Tiger Woods responds to Phil Mickelson's 'high-stake, winner-take-all' challenge

Kristopher Nichols
May 9, 2018

Of course Day also had to deal with a lot of other issues in the previous year and a half, including his mother's battle with cancer, a miscarriage suffered by his wife, Ellie, and a nagging back injury. 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.

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

"When I was chipping so poorly - my nerve in my back was not so good and I was flinching a lot - he offered to help me out with technique, and also talk about the philosophy".

"Fifteen years ago my record against him sucked, " Mickelson said. I know they tried that first experiment in 2008 - 1, 2, 3, we're out together [at the U.S. Open, where they were grouped according to the world rankings] - and that was a blast for both of us.

Mickelson mentioned in a magazine interview going into the 2003 season that Woods used "inferior" equipment.

"I love that we're paired together", Mickelson said on Tuesday. Others say that Tiger also viewed Mickelson as the biggest threat to his throne and that only fueled the animus.

Mickelson, 47, won the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in March, ending a almost five-year drought. "We haven't been paired together in years, and as I look at the cover of the newspaper and the pairing is on there and the excitement that's been going on around here, it gets me thinking: Why don't we just bypass all the ancillary stuff of a tournament and just go head-to-head and just have kind of a high-stake, winner-take-all match?" You just didn't know it would already be fun on Tuesday. 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.

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"I'm just not that comfortable with anything right now". "Yeah, I'll definitely-I play early Thursday, so I'll probably be in the couch in my hotel room, watching that one in the afternoon". In their most recent pairing, in the first two rounds of the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla, Mickelson was a dozen strokes better.

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

Mickelson won in 2007, beating Sergio Garcia. To hold all those events concurrently was special.

Yet Fowler - the highest ranked player out of the three - hopes to make sure he is the one in the spotlight at the end of the tournament. The same goes for Spieth and Thomas.

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

Phil Mickelson: Another "close, but" at Quail Hollow. While you'd think the third person in the group would be impacted by the circus around them, that hasn't been the case.

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