Now, today, we know better. We have learned to take Tiger at face value and value the golfing public as a group of guys hellbent on making money, winning tournaments and gaining accolades.
And then there's Phil Mickelson, the man that was supposed to rise from the Tiger ash a superstar. Not so much the best golfer in the world, but the man we could all stand behind, hoisting him when he won and backing him when he lost.
This week was supposed to be Phil's shining moment. The family man at heart, Mickelson has worked his entire career to be the number one golfer in the world, and if Earl and Kultida had never conceived a child, Phil would have been there for years. But that is where the two are different.
This week was Phil standing on the final tee at Winged Foot, with a chance to finally take down those demons that have haunted him all his life. At Colonial on Friday, Phil made another very costly double-bogey.
His missed cut in Fort Worth said a lot about where Phil is with his golf game. Always scary when he enters tournaments, he will never, ever, ever be Tiger Woods. No matter the big moment, Tiger always rose to the occasion. Sure, Woods haters can quote the Y.E. Yang PGA Championship as a dropped ball by Tiger, but he still finished second to the man that played better than him.
This week, Phil had an opportunity to be the world's best and couldn't even make it to the weekend. Who knows what happened to Phil, who needed nearly 32 putts both Thursday and Friday, but card it under "opportunities lost" for the lefty.
He will have other chances to overtake Tiger as the top golfer in the game, but for this week, both Tiger (who didn't enter) and Phil (who was the biggest name in the field) went home with the same amount of money. Zilch. I guarantee Lefty was looking for a number just one above zero.
- Tiger Woods