Phil Mickelson scored his first victory since May as he held off Tiger Woods and the field to win the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. The victory marked the first time Mickelson had beat Tiger Woods when the two golf superstars were paired in the same group in the final round of a tournament.
Mickelson got off to a scorching start on the Labor Day finale and was able to hold on until the end, winning by two strokes as both he and Woods birdied the final hole. It was Mickelson's 32nd career PGA Tour victory and first since The Players Championship in May.
With the win, Mickelson moves back to No. 2 in the world, still well behind Woods. Mickelson now takes over the top spot in the FedEx Cup points race with two tournaments still to play, though Mickelson has yet to say for sure if he will play in them both. Here Mickelson and Woods discuss the Deutsche Bank Championship after the final round.
Q. Give us a couple general comments on the round.
PHIL MICKELSON: I had a lot of fun, not just today, this whole week. I had a lot of fun on the golf course being able to play three rounds with Tiger, a couple with Vijay. I had a great time off the course, too, we went and saw the no-hitter in Fenway Park. How often does that happen? It was a very historic night and fun week here in Boston that I'll never forget, and had a chance to spend a couple days up in Kennebunkport, Maine, the few days prior to this tournament.
It made for a very special memorable week, and I just am so excited with the way it finished.
Q. You started the first two rounds, you're paired with Tiger and Vijay. As it stands next week you play with Tiger and Steve Stricker. Is that an exciting part of the Playoffs, the pairings based on the points standings?
PHIL MICKELSON: My favorite thing about the FedExCup is the way the pairings go straight down the points list. I think that's my favorite aspect of it. It leads to some excitement.
Q. Is there any advantage or do you like, particularly this format, having your contenders, which in this case primarily means Tiger, right there with you, rather than a group ahead or a group behind?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know if it's an advantage or not. What it is is more exciting. I think it's more exciting for the FedExCup when the leaders are paired together more often, when you are going head-to-head more often, and it seems to add more in that regard. But I don't think it's an advantage or disadvantage for any of the players.
Q. Does this victory mean more to you because of your past record against Tiger?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it does, yeah. I think that he was making a charge there in the end, and to be able to stand up on 16 after he knocked it close and follow it with a birdie of my own, knock it inside of him to finish with a couple birdies coming in to win, it feels terrific.
Now the next step is to try to hopefully go head-to-head in a major. We don't get paired very often in majors, and hopefully next year in '08 we'll have a chance to do that.
Q. When you won The Players you really had a good week short game-wise. This week your putting was very good but your long game seemed to be better. I wonder if you could comment on that and where you are right now.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, what was nice was although I hit a couple of iron shots I wasn't proud of, I had a driver I could fall back on. I just felt like I knew I was going to get it in play. That's a new feeling for me. I missed only two fairways today, and playing from the fairway allows me to not be fighting for pars all the time. So that was a big thing.
I certainly owe Mr. Harmon a lot of gratitude for him -- his time and effort into helping me drive the ball more consistently in the fairway.
Q. How rewarding is this after you were playing about as well as you have at THE PLAYERS and all this stuff, and then you get hurt and everything you went through there, and other than Scotland you haven't really contended especially during the major season. That was pretty much of a bummer, and now you won here in your first appearance?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's exciting because I feel like I had a three-month sabbatical there where I couldn't practice, I couldn't swing aggressively into the ball, and I have enjoyed this whole week going into some of this turf. It's firm, taking aggressive divots and not having any pain. I've been able to practice, come out early a few hours and have good practice sessions to get ready. It's been a night-and-day difference, and that's why I'm so excited to play here at the end of the year and have been able to play well because of it.
Q. Were you more excited about the FedExCup or more excited about 2008?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm excited about the way this week went. I loved this finish, I loved being able to play three rounds with the best player of arguably all time and certainly the best player in the world today, and to be able to come out on top feels great, and that just leads to excitement for the coming here, as well as I guess the finish of the year.
But '08 is when our next major is, so that's kind of what I'm looking forward to.
Q. You'll be in Chicago next week?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure. I don't know.
Q. You had a lot of chances. How frustrating a week was it on the greens for you?
TIGER WOODS: Very frustrating. I did not putt well the majority of the week. I just had that six-hole stretch there on Friday, but other than that, I unfortunately did not have the speed right. I had too many three-putts. I think I had four or five three-putts this week. That many three-putts and still right there, which means I'm hitting the ball well, I just need to clean it up on the greens for next week.
Q. Phil had never beaten you playing with you in the final round. Do you think he had the advantage coming in today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, all I know is we had to go catch Brett. I was three back, he was two back, and we had to go get him. Then Phil got off to a great start, then we all had to go get Phil. That was the mindset going on out there today. Unfortunately I just didn't make enough putts to really push him.
Q. Between the ears when he makes that double on the hole does the light come on and all of a sudden it's like, oh, game back on? Kind of open the door, I guess, for lack of a better phrase?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, he did. He made a mistake there. I felt that I should have -- if I could have made that putt, you know, I could have got a big chunk back. The next hole had an easy putt on the next hole, as well, and I missed that. So back-to-back pretty easy putts -- actually make that three in a row, 11, 12, 13, I missed three pretty makable putts.
Q. We know this isn't a major, but did the atmosphere, the noise out there in any way get close to matching what we sometimes see at a major?
TIGER WOODS: Well, all year we've been talking about how it's been kind of dead this year with the excitement level. D.C. was pretty rowdy, here it's been pretty rowdy, so it's nice to see some atmosphere out there. You know, we were playing well today in the same group, the guys behind us were playing well, so a lot of good scores all around.
Q. How much does it help, it may be obvious, but to have the two of you guys with all your star power playing together and playing pretty well?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was -- I think it was fun for both of us. It was fun for the gallery. You know, it's good -- probably great for the tournament. I think this is probably what Deutsche Bank really wanted for the event, and it worked out great.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports.
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