First, congratulations to Phil Mickelson for his 40th Tour Victory. My #6 prediction for this year was that Lefty wouldn’t win a tournament this year. I’m happy to be wrong. My reasoning was that the young talent would edge him (and Tiger) out. Not yet, apparently.
It was nice to see Phil and Tiger in a final round pairing. That’s happened far less than most golf fans would like—just nine times. Phil holds the lead in the series, and has won the last five consecutive times the two have had a final round pairing.
Phil looked really sharp, particularly in his putting. When Tiger holed out the sand shot on the par 3 twelfth, Phil’s answer with the 30 foot putt was a definitive statement.
And speaking of putting: Tiger looked positively lost on the greens. After the round, he said “I could not see my lines. I couldn’t get comfortable.” It showed. He was missing putts I never thought he’d miss: two footers; five footers. it was almost as though the pressure had gotten to him.
The Mainstream Golf Media tries to put a nice spin on it, but I think Tiger is a long way from winning. He’s a very good PGA Tour player these days, but he’s not where the main stream media wants him. Faldo agrees. During the CBS broadcast, he said “Tiger’s got a good enough game to get into contention, but not good enough to finish it off.”
Part of it is that I think Tiger no longer intimidates his opponents into making mistakes. Today, it was Tiger making the mistakes. In fact, he hasn’t had that intimidation factor working in his favor since YE Yang backed him down at the PGA Championship.
Phil returns next week. No word on when Tiger plays next.