and even makes a super bowl prediction ahead of the Saudi International.

PGA Tour professional Phil Mickelson speaks with the media about his 2020 expectations, the importance of growing the game and even makes a super bowl prediction ahead of the Saudi International.

European Tour: Phil Mickelson speaks with the media prior to the start of the 2020 Saudi International

Q. Your initial impressions of the Royal Greens?
PHIL MICKELSON: It’s a really good golf course, and it’s a challenging test. It’s a fair test. It’s really well done. The greens are really well done. I just think the course is just a great test of golf and a wonderful place to hold the tournament.

The conditions can be difficult, like we saw today with wind, and if that’s the case, it’s really tough test of golf.

Without wind, you can score low, but it’s a really well done golf course that’s very playable in difficult conditions, and yet still challenging in calm conditions.

Q. The growth of the game, how important is it to introduce new countries to the sport?
PHIL MICKELSON: I am excited that there are so many courses planned for this new city. I’m excited to have met a young girl who wants to be the first professional Saudi professional. She seems like she’s driven and motivated, and I love the support that she’s getting.

I care about this game, and to see the excitement level in some of the young kids here, and to see that there are plans for many courses here in this new city, I think that’s really cool.

I love seeing the game grow all over and I love seeing the plans for courses here, and I love seeing kids. I love seeing kids out here; the more we get, the better.

Q. How excited are you about the year ahead and the work you’ve done off the golf course?
PHIL MICKELSON: So I’m very optimistic about what this 2020 brings. I’m more surprised that the first two weeks haven’t gone the way I planned, but I feel like my game is a lot better than it was last year and I just need to be patient. The scores will come.

Q. What do you feel you need to improve?
PHIL MICKELSON: So the practise rounds, like I come out here today, and I drive it great. I hit 11, 12 fairways. I need to do that in the regular tournament. Sometimes I get a little tight and I get a little scary, and I just need to go out and play relaxed, because I want to force the result. Because I know I’m playing well, I try to force the result and I just don’t get the best out of it. I just need to stay patient and it will come.

Q. Some terrible news at the weekend, Kobe Bryant.
PHIL MICKELSON: Man, I think that has hit everybody really hard. Myself and everybody, we just can’t comprehend something like that. Because a guy like that, you think he’s going to live forever, and it just kind of is a reality of what a finite process life is, and it’s really hit everybody hard, especially people that know him.

He’s one of the premiere icons in all of sport, in all of America, and I think many parts of the world, too, as global as basketball has become. I don’t even know what to say. We’re still all shocked at what happened.

Q. What’s your favourite memory of him?
PHIL MICKELSON: Meeting him and spending time with him. One time I was with Amy at a Lakers game and he came over and gave us a hug. That was kind of a moment. He had this way to make you feel so good; that it wasn’t so much the things he said, although he said some incredible things, but it was the way that he made you feel when you were around him.

Q. Super Bowl is this weekend. Your prediction and thoughts on the game?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it’s exciting to have two such evenly matched teams in such an explosive offense that Kansas City has. Historically, a better defense has always won, a team that has thrown as much as Kansas City. But in this instance, there might be a mismatch in the secondary. I think it’s just going to be an exciting game.

Q. Score prediction?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it’s going to be a higher scoring game, 35-31, and I’m not really sure who I’d go with, but I would guess KC.

January 29, 2020

King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports