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Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods left frustrated at Quail Hollow

09 May 2018
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods left frustrated at Quail Hollow

As you have likely heard (several times) by now, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are paired together for the first two rounds of this week's Players Championship (oh, along with Rickie Fowler, too).

"I don't think anybody today who wasn't there to witness it, and I don't think anybody before, will ever see that level of play again, " Mickelson said Tuesday, according to ESPN.

"I'm hitting the ball well enough to contend, to win this golf tournament", he said. "You know, I think that it will be fun for all of us". I look at 2000 as being the benchmark, at the US Open as being the greatest golf I've ever witnessed and I believe ever has been played. Mickelson, 47, won his 43rd PGA Tour title earlier this year at the WGC-Mexico Championship, his first win in more than four years. After a winless 2017 on the PGA Tour, the Australian, who was ranked No. 1 in the world for a bit back in 2015, has now won twice this season, claiming a two-shot victory at Quail Hollow.

Woods will be taking part in The Players' Championship next week.

"It was 12 years between wins here, and so, as y'all know, just looking at my record, I didn't play this place well". I felt like it handcuffed me", admitted McIlroy of his first impressions of Sawgrass, explaining: "I've learnt to take it for what it is, a very positional golf course. That may seem like odd advice for a man with 79 PGA Tour wins and 14 Major successes, but according to his former coach Butch Harman, it may be the crucial change that will enable the transition from "Tiger Hype" to "Tiger Wins". Mickelson and Woods have been in the same group only once before at Sawgrass, in 2001. The 2004 version featured John Daly and Mickelson against Woods and Hank Kuehne. I hated it the first time.

"I've learnt to love it, to like it".

"The guys today look back and they say, 'Come on, how much better could he have been?' and so forth". "I think he's still enamoured with distance with the driver, if he were to back off the speed and not try to hit it so far, just try and put it in play, he would have a better chance of winning". While you'd think the third person in the group would be impacted by the circus around them, that hasn't been the case.

"I got shut out", Woods said of the absence of birdies in a round that included 15 pars and three bogeys.

Fowler said "I've got the best seat in the house" for Woods-Mickelson. In the 35 times the duo has been paired together in an official Tour event, Woods won 10 of their first 18 head-to-head duels and they tied three times.

When asked what that would be, Woods added: "We'll find out".