As you have likely heard (several times) by now, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are paired together for the first two rounds of this week’s Players Championship (oh, along with Rickie Fowler, too).
But there’s good reason for the hype. They’ve played together only 35 other times in their PGA Tour careers, and the last time it happened was in 2014. Further enhancing the excitement is the fact that both are playing well and that their 36-hole date comes at a big-time tournament like the Players Championship.
Mickelson was asking during his Tuesday press conference what it’s like preparing for his round with Woods. He, of course, had some fun with the press.
“So, I love that we’re paired together. I think it’s really fun,” Mickelson said. “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? Now, I don’t know if he wants a piece of me, but I just think it will be something that would be really fun for us to do, and I think there would be a lot of interest in it if we just went straight to the final round.”
The Woods-Mickelson-Fowler threesome tees off at 1:52 p.m. ET Thursday and 8:27 a.m. Friday.
“We’ve always had a mutual respect over the years, and I’ve always appreciated what (Tiger’s) done for the game of golf,” Mickelson said. “Fifteen years ago my record against him sucked, and now it’s OK. I’m doing better as time has gone on.”
Later on Tuesday, Woods was asked about Mickelson’s idea of a high-stakes match.
“Not against that,” said Woods, flashing a grin. “We’ll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable.”