Sympatico Column: Is Mickelson a Real Rival for Woods?

My latest column for Sympatico tries to cut through the hyperbole about Phil Mickelson’s play and ask the bigger question: Is Phil really a rival for Tiger?

Here’s a taste:

Any time Tiger Woods wins it is good for golf. Could it be equally beneficial when he loses?

That surely isn’t always the case “ think Y.E. Yang and the PGA Championship. But when the world’s top golfer goes mano-a-mano with Phil Mickelson, the second-best player on the planet, as happened at the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai, China, last weekend, a loss might actually help the sport more than Woods cruising to another expected win.
It is rare for Woods to want to flee from a golf course after a final round. About one-third of the time he’s forced to hang around, gathering trophies and those phony big cheques, posing for pictures and answering questions about yet another win.
That wasn’t the case on Sunday, when a final round 72 dropped him from second and into a tie for sixth, well behind Mickelson, with whom he was partnered with during the final round of the HSBC.
“I just want to get out of here,” Woods told the media after the round. He fled to Australia where he has received a reported $3-million appearance fee to play in the Australian Masters this week.
“Today was anything that could go wrong went front for me today,” Woods said in his characteristically blunt assessment of his play. “Just one of those days.”

Full column can be found at the Three Off The Tee site at Sympatico.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Why was Yang beating Woods “surely” not good for golf? I think it is great that Tiger can be caught on the Sunday of a major. Now he has a small sampling of the demons that haunt every other player in the field.

  • TH: Good in that someone beat Tiger, but not so good in that Yang looks like one of those players who may be a fluke winner…

  • RT,

    another stupid comment bud. How do you fluke for four days around Hazeltine against arguably one of the strongest fields in major championship history. Once again not giving credit where credit is due.

  • Jamie (or Janine…): You can fluke through four days of great golf — you can’t fluke through a career. Let’s see how many more majors come Mr. Yang’s way.

  • Does it make you feel better to rip him than face your own mediocrity. Your articles are just your brains way of creating a self-defense mechanism against your own non_achievement-wannabe pro-golfer issues

  • English please? I’m more than a little confused, but maybe I’m trying to compensate for my “non-achievement-wannabe pro golfer issues.” Yep. That’s gotta be it.

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