The speculation began before Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were even selected as captain’s picks for the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team. Would we see the two legendary veterans team up for a match at Le Golf National? Probably not, according to U.S. captain Jim Furyk.
Facing reporters on Wednesday in his pre-Ryder Cup press conference, Furyk said a Tiger-Phil pairing this week was “probably not too likely,” but still left a door open to the possibility.
“I guess nothing’s out of the realm. They did play some golf yesterday. I think they both mentioned it would be a lot better pairing than it was in the past… You know, I won’t ever say it wouldn’t happen, but it’s probably not too likely.”
Why is that in the year 2018 all the talk at the Ryder Cup still centers around Tiger (42 years young) and Phil (48)? Let’s review.
Woods’s comeback campaign in 2018 is well documented. Debut at Hero. Near win at Valspar, and then again at Carnoustie and Bellerive. Once Tiger assured himself and the world that his game was in order, he became a guaranteed pick. Then he won the Tour Championship.
Mickelson was a lock for the team all along, especially after he won the WGC-Mexico Championship in March.
But the only time the two played together at the Ryder Cup, it was a disaster. Tiger and Phil were swept 0-2 when Hal Sutton decided to pair them at the 2004 event. Despite that, captain Jim Furyk fielded relentless questions all year about the potential pairing. The queries gained an added weight when Furyk officially chose Woods and Mickelson for the team earlier this month.
Woods and Mickelson did indeed play a practice round together on Tuesday at Le Golf National. And there is no doubt that the relationship between the two Tour veterans has evolved dramatically in recent years.
Whether they tee it up together or not, one thing is for certain: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be front and center come Friday.