Lefty and Tiger; is a rivalry born?
Phil Mickelson has, perhaps, as much talent as Tiger Woods. He is the only golfer in the world that you can say that about.
Now, perhaps, he has, or is developing, the mental strength to be able to compete on Tiger’s level. After the second round of the Deutsche Bank Classic (Tiger and Phil had been paired together in the first two rounds), Phil revealed that his new coach (Tiger’s old coach) had taught him some of Tiger’s tricks. Here is what he had to say after that second round:
“In the past I haven’t played that well with Tiger. He (Harmon) told me a couple of things he (Woods) likes to do and I kinda was watching for it. And I chuckled throughout the round when I’d pick up on it. Working with Butch has really helped me understand how to play my best golf when I play in the same group with Tiger and I hope I have a chance to do that on Monday.”
Phil got his wish; and then some. They were paired together on Monday’s final round and Phil outplayed Tiger. That included withstanding a classic ‘Tiger charge’, when after being down 5 with seven holes to play, Tiger made up three shots in four holes and then hit a beautiful tee shot on the par-3, 16th hole, to 10 feet. Phil proceeded to hit an even better tee shot to four feet. The charge was repelled.
Whether this will carry over to truly become the rivalry that we have all been waiting for, remains to be seen. It certainly has all the ingredients to be delicious. They positively do not like each other. They are on a level playing field with talent. They are close enough in age. And now, perhaps, Phil is armed with the mental certainty, that he; can.
Let the games begin.