1. Better Head-to-Head
Until 2007, theirs was a rivalry in name only, as Tiger treated Phil the way a hammer treats a nail. Ever since, though, Lefty has administered a pounding of his own, mounting an 8-5-1 head-to-head record. Over that time, Phil’s a perfect 5-0 in their final round match-ups, with a cumulative 19-stroke edge.
2. Better Durability
Bad back. Bum knee. Broken leg. In recent years, Tiger has worn down like an old jalopy, missing six majors — and counting — due to injury. Phil has skipped just one (the 2009 British Open) and that was to be with his ailing wife, Amy. He’s five years Tiger’s senior and not without health issues, but look who’s faring better in the fight with Father Time.
3. Better Hair
Male-pattern baldness? That’s Tiger’s problem. Phil’s condition is male-pattern boldness, a penchant for risk-taking that transforms him into a human highlight reel.
4. Better Tipper
It’s hard to say who has it worse: a reporter trying to ply Woods for a quote, or a valet trying to work him for a tip. As ESPN’s Rick Reilly puts it: “You need a court order to get Tiger’s wallet open.” Then there’s Phil, who, Reilly says, will give a little girl $100 for a 50-cent cup of lemonade and tell her to keep the change.
5. Better Instructor
Nothing against Sean Foley and his talk of “fascial chains” and “kinesthetic submodalities.” But if you want to get an earful from the game’s top guru, you do what Phil did and hook up with Butch Harmon. You know, that guy who Tiger worked with when he was at his best.
6. Better Quote
If you had a nickel for everything of substance Woods has ever said in public, you might have enough coin to mark your ball. Next to him, Phil comes off as a poet laureate: reflective, insightful, and refreshingly generous with his thoughts and words.
7. Better Mentor
Once seen as cocky and aloof, Phil has morphed into a mother hen, with a gaggle of hatchlings under his wing, including Keegan Bradley and Jordan Spieth. He’s the partner every Ryder Cup rookie wants. Tiger is pretty nurturing, too, if you thrive on cold shoulders and icy stares.
8. Better Fan Relations
Yeah, his smile often looks slapped-on, and his thumbs-up is as nerdy as a Star Trek convention. But no one goes to greater lengths to please the crowds than Phil. Tiger, by contrast, lives by Machiavelli’s mantra: better to be feared than loved.
9. Better Caddie Partnership
Fluff. Stevie. And now, Joe LaCava. While Tiger is on his third caddie marriage, Phil been with one man (Jim “Bones” Mackay) for 22 years — an enduring alliance in an age of fleeting loyalty.
10. Better Taste in Mansions
Tiger’s Florida home, a $60 million Jupiter Island pied-a-terre that boasts a running track, a four-hole golf course and a glassed-in elevator with ocean views, speaks to a garish design aesthetic. Nothing like Phil’s tasteful Rancho Santa Fe crash pad, which has a putting course, sure, and a driving range, too, but was listed last summer at a modest asking price of $6.9 million.