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nsucurrent.com May 24, 2018


He's a different Tiger Woods at The Players this year

09 May 2018, 12:48 | Nina Perez

Tiger Tracker Tiger Woods still trying to make birdie Sunday at Wells Fargo Getty Images

Tiger Tracker Tiger Woods still trying to make birdie Sunday at Wells Fargo			Getty Images

Not at the biggest non-major of the year, and particularly not playing alongside Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson.

Woods has two Players victories to his name, the last in 2013, and is enjoying playing a full schedule for the first time since a fourth back surgery.

However, fans aren't the only ones looking forward to Thursday's opening round: "We don't get to do it very often", Woods said, according to ESPN's Bob Harig. "Now, I don't know if he wants a piece of me, but I just think it would be something that would be really fun for us to do, and i think there would be a lot of interest in it if we just went straight to the final round".

"It sucked to have to play against him".

Woods and Mickelson haven't been in the same group at the event in 17 years or at any PGA Tour event in almost four years. And I said, yeah, you and I have the same philosophy in how we approach chipping and how we do it. After a winless 2017 on the PGA Tour, the Australian, who was ranked No. 1 in the world for a bit back in 2015, has now won twice this season, claiming a two-shot victory at Quail Hollow.

But if Mickelson seemed a tad tongue-in-cheek regarding the big show, it likely had something to do with his long and complicated history with Woods. "I'm definitely not against that", Woods said.




This week's tournament, which begins Thursday at PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is the last Players Championship to be contested in May.

With The Players - the flagship tournament of the PGA Tour - next up for McIlroy, the journey on to Jacksonville will see him working over the next few days. Although Woods' accomplishments are the stuff of legend, he and Mickelson crossed paths rarely in those prime years.

Woods closed with a 74 to finish at two-over-par 286 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, 14 strokes behind victor Jason Day. "He's 47, I believe, and I'm 42, and we have had a great 20 year battle, hopefully we'll have a few more, but we understand where we are in the game now versus where we were in our early 20s, battling for who is going to be No. 1, and that was then and certainly this is now".

Perhaps more than any other player, Mickelson can appreciate what Woods accomplished during his prime. You can't get away with hitting it poorly.

Their most famous pairing was when they were partners in the 2004 Ryder Cup, and that didn't end all that well.

Shane Lowry had three birdies and a lone bogey - on the 15th, after driving into a fairway bunker - to close with a 69 for 284, level par, which gave him a tied-35th finish as he moves on to The Players at Sawgrass. "You know, I think what M.J. did, getting to the Finals and dominating the league like he did, he did it in a different way than LeBron is doing it, just because of the nature of their body, the build and their game and their mental makeup".



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