Woods fired a 3-over 74 during Sunday's final round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
This week's marquee grouping of Mickelson, Woods and Rickie Fowler at The Players doesn't really need any extra buzz, but Lefty thought he would raise the stakes regardless. Brooks Koepka, the defending US Open Champion, is the one guy who has a question mark but he's been injured and has played for the first time since January this week, so we don't know how Brooks is going to pan out.
However, fans aren't the only ones looking forward to Thursday's opening round: "We don't get to do it very often", Woods said, according to ESPN's Bob Harig. "We've been going at it for the better part of over 20 years, and it's fun for both of us to be able to do that".
Woods and Mickelson, along with Rickie Fowler, begin their Thursday round at 1:52 p.m. ET.
"Fifteen years ago my record against him sucked, and now it's OK".
For the first time since the 2014 PGA Championship, Woods has been paired with Phil Mickelson.
"I had no idea where the ball was going today; especially off the tee", Day said afterwards.
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Mickelson also raised the prospect of having a special one-round showdown with Woods at some point in the future and he believes there would be plenty of interest in it, as indicated by their practice round together at the Masters. "I struggled with it", he said. The more he plays, the sharper he'll get.
While Woods' always made himself available to the media at the Players Championship in the past, it was typically a very matter-of-fact exchange, and often not a long session. Woods went on to win the tournament that week.
Mickelson had earlier offered effusive praise of just how powerful Woods was in his prime.
The ensuing birdie restored Day's two-shot lead and he parred the last to shoot 68 and finish at 12-under 272, two strokes ahead of Americans Aaron Wise (68) and Nick Watney (69) at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
"Now it's different. I feel better, and my short game has turned around", he said. At the time, Woods was just weeks away from completing the Tiger Slam by winning the Masters to claim his fourth consecutive major title. "You've just got to get yourself in the right frame of mind to go out and do that". That theme took on more significance when the two - twice - paired horribly at the 2004 Ryder Cup. Jack Nicklaus is the only three-time victor of this event, which dates back to 1974. I think that it was great to move it to May.
"This is probably one of the best wins I've ever had, just because of how hard everything was today", he added. Tuesday Sawgrass saw the latest round of mutual appreciation between a duo who will be playing partners for the first two days of the Players Championship, in what represents a stunning switch in attitudes.