Tiger vs. Phil: Who has played better when they're paired together? The answer might surprise you

Tiger vs. Phil: Who has played better when they’re paired together? The answer might surprise you

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are grouped together (along with Rickie Fowler) in the first two rounds of next week’s Players Championship, adding another wrinkle to their storied rivalry.

It will mark the first time Woods and Mickelson have been grouped together in a Tour event since the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla. (We’re not counting their much-ballyhooed practice round together at the Masters in April.)

While they aren’t playing against each other in a match-play format, there’s still some noteworthy nuggets when comparing their head-to-head stroke-play battles over the years.

The main takeaway? The scoring battle is closer than you might think.

According to the PGA Tour, in the 35 times Woods and Mickelson have played together, whether in a pairing or threesome, Woods holds the all-time edge over Mickelson 16-15-4. Woods also has the better scoring average; his 69.60 edges Mickelson’s 69.91.

Mickelson has topped Woods in three of the last four meetings, which were the opening two rounds of the 2014 PGA and 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship.

Nine of their matchups have been in the final round. The last came at the 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, when Mickelson shot an eight-under 64 to dust Woods by 11 en route to winning the tournament. The first time they played together in a PGA Tour event? That came at the 1997 NEC World Series of Golf. They both shot 72.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the number of times Mickelson and Woods have played together.