In a devilish twist, the two were paired for the final round of the Masters on Sunday, two days after a tiff over Mickelson's spikes. Mickelson said afterward the two had 'a great time,' but it sure didn't look like it.
They shook hands at the start and finish of their rounds, but that was about the extent of their interaction. They often stood on opposite sides of the tee box, not even looking at each other. They never walked together, usually separated by 20 or 30 yards. They didn't appear to say much, if anything.
Singles paired up on the local muni seem closer than these two.
'We had a great time,' the defending champion insisted. 'We laughed. We giggled. We had a fun day.'
'There was nothing like that,' Mickelson said when pressed. 'I don't know where you guys come up with that.'
Well, their confrontation in the champions locker room Friday might have something to do with it. Singh, the 2000 winner, complained to rules officials on the 12th green that Mickelson's metal spikes were too long.
Officials twice checked Mickelson's shoes, and no problems were found. But when the two were in the locker room during a rain delay, Mickelson heard Singh talking about it, and the two argued.
'It's not like you guys are saying it was. We had a conversation,' Mickelson said, getting testy. 'That's ridiculous to even bring it up.'
NOT SO EASY:
The only place Ernie Els was lurking Sunday was at the back of the pack.
A favorite when the Masters began, Els instead had one of his worst showings at Augusta National. He shot a 10-over 298 and finished 47th out of 50 golfers. He didn't break par in any of his rounds.
'It wasn't good, was it?' the Big Easy said. 'It just wasn't good. My game wasn't there and that's that. We'll move on.'
Though Els had the flu after The Players Championship, he refused to blame illness.
'I felt good,' he said. 'I felt my practice rounds were good.'
Then the tournament started. Every day seemed to bring a new problem with his game. One day it was putting. Another day it was driving. And yet another day it was his iron game.
'My game just wasn't there,' he said. 'One of those weeks.'
But Els doesn't usually have those kind of weeks. Not at the Masters. Though he's still looking for his first green jacket, the three-time major champion always seems to be in contention. He had finished out of the top 20 only once in the previous nine years and was sixth or better the last five years.
He was runner-up twice in that span, by a shot to Phil Mickelson last year after missing birdie putts on the final two holes and by three shots to Vijay Singh in 2000.
'I've got to work on my game, get my game in better shape,' Els said. 'And then I'll start looking at the U.S. Open.'
When Trevor Immelman's caddie tells him to change clubs, he's not about to argue.
The South African aced the par-3 16th hole Sunday after switching clubs at caddie Neil Wallace's suggestion. Immelman wanted to hit an 8-iron, but Wallace told him to go with a 7-iron.
The ball hit the right side of the green and rolled into the cup for a hole in one. Immelman screamed and jumped in the air when he saw the ball drop, then swung his right fist in a roundhouse punch.
'I'd like to look at the replay,' he said. 'Probably jumped 10 feet in the air.'
It was the second ace of his career, and he has Wallace to thank for the other one, too. When he made one at the Dutch Open in 2003, he switched clubs at Wallace's suggestion.
'That's why I pay him so much,' Immelman said, smiling.
The ace wasn't Immelman's only highlight. He finished in a tie for fifth at 4-under 284, his best showing in three trips to the Masters. It's also his best finish as a pro in the United States.
'It's a tremendous boost for my career,' he said. 'I proved to myself I can compete with the best players in the world, on one of the hardest courses in the world.'
BACK TO SCHOOL:
Luke List wants to get back to the Masters someday. For now, he's got school to finish.
Starting with a 9 a.m. class Monday.
'Women's Studies,' the Vanderbilt sophomore said after his final round Sunday. 'It's men and women in American society. It's a funny class. A couple of my buddies are taking it with me.'
If List has his way, he won't need the class - or any other - after he graduates. One of two amateurs to make the cut, List shot a 6-over 294 for the tournament, leaving him in a tie for 33rd.
Not a terrific score, but he finished ahead of former champion Fred Couples (295) and Ernie Els (298). And he had a couple of good days, shooting a 3-under 69 in the second round and closing with a 70.
'From the moment I got here, every round I played, every hole I played, the more I wanted to get back here,' said List, who plans to finish his last two years at Vanderbilt. 'I think I can be out here someday. This is something I want to do for a living.'
Thomas Bjorn had a dismal final round, shooting a 9-over 81 and finishing at 2-over. He dropped from third all the way down to a tie for 25th. ... Ryan Moore was the low amateur, shooting a 1-under 287. He finished tied for 13th, earning him another trip to the Masters next year. ... Retief Goosen's 5-under 67 was the low round Sunday.
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