No longer a favorite, Woods happy to be in Players field

Hope Soto
May 9, 2018

That's when Phil Mickelson addressed the media and said forget the tournament, let's go Tiger-Lefty heads up for some, uh, denominations.

At the Quail Hollow, which was more amenable to good scores on Saturday, Peter Uihlein (62), Phil Mickelson (64) and Rory McIlroy (66) all made headway. It really did. You look at it and say, 'How am I going to going to beat this?' There was a stretch there for a numbers of years that it was so impressive that it was hard to imagine that it was actually happening, that he was hitting some of the shots that he was hitting and playing that well. It's just a matter of making sure I get the right speed for those greens because (they are) going to be a little bit quicker than here. We always have. But I think our relationship has certainly gotten a lot closer with me being a [Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup] vice-captain the last couple teams, and sitting there and having very lengthy conversations with him about things.

Told of Mickelson's early trash talk, Woods smiled and shook his head and urged people to remember the big picture, as in which player has 79 TOUR wins and 14 majors. "I think it was that good", Mickelson said.

Of course Day also had to deal with a lot of other issues in the past year and a half, including his mother's battle with cancer, a miscarriage suffered by his wife, Ellie, and a nagging back injury. This week, it was pointed out that in 2000-2001, Woods had all the historic major championship trophies on his mantel and THE PLAYERS in 2001, giving him a super slam. Rinse one - or four in Bob Tway's case in 2005 - and you'll hear the groans from the fans and the sound of someone else cashing the winner's check.

Fowler trailed leader Sergio Garcia by five shots on the back nine to play three years ago, only to produce a blistering finish on the demanding course.

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"It really is a total package golf course". You have to hit the golf ball well.

"I got shut out", Woods said of the absence of birdies in a round that included 15 pars and three bogeys.

Mickelson won in 2007, beating Sergio Garcia.

"I wouldn't say it's gravy, but I'm just so thankful to be able to have this opportunity again, because I didn't know if I would ever have had (it)". "I'm excited to be back".

Mickelson won earlier this year at the WGC event in Mexico, halting a five-year-drought after his 2013 British Open. But in the last 17, Mickelson has won 10 times and they tied once. - During his short-game woes in 2015 - well, the chip yips at the lowest moments - Tiger Woods often insisted he had the situation under control. "I'm like, 'are you serious?' I got a chance to know him by him coming over to the house, going out to dinners, just hanging out, and he's just a great kid".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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