Stars Aligning Woods Mickelson to Go Head-to-Head


PGA Tour (75x100)Multiple sources have confirmed that, unless things change, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will play in the same three events in the run-up to The Masters April 5-8.
Both have committed to next weeks WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson. The other two happy winners of the Tiger-Phil pre-Masters Derby appear to be the Arnold Palmer Invitational (Bay Hill) presented by MasterCard March 15-18 and the WGC-CA Championship (Doral) the following week.
Phils schedule is set in cement, said a Mickelson source. But its wet cement.
Translated, that means tournament directors can never be sure about a player until he officially commits the Friday before their event.
But, Bay Hill tournament director Scott Wellington told Golf Channel he has talked with Mickelson and indications are that Mickelson will play there. It would be his first appearance in Palmers event since 2002. Mickelson won the tournament in 1997.
Why the return now? For starters, the whole Florida Swing schedule is different now that The Players Championship has been moved to May. Plus, Bay Hills greens are more mature than they were when Mickelson last played there.
Its a new day at Bay Hill with regards to the way we do things now, Wellington said. Its also the first year Palmers name is in the title of the event.
Mickelson typically plays the week before major championships. However, a source said he plans to skip this years Shell Houston Open scheduled for the week before The Masters.
Mickelson, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last week, is currently in the middle of an uncharacteristic six-week, six-event stretch. Originally, he planned to play five in six weeks. But, a source said, he was driving the ball so well he wanted to keep his momentum going.
Woods has won his last seven PGA TOUR starts and already has announced on his website that he will play at Doral.
Wellington said he is optimistic Tiger will be at Bay Hill. I can only go on past history with Tiger, Wellington said. Woods has won four times at Bay Hill and has not missed the tournament since turning professional in late 1996. Woods Windermere, Fla., home is less than 15 minutes from the Orlando site of Bay Hill.