Phil Mickelson has joked how he would like to just skip straight to the final round and do battle with Tiger Woods for The Players Championship. That may seem like odd advice for a man with 79 PGA Tour wins and 14 Major successes, but according to his former coach Butch Harman, it may be the crucial change that will enable the transition from "Tiger Hype" to "Tiger Wins".
The last time Woods and Mickelson were in the same group was the first two rounds of the 2014 PGA Championship, where the PGA of America determines the groupings. "We've been going at it for the better part of over 20 years, and it's fun for both of us to be able to do that".
The group tees off on Thursday at 1:52 pm ET off the first tee and at 8:27 am off the 10th tee on Friday. It's as if putting isn't really a skill, even though every player desperately hopes for mastery.
All three in the group have won the Players Championship before, although Woods last won in 2013 and Mickelson's sole victory was back in 2007.
That Woods and Phil Mickelson once had one of golf's most intense rivalries is as well known as the mutual antipathy that existed while it was going on. It seems many fans would be fine bypassing the formalities of 72 holes of stroke play, and Woods didn't seem averse to the idea. Woods is on a comeback after spinal fusion surgery to ease nagging back pain that cost him most of the past two PGA campaigns. "We're going to get the best players in the world playing, and I think that's all that matters".
"I'm very pleased with the way I'm swinging", he said. Although Woods' accomplishments are the stuff of legend, he and Mickelson crossed paths rarely in those prime years.
The Australian held off the challenge of Americans Aaron Wise and Nick Watney as he fired a two-under final round of 69 to finish on 12-under for a two-stroke victory.
"On top of that, when you guys all saw how I was chipping so poorly, my nerve and my back was not doing very good and I was flinching a lot, he offered numerous times to help". Woods' golf game was always easy to appreciate.
"I didn't putt well again", Woods said of his performance Sunday (via golf.com). I look at 2000 as being kind of the benchmark at the U.S. Open as being the greatest golf I've ever witnessed and I believe has ever been played.
Their most famous pairing was when they were partners in the 2004 Ryder Cup, and that didn't end all that well. It's also worth noting that all three players in this week's marquee threesome were asked about the possibility months ago, according to Fowler, and all three embraced the opportunity. It will be the first time since 2001 that Mickelson and Woods have been paired together at the Players, which begins Thursday at TPC Sawgrass.
"I hit the ball halfway decent today.so I wasn't disappointed with that", Woods told reporters.