Home / Sports / Tiger Woods says Phil Mickelson has ‘always pushed’ him to play better

Tiger Woods says Phil Mickelson has ‘always pushed’ him to play better

tiger woods says phil mickelson has always pushed him to play better - Tiger Woods says Phil Mickelson has ‘always pushed’ him to play better
Tiger Woods tees off as Phil Mickelson watches throughout “The Fit” in November. (John Locher)

February 14 at 1:18 AM

It could seem that the lovefest we noticed between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson main as much as their head-to-head showdown in November is continuous into 2019. Forward of the Genesis Open in Los Angeles, during which each are set to compete, the pair of golfing titans and longtime competitors introduced extra compliments to one another.

On Wednesday, it used to be most commonly Woods gushing over Mickelson, who’s coming off a win on the Pebble Seashore Professional-Am and, at age 48, is swinging the membership in addition to ever. Of Mickelson’s good fortune during the last two-plus many years, Woods instructed newshounds (by means of pgatour.com), “It has at all times driven me.”

“My complete occupation, Phil will most probably attest to this, we’ve at all times seemed on the board to determine the place one some other’s at,” he added. “So we’ve at all times had that form of delight in competing towards one some other.”

The more youthful, decidedly extra boastful Woods would possibly no longer have made such an admission and, in truth, hardly mentioned a lot of anything else in regards to the PGA Excursion’s different crowd favourite, who prefer to let his awesome play — he had received 8 majors sooner than the older Mickelson after all broke thru on the 2004 Masters — do the speaking. For his section, Mickelson made headlines in 2003 for claiming that Woods used to be taking part in with “inferior apparatus” and “hates that I will be able to fly it previous him now,” and so they infamously made for a disastrous pairing on the 2004 Ryder Cup.

On the other hand, after suffering mightily to return again from chronic again issues, in addition to some much-noted private problems, sooner than creating a stirring go back final yr, the 42-year-old Woods has been extra beneficiant along with his reward for combatants and open about his personal shortcomings. Actually, Woods mentioned Wednesday that he took inspiration from Mickelson’s victory in February 2018 on the Global Golfing Championship tournament in Mexico Town, the left-handed participant’s first win for the reason that 2013 British Open.

“To look what he did final yr in Mexico at 47 years outdated gave me self assurance that I may just someway do it final yr,” Woods mentioned, “and I used to be in a position to after all finish my season with a win.”

That win got here in exceptional style, no less than visually, as Woods led a swarm of jubilant lovers up the 18th fairway Atlanta’s East Lake Golfing Membership sooner than sinking the general putt that earned him the Excursion Championship in September. As with Mickelson, the victory used to be Woods’s first since 2013, however whilst he constructed as much as that second over the process 2018, together with a sixth-place end on the British Open and a second-place end on the PGA Championship, Mickelson had only one top-10 end after his win and used to be a non-factor in all 4 majors.

On the other hand, beginning with a win of their showdown, although “The Fit” used to be a desultory affair for probably the most section, Mickelson has been on a mini-tear, including a second-place appearing at January’s Wilderness Vintage to his three-shot victory at Pebble. Mickelson instructed newshounds at Riviera Nation Membership, web site of the Genesis, that months of coaching in gyms and examining biometric swing research had helped him give a boost to his placing and build up his clubhead pace.

Woods made it transparent he spotted, lauding Mickelson for his “bizarre” good fortune at making improvements to his recreation. “Believe me, I acknowledge this. It’s no longer simple to select up clubhead pace, which he has performed as he’s gotten older,” Woods mentioned (by means of ESPN).

“That’s what’s allowed him to stick out right here with a few of these longer guys; he’s been in a position to hit the ball farther,” the 14-time primary winner endured. ” … He’s made extra putts than I feel I’ve noticed in years within the final yr and a part. It’s probably the most the explanation why he’s received two giant occasions.”

Woods extensively utilized the phrase “bizarre” to explain Mickelson’s talent to be “constant for the duration of time” that he has over 27 years and 44 wins on Excursion. “He’s been out right here since [1992] and made each unmarried staff [Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup] since ’94. He’s received [five] primary championships; he’s received occasions,” Woods mentioned.

“He’s simply been so constant, and that’s the toughest factor to do. Every considered one of us have sufficient ability to have little sizzling runs out right here, however to maintain it for 20 years like he has.”

Mickelson has definitely proven some consistency at Riviera, the place has received two times and two times completed moment in playoffs, however the similar can’t be mentioned for Woods. None of his 80 PGA wins, moment handiest to Sam Snead’s 82, have come on the Excursion tournament positioned closest to the place Woods grew up in Southern California, and he mentioned Wednesday that he had “a love-hate courting” with the route.

“I loved taking part in up right here when I used to be younger with my dad,” mentioned Woods (by means of the AP), who started internet hosting the Genesis along with his TGR Basis in 2017. “For some reason why, I’ve handiest performed neatly right here one time within the match [in 1999].”

To Mickelson, although, each he and his fellow 40-something have as excellent a shot as any one at hoisting the trophy come Sunday. “Even lately, if I play my perfect, if Tiger performs his perfect,” he mentioned on Monday (by means of the Golfing Channel), “it’s excellent sufficient to win on any week.”

“I simply suppose that each myself and Tiger are going to have a in point of fact, in point of fact excellent yr this yr,” Mickelson added.

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