Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson Paired Together at 2018 Players Championship

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson Paired Together at 2018 Players Championship

"He offered numerous times to help me out with technique and just talk about it, " Woods said. "I'm like, 'are you serious?' I got a chance to know him by him coming over to the house, going out to dinners, just hanging out, and he's just a great kid". Yes, Woods was good. Here's how the 42-year-old played. "I just can't physically do it". Woods, meanwhile, had spent a year overhauling his swing with Hank Haney and hadn't won a major since the 2002 U.S. Open.

Tiger Woods had a rare birdie-free round to finish among the also-rans at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina on Sunday.

"I played the back nine today and it's absolutely ideal", he said. Mickelson reasoned. "Now, I don't know if he wants a piece of me, but I just think it would be something that would be really fun for us to do".

Woods has two Players victories to his name, the last in 2013, and is enjoying playing a full schedule for the first time since a fourth back surgery.

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.

"Oh, yeah", Justin Thomas said.

When Woods was asked whether he'd be up for Mickelson's winner-take-all proposition, he said, "I'm definitely not against that at all".

Just how good was Woods? Others say that Tiger also viewed Mickelson as the biggest threat to his throne and that only fueled the animus. He will be in the final group for the first time in almost four years as he tries to win for the first time since a back injury two years ago. A month later he won the Open Championship by eight, becoming the youngest to complete the career Grand Slam at 24.

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"Fifteen years ago my record against him sucked, " Mickelson said.

"You have to hit the ball well at TPC, you can't get away with hitting it poorly".

Woods sometimes allows his thoughts to drift to that golden era.

Where there once was some jealousy and tension between Woods and Mickelson when Woods was breaking opposing players' wills on a weekly basis with his sheer dominance, there now is mutual respect and friendship, built and fostered during the recent Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup competitions, when Woods served as an assistant captain because of his back injuries. To hold all those events concurrently was special. "If he gets his driving sorted out, I believe he's a factor in every tournament that he plays in".

Not surprisingly, his legend follows him even today. Mickelson took The Players in 2007, although some young stars on the Tour - such as Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth - have not won the event yet.

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

In fact, Mickelson is so excited that he told reporters that instead of going through the tournament, he'd prefer to just go head-to-head with Woods.

"It's not so bad if you miss the greens if you miss them in the correct spots".

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