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Phil-Tiger Showdown Is Top Gift for Golf Fans
Take your pick:
A.) Golf is the perfect sport for Sunday afternoon television because you can turn on the television, listen to the announcers drone on, and take a great nap as the drama plays out.
B.) Golf is the perfect sport for Sunday afternoon television because the action is compelling and when you can see two all-time greats like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods battle it out, you have a compelling sporting event.
It's been a long time since Mickelson and Woods have been on top of their games, but the pair served notice at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am that the 2012 golf season may provide some memorable confrontations. The two were paired together on Feb. 12 for the final round, and it turned out to be a rout for Mickelson. Both were chasing Charlie Wi as the final round began, with Woods four strokes behind and Mickelson six strokes back as the round began.
In the early days of this rivalry, it would have been all Woods in this kind of situation. He would have looked Mickelson in the eye and the sound of Lefty's knees knocking together could have been heard over the crowd mic. You knew it would be just a matter of time before Tiger squeezed the life out of Phil and left him for dead somewhere on the back nine.
However, those days are long gone. Mickelson no longer quakes when he has to play with Tiger in the final round. He relishes the opportunity to take on Woods and beat him. When they have met head-to-head in the last five years, Mickelson has gotten the best of Woods by 19 strokes.
In the final round of the Pebble Beach National, Mickelson shot an amazing 64 to take the championship, while Woods collapsed to 75. Mickelson says the sight of Woods gets his juices flowing and he knows he has to play his best against him.
Perhaps, but it seems like Lefty is just being politically correct. Woods has not won an official PGA Tour event since he took the BMW Championship in Chicago in September 2009.
Woods has shown signs that he is ready to mount a comeback, but when he had the opportunity to win on Sunday he fell apart. That means he has much work to do to get back to his once-historic level.
If he can overcome the final-round shakiness that was on display against Mickelson, he may be able to get back in the winner's circle and contend in the majors. But if the sight of Mickelson and the other top players leave Woods a shaky mess, it may be another year of despair for this former icon.
This golf fan is hoping Woods can make it all the way back. While naps on the couch are nice, final-round drama is much better.
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