Phil Mickelson has won The Masters three times in his career, and is 9th all-time with 42 PGA Tour wins on his resume. I often wondered how many victories Phil would have on his resume if there had been no Tiger Woods. In fact, that scenario could be applied to a host of professional golfers who emerged in the 1990′s, but the one most apparent, is Phil.
The news that the four-time Masters champ would have to miss his first Masters since 1995 because if issues with his back affected the entire sport, but the most vocal disappointment came from his arch rival, Phil Mickelson. It begs the question…Does Phil Mickelson miss Tiger Woods at The 2014 Masters?
“It’s a weird feeling not having him here, isn’t it? He’s been such a mainstay in professional golf and the majors. It’s awkward to not have him here. I hope he gets back soon. I mean, I hope he’s back for the other majors, and as much as I want to win and I know how great he is and tough to beat, it also makes it special when he’s in the field and you’re able to win.”
There never seemed to be a lot of love lost between Tiger and Phil, so it came as a bit of a surprise at first that Phil would be so vocal about Woods’ absence in this year’s festivities. Unfortunately, we never had a great Tiger-Phil match up like we got with Jack Nicklaus and others during the hey-day of the sport.
I think as both Tiger and Phil start to age, that relationship will change. After-all in their playing days, Arnie and Jack had their moments, and the great relationship we see today was not apparent in 1970 when they were competing between the ropes.
I predict that in 20 years we will see Tiger and Phil at Augusta National, smiling during Masters week as they welcome new rivalries to the worlds greatest golf tournament.