Monday, 28 May, 2018

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson to be paired at Players Championship

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will tee it up together at TPC Sawgrass Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will tee it up together at TPC Sawgrass. Getty Images
Edward Snyder | 09 May, 2018, 00:49

The final round of the Wells Fargo Championship was a tough one for Woods.

Woods and Mickelson have played in the same group 32 times over 21 tournaments, according to the PGA Tour.

Woods failed to make a birdie in a round for just the 11th time as a pro and the first time since the final round of the tournament at Doral in 2014. "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".

"Fifteen years ago my record against him sucked, and now it's OK".

McIlroy, a four-time major victor, was part of the other feature group announced, being joined by Americans Jordan Spieth, a three-time major victor and reigning British Open champion, and Justin Thomas, who won last year's PGA Championship.

On Tuesday, Mickelson added a playful touch to the proceedings.

Mickelson couldn't keep up with Woods in the early 2000s, but emerged as one of his biggest rivals by winning the Masters in 2004, 2006 and 2010.




Woods sensed after his round that others would go low, leaving him too far behind to catch them on Sunday.

In all, they have played in the same group just 35 times, with Woods holding a slight edge in their round-by-round scores at 16-15-4. Although Woods' accomplishments are the stuff of legend, he and Mickelson crossed paths rarely in those prime years.

"I'm very pleased with the way I'm swinging", he said.

The ensuing birdie restored Day's two-shot lead and he parred the last to shoot 68 and finish at 12-under 272, two strokes ahead of Americans Aaron Wise (68) and Nick Watney (69) at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.

"You know, when I was trying to deal with the nerve in my back and trying to come back and trying to play and I wasn't very good", Woods said.

"There are a lot of different things going on and when you look at these two courses the cream rises to the top and you've got to go to the top of the list and look at the Dustin Johnson's, the Justin Thomas', the Jon Rahm's, the Justin Rose's, the Rory McIlroy's, these kind of guys". That theme took on more significance when the two - twice - paired horribly at the 2004 Ryder Cup. 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 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. "It was the most remarkable golf in the history of the game and I think unrepeatable", said the left-hander. "But I think our relationship has certainly gotten a lot closer with me being a vice captain the last couple teams and sitting there and having very lengthy conversations with him about things, not just the pairings but just about things in general".

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