Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Lefty stoked to be teeing it up with Tiger at PLAYERS

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will tee it up together at TPC Sawgrass Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will tee it up together at TPC Sawgrass. Getty Images
Eugene Bates | 09 May, 2018, 00:51

Former world number one Jason Day has a burning ambition to get back to the top of the rankings and he made a huge leap with a two-stroke victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina on Sunday.

Woods was such a driven player in his prime - a stretch of 15 years - that his singular focus on winning tournaments - winning majors - created a certain distance for many. It will be the first time Mickelson and Woods have been paired together since the 2014 PGA Championship, where Woods missed the cut and Mickelson finished second to Rory McIlroy by one stroke.

The 42-year-old said: "Twelve months ago if you would have said: 'You're going to be playing The Players and you're going to have had a chance to win a couple of events, ' I would have said: 'You've got to be kidding me; I can barely walk.' I'm just so thankful to be able to have this opportunity again because I didn't know if I would ever have". "Now, I don't know if he wants a piece of me, but I just think it would 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". "I wouldn't say he can't, but it's going to be very hard for him at his age and with everything he's been through".

Mickelson called it the greatest golf that "has ever been played". Woods was asked about Mickelson, who had thrown shade his way earlier in the day.

And this week is the PGA Tour's signature event, the Players Championship at TPC-Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. "Every interview we hear he talks about his speed and how far he's driving compared to the young guys, but I think if he gets off of that and just gets back to putting the ball in play with the driver and accept whatever distance it is, because he still hits a longway, I think he would play more consistently". Woods told of Mickelson sending nothing but encouraging texts when Woods was struggling with his chipping in early 2015 as his back was still ailing. After a final-day 74, his first birdie-free round in a non-major in nearly four years, he told CBS Sports his putter was his Achilles heel.

"I'm close", said Woods.

And to do that, he may just need to stop blasting and start trying a more tender approach to the game.

"I didn't putt well again", Woods said of his performance Sunday (via golf.com). You can't get away with hitting it poorly. That theme took on more significance when the two - twice - paired horribly at the 2004 Ryder Cup. As if that weren't enough star power, the veteran golfers, with 19 major titles between them, will be joined by Rickie Fowler, who has yet to win a major but is ranked sixth in the world and will be in search of his second Players title.

"I was fighting demons out there because when you're not hitting it good, it just feels like the life is getting sucked out of you", he said.

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