PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – When Phil talks he gets Tiger questions, when Tiger talks he gets Phil questions. Such is life when you’re the only two subjects anyone can talk about on the PGA Tour.
The relationship between the two has evolved greatly over the years, or so both contend. It’s gone from icy, to good, to contentious to good again now, mostly because both have shown concern for the other during personal struggles over the past year. Perhaps it’s old age. Afterall, Mickelson is turning 40 next month.
The one thing, however, that hasn’t changed is respect. Mickelson admitted Tuesday here at The Players that it took him awhile to get comfortable with playing against Woods.
“As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate all that he has done for the game of golf, and me in particular,” Mickelson said. “I’ve also found that I’ve needed him to help me get my best golf out and he has pushed me to work harder and has pushed me to become a better player. I get motivated when he’s back in the field.
“I also feel that when he and I would play earlier in my career, I didn’t perform to the best of my abilities. And now, I believe that when I’m paired with him or compete against him he gets my best golf out of me. I find that I need him for me to play my best.”