So here we go. The first round goes to Mickelson, who carded a five-under 67 to Woods' three-under 69.
Now, Mickelson had a press conference afterward, and he used the words "great" and "excited" about fifty times in a handful of minutes. Still, he came out solid, and that's exactly what you need to do, especially considering how ugly his first tournament was last week in Abu Dhabi.
Woods, for his part, played better than his final total would indicate. Had he gotten putts to drop, he'd be much farther up the leaderboard. But he didn't have a single bogey, and he looked far more comfortable with his new swing than he looked for most, if not all, of 2010. And the way the winds were swirling, the fact that Woods could survive as well as he did was a good sign in itself. Bottom line: he'll win again, and soon. Anybody who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.
"I'm happy with the way I played, absolutely," Woods said in a typically deep press conference. "It could have been a lot better if I took care of the par-5s a little bit more, but obviously I didn't do that. So hopefully on the South course I can take care of the par-5s and put together a little bit better round."
Round 2 begins Friday, and so far, it looks like we'll be seeing both these cats throughout the weekend. Which is exactly how it should be.