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Does Lefty miss Tiger

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Does Phil Mickelson miss Tiger Woods?

Larry Dorman of The New York Times raises the question in his story today from the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

“He just might,” Dorman wrote. “In a trend that started at the Tour Championship last season, Mickelson seems to have been saving his best performances for tournaments in which Woods was also playing.

“In fact, of the last five tournaments in which both were in the field, Mickelson won three, finished second in one and tied for 17th in another. He finished first at the 2009 Tour Championship, first at the ’09 WGC-HSBC Champions, first at the Masters, second at the Quail Hollow Championship and tied for 17th at the Players Championship, fading to a closing 74 after starting the day five strokes off the pace before Woods had to withdraw with a neck problem.

“Before the Woods as Motivation theme is dismissed, it should be mentioned that in Mickelson’s first seven events preceding this year’s Masters, during which Woods was absent, Mickelson had only one top-10 finish (tied for eighth at AT&T Pebble Beach) and no other finishes higher than 19th.”

Mickelson, who has a chance to overtake Woods at No. 1 in the world rankings with a victory this week, opened with a 1-over-par 71, eight shots off the lead.