Why are some people so invested in “The Match”?
Well of course the names Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson speak for themselves. But there’s another component: It doesn’t seem like we’ve seen them play head-to-head in high-stakes moments that often.
For the two preeminent players of their generation, Woods and Mickelson have appeared to post an awful lot of their wins without the other in the picture battling at them. That may be true, but that’s golf’s depth and unpredictability for you.
And whatever the perception, there have been plenty of tense and exciting Tiger and Phil battles over the years. Here’s a list of the best showdowns (based on a combination of entertainment value, drama and what was at stake) between the two we’ve seen:
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12. 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Woods often got the better of Mickelson in showdowns, and even when Lefty would defeat his counterpart head-to-head it was a battle to do so.
This was the exception. Mickelson began the final round six shots back of Charlie Wi and Woods was four behind. Mickelson and Woods were paired together and Lefty went on a tear, playing his first six holes in 5 under to take the lead.
From there, it was pretty much over. There was a moment on the par-3 12th where Woods holed a greenside bunker shot for birdie to potentially get a two-shot swing and move within three. But Mickelson drained a 30-footer for par on top of him. Lefty would spend the remainder of the round fighting off others, firing a stunning 8-under 64 for a two-shot win. Woods, meanwhile, struggled to a 3-over 75 and a tie for 15th.
Maybe not a whole lot of drama here, but it was a rare Woods beatdown by Mickelson. It was an important moment and plenty entertaining.