Mickelson makes warmer impression than Woods


“Affable vs. Cold-blooded.”

That was the headline in Shanghai’s Oriental Morning Post Sunday before Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods squared off in the final group of the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions event.

The story focused on Mickelson's fan-friendly approach vs. the more serious demeanor of Woods.

Dan Washburn, a Shanghai-based writer working for ESPN.com, relayed the local accounts in his story.

“Mickelson without a doubt has charmed China or at least the part of China that cares about golf,” Washburn wrote.

This is how Shanghai’s Oriental Morning Post characterized the impression Mickelson made on the country as compared to Woods:

“Without a doubt Mickelson is the most approachable star at Sheshan. When he hits a good shot he rewards fans' applause by smiling or tipping his cap. When he goes through the crowd, if you put out your hand he'll even give a 'high-five.' Some people say he learned his sweet smile from his wife, who used to be a cheerleader …

'Woods can be 'cold-blooded.' Don't expect to get his autograph after following him for 18 holes. Don't even expect him to look at you, no matter if you're only 1 inch away. Head down, face serious, he might communicate with his caddie a little bit, otherwise he'll hastily eat a snack. His focus is only on the little white ball and the hole in the distance. He is too obsessed with golf.'

It should be noted that media reported that Woods dealt with considerable distraction all week with cameras whirring before and after shots.

The Nanfang Daily, one of the largest newspapers in Southern China's Guangdong Province, headlined a story this way: 'Mickelson: Rank second, approachability first.'

Washburn wrote that the newspaper described Woods' demeanor at his Wednesday press conference as 'grave,' and said his face was 'overclouded.' Mickelson, however, was described as 'smiling,' 'honest' and 'sincere.'

Washburn's analysis included this: 'In some of these instances Mickelson can come off as plastic or overly scripted at early week press conferences it often feels as though he is reciting a memorized book report but he hits all the right notes, and it translates well. Sometimes at press conferences he'll say 'xie xie,' [which is] 'thank you' in Mandarin, a small gesture that goes a long way with the Chinese reporters.'