Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson battle was bonus game at the Masters
If you believe Tiger Woods, what we saw unfold for the better part of four hours on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club wasn’t a title fight between Woods and Phil Mickelson, even though at one point commentator Nick Faldo compared it to Frazier-Ali.
Great golf? Yes. But it really wasn’t a match between the two, but rather a race to get back into the tournament.
As Woods said after his 68 got him to 8-under, his goal was to post 11-under, then sit back and see what happens. He still wanted to win the Masters. And his only chance would have been to post a great number and see if Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell, Angel Cabrera and the lot would fold under pressure.
As impressive as Woods’ run was, Mickelson, though, had the realistic shot after shooting 30 on the front. His undoing really came at 12, when he made double bogey. Then he missed a short eagle putt on 15 and short birdie putt on 17. Make those two putts and par 12, and he’s in the clubhouse at 13-under, and that might have had a chance.
Mickelson knew he had to shoot under par on the back nine to have a chance, that 37 would not cut it, even though he was the leader in the clubhouse.
Still, in what other sport could you be so intrigued by a battle that didn’t win an event? Woods and Mickelson provided so much drama that the real finish of this event had to be somewhat anti-climatic, no matter how good it is.
Part of it, of course, is the star quality of the players. But more than that, Woods and Mickelson pull off unbelievable shots. Mickelson’s hook shot from around the trees to knock it stiff on the seventh had me applauding in my own living room. Woods’ eagle on No. 8 20 minutes later served notice that he would be in the fray as well.
If only they could have finished strong.
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