DORAL, Fla. – It was just seven months ago that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were paired together in a PGA Tour event in the U.S., but seeing the duo in the same group, along with U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, on Thursday is the highlight of the week so far at Doral.
Mickelson and Woods were paired together in the final round of the BMW Championship at Cog Hill, where Woods has had tremendous success. But that Sunday, Mickelson shot a smooth 67 and bested Woods by three shots, a trend that has been prevalent dating to the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship.
That Sunday in Chicago was the 25th time the two had teed it up as competitors. The head-to-head record, if you’re interested in such things: Woods leads, 11-10-4. But since 2007, Mickelson is 5-1-1 against Woods.
Mickelson and Woods played together in the final round of the 2009 Masters, the last major in which they have been paired together. At the time, they were seven shots off the lead of Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry and tied for 10th. Mickelson made six birdies on the front nine that Sunday, turned at 30 and got to 10 under. He finished with 67, one better than Woods, and finished fifth. Woods also made a final-round run with four birdies and an eagle over the first 16 holes before bogeying the final two to tie for sixth.
As for this week, Woods and Mickelson have been paired together at Doral only two other times: In the final round in 2005, when Woods shot 66 to Mickelson’s 69; and in the third round in 2006, when Tiger again got the best of Lefty, 68-72.
In the third round of the 2000 WGC-NEC Invitational, they were paired together for the only time in a WGC event, with Woods besting Mickelson, 67-69.
When the two teed it up on that Sunday at Augusta, Woods was the reigning World No. 1 and Mickelson No. 2, after victories earlier that year at Northern Trust and the WGC-CA Championship at Doral.
Now Woods and Mickelson are Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, with a bevy of Europeans above them, including McDowell, the third of the group.
Woods has been paired with McDowell only one time on the PGA Tour, which happened in the third round of the 2009 Masters. Woods won that matchup, but surely everyone remembers the final round and playoff at the Chevron World Challenge, where McDowell beat Woods, 69-73.