Mickelson took The Players in 2007, although some young stars on the Tour - such as Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth - have not won the event yet. At Quail Hollow, the Strokes Gained Putting stats for Woods showed him 72 in the field, with only the third round a positive day on the greens. However, he'll be a major story line for fans Thursday and Friday, not just because he's, well, Tiger, but for the riveting group in which he's been placed. In the 36 times the duo has been paired together on Tour, Woods won eight of their first 16 head-to-head duels and they tied twice. That was one of the very few times, if not the first time, we played together the first two rounds.
Woods was last paired with Mickelson at The Players in 2001, when the former was mowing down everything in his path. Woods won that event with the help of his "Better than most" putt at the infamous 17th hole, taking the unofficial fifth major just a couple of weeks before completing his "Tiger Slam" at the Masters.
The PGA Tour announced Sunday that Woods would play the first two rounds of the Players Championship with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.
"I look at the cover of the newspaper and the pairing is on there and the excitement that's been going on around here, it gets me thinking", Mickelson said Tuesday.
"I had no idea where the ball was going today; especially off the tee", Day said afterwards. We don't get the opportunity to do it very often. It's a big deal when the two best players of their generation are in the same group at any tournament, much less The Players Championship. Woods went on to win the tournament that week.More news: Arizona teachers try to ease strain on parents during strike
Phil Mickelson is excited about the prospect of playing alongside Tiger Woods in the opening two rounds of The Players Championship and believes they will bring out the best in each other. He relished the chance to poke fun at Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, who he said makes golf interesting "for people who don't play the game", with the implication obvious. "I'm hitting the ball well enough to contend, to win this golf tournament, but I just haven't made putts".
"It's a good golf course for us to showcase that, and I would love for us to continue this all the way into the weekend, as well. It was just a bad week and the good news is that you wipe your hands clean and move on to the next one".
"Our relationship has certainly gotten a lot closer", Woods said.
"When you go to a big Championship, be it a major or The Players, you've got 20 to 25 guys that are really capable of winning and you know that nine or ten are going to play good that week".
"If you watch him, his swing looks a lot better", says Harman. That's how it always is now with Woods, who appears to care more and more about answering questions earnestly, knowing the gravity his words carry across the sporting world.