It’s news when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson share a practice round together. It’s even bigger news when that practice round happens the day before the start of The Masters golf tournament. There are 19 major titles between two of the greatest golfers of our generation. With Mickelson winning earlier this year and Woods making an improbable comeback look easy, it would be something if these two PGA Tour titans were on the leaderboard on the final day from Augusta National.
While everyone has there favorite to win The Masters, there is no doubt Woods will look to add No. 15 in his trophy case after coming up short at Bay Hill two weeks ago. Many have Woods in the thick of things, with some believing he can win the tournament and erase doubts that have continued to dog him due to multiple injuries that have gutting his game.
One in particular, Claude Harmon, III thinks this could be the week Woods puts it all together. Per Eamon Lynch of Golf Week, CHIII has three players in the field he works with – Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walker in the field this week. With Johnson, the No. 1 player in world not generating the same kind of play he did in 2017, there is a feeling he comes into this week as an underdog, which might play into Johnson’s game.
“It’s great that he’s coming in as the No. 1-ranked player in the world under the radar,” Harmon III said. “People don’t think he’s on the same form as he was last year, but his game’s starting to round into shape. He’s hopefully going to be one of the guys Sunday afternoon who’s in the mix with nine holes to go.”
Whether it is Johnson or Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia or a host of other top performers, this week’s show will undoubtedly be all about Woods and Mickelson – and everyone else.
Harmon III said he’ll be shocked if Mickelson doesn’t have a chance to win a fifth green jacket this weekend.
“Everybody says when Phil comes here he has a reverence for this place, no matter how he’s playing, no matter what age he is,” he said. “He’s won three of these things. Tiger has won four. Other than Jack Nicklaus, who alive has better vibes around this place? Tiger loves everything about this place.”
Then there is Woods, who is a different player than he once was. A different swing. A different stance. A different set of circumstances. The winner of 79 PGA titles is enjoying the game he helped revitalize and put on the map the past two decades.
It has been 13 years since Woods donned a green jacket at The Masters. The thought is this is old hat, where memory kicks in and Woods remembers every swing, every stroke on the course.
“There are few people who know what it takes to win around here the way that he does. Sometimes it’s less about what you do than what other people do,” Harmon said. “Danny Willett is a great example. He put himself in position and the right things happened. Make pars and birdies on the right holes and then other guys don’t do what you expect them to do. Here you can just hang around and it can be a situation where you’re the last man standing. Everyone else gets wobbly. The great ones keep hanging around.”
If Woods can continue to play with the same kind of mental focus and use the skills he has re-established this season, fans in attendance at The Masters, which is supposed to be record breaking, could see history once again.
Unless Mickelson or someone else has something to say about it.