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

For the first time since 2001, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be grouped together at the Players Championship and will be joined by Rickie Fowler at the PGA Tour's signature event this week.

We don't get to do it very often.

"First of all, big picture", Woods said as his smile widened. "I think there would be a lot of interest in it if we just went straight to the final round".

Tiger Woods during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club. It seems many fans would be fine bypassing the formalities of 72 holes of stroke play, and Woods didn't seem averse to the idea.

"It sucked to have to play against him". "And now it's OK".

One year they were in the locker room at the Byron Nelson Classic when Mickelson challenged Woods to anything at their disposal. Another insider told of an off-color joke about Mickelson that Woods had gotten caught telling.

Woods reached out to Mickelson when his wife, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The 14-time major champion Woods says Day has developed the ability to win without his best stuff during two US PGA Tour victories this year, which have propelled the Australian seven spots up the rankings to No.7. "You know, there was a stretch there of a number of years that it was so impressive that it was hard to imagine that it was actually happening, that he was hitting some of the shots that he was hitting and playing that well".

"Both are late in their careers and they've softened", says Haney. We have always looked at each other and said, where is he on the board.

"I've got the best seat in the house, " Fowler said. Play starts on Thursday.

Woods has been away from THE PLAYERS for several years and qualified for the event based on his five-year exemption from winning the 2013 event.

"I love it. I mean, I love the chance. we're going to have a lot of fun", Mickelson said. "It was the most remarkable golf in the history of the game, and I think unrepeatable". I hated it the first time.

"I look at 2000 as being kind of the benchmark at the U.S. Open as being the greatest golf I've ever witnessed, and I believe ever has been played". And it (stunk) to have to play against him. Mickelson had a two-stroke lead going into the last day but Woods shot 66 to Mickelson's 69 to win by one.

Before that, we will get the privilege of watching both men striding side by side at Sawgrass tomorrow and Friday, at a time in life where they retain enough of the magic to suggest there are one or two golden days still ahead.

Additionally, when asked about Mickelson's joke about how Woods might be too scared to take him on, Woods had a comeback ready.

  • Rosalie Stanley