Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson at Torrey Pines? It could happen!

The 2011 PGA Tour season didn't officially begin this week, but with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson debuting at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, expect the pace to ramp up a bit.

Now imagine these two golfers, with everyone anxiously awaiting their return, playing head to head on Sunday! It's a stretch but it could happen and did occur with their "dream pairing" at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Six wins at Torrey Pines for Woods (at the Farmers, one win at U.S. Open) with three for Mickelson show that these two golfers are confident that they made the right decision starting their 2011 PGA Tour season at this golf course.


Should Phil have begun with business as usual at the Bob Hope Classic? With two wins at this event, it might have made a more positive impact than his decision to tune-up in Abu Dhabi. contended that Mickelson "lost interest in recent years when the tournament started moving away from its traditional rotation of golf courses," resulting in his overseas trip to Abu Dhabi where he placed in the 37th spot.

Both Tiger and Phil have expectations of winning at Torrey Pines but it seems that priorities have changed a bit in the past few years: the Tour is now taking a back seat to kids and their lives. Will this impact their respective games?

As Woods said in his press conference today, "The determination hasn’t changed, it just needs to be put into a proper perspective. I went down a path I never should have gone, so my priority is to keep my life in proper balance.”

Is Tiger or Phil more likely to succeed this week at Torrey Pines?
Devil Ball Golf editor Jay Busbee believes that "Tiger seems to be closer to putting it together than Phil."
Fellow writer Shane Bacon concurred adding, "If one of these two are winning this thing, it's Tiger. He's won the last four times he's played in this event, and took down that U.S. Open you might remember on one leg."

First round playing partner Rocco Mediate didn't say whether he felt Tiger Woods could win this week (memories of that 2008 U.S. Open?) but he does believe that Woods could come away with at least four wins this 2011 PGA Tour season.
A third possibility is that both Tiger and Phil struggle through another 2010 stretch and one of the young guns takes center stage. The wrath of Tiger Woods has eased on his playing partners since his winless season and Mickelson never really made anyone feel nervous on the golf course.

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1 comment:

Allen said...

Great points. I personally believe that Tiger selected this event to start out the season for a couple of reasons. First, and foremost is the fact that he has had tremendous success here. Secondly, this course can be labeled as somewhat of a "home" course for him as he has played here numerous times throughout his golfing life. Lastly, given the length of his off season and good health this event provides a true test to the progression of his game to determine where he is coming into the season. Personally, I also think that he will win several times this year. During his interview yesterday, I detected the "focus" of old and something else that I can't say that I have seen in him before...a inner peace. Couple all these things with the fire of competition...well lets just see.