Focus on Woods-Mickelson battle in PLAYERS Championship

Focus on Woods-Mickelson battle in PLAYERS Championship

Focus on Woods-Mickelson battle in PLAYERS Championship

Perhaps there was an edge to the Woods-Mickelson relationship, but that's clearly evolved into a genuine appreciation, if not a budding friendship, in recent years.

"It was 12 years between wins here, and so, as y'all know, just looking at my record, I didn't play this place well". They are on the back nines of their Hall of Fame careers.

The careers of Woods and Mickelson, two of the best players of our generation, have nearly overlapped for the last two decades, but they have played together only 35 other times in their PGA Tour careers. "It's been fun to be a part of the past champions here, because it really takes some special golf to win out here".

"We don't really do this very often, unfortunately", he said of playing with Lefty.

The only issue for him may be the mega-star power of the other two.

In a later news conference, Woods said he's not against a winner-take-all match. That's only partially true. 1 and 2 in the world they played on opposite sides of the draw for the first two rounds, seeing each other only on the weekends. No one loomed as large as Mickelson in terms of personality, resume and talent. "We have always looked and said, 'Where is he on the board?' That's what Arnold and Jack used to do all the time". He'd also said in so many words that Woods wouldn't dominate the way he had as an amateur. But when they did it was normally a one-sided affair.

"I love this tournament", said Mickelson.

There were other moments, too.

Woods was dominant from 1997-2008, but he has found success hard to come by in years since.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are all smiles during a Masters practice round but it wasn't always the case. But the two rarely went head to head.

Mickelson has never failed to give Woods credit for his impact on the game, particularly the attention he brought to golf that resulted in mammoth TV contracts and prize money that made everyone rich.

Of those duels, none was more memorable than their 2005 final-round showdown at Doral.

Animosity aside (be it real or perceived), the first two rounds at TPC Sawgrass are still must-see opportunities, even if that means your couch may be the best vantage point. Woods, meanwhile, had spent a year overhauling his swing with Hank Haney and hadn't won a major since the 2002 U.S. Open.

Woods had the flawless responses to questions about Mickelson's challenge. As threesomes go, you'd have to say it's better than most.

Meanwhile, Woods, in the midst of playing a full schedule for the first time in more than four years, continued to sound humbled to be able to do so after a fourth back surgery in April 2017.

Mickelson said: 'I don't think anybody today who wasn't there to witness it, and I don't think anybody before, will ever see that level of play again.

"We'll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable", Woods said.

So is the relationship between the two.

'It was the most remarkable golf in the history of the game and, I think, unrepeatable.

"The guys today look back and they say, 'Come on, how much better could he have been?' and so forth".

Among them, according to Woods, were chipping tips from Mickelson when Woods was dealing with the yips in early 2015. "We didn't know it could be played that way, and they both have done it". "They're both at different stages in life".

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