Phil Mickleson looking to tame Tiger Woods at US Open
He may not be in the best of form at the moment, but Phil Mickelson is banking on Tiger Woods inspiring him to his first US Open title.
The deadly duo, who have 18 Majors between them, tee it up in the same threeball, alongside Masters champion Bubba Watson, at the Olympic Club and Mickelson cannot wait
to take on Tiger.
The last time he went toe-to-toe with Woods was in February, during the last round of the Pebble Beach Pro Am. And on his way to victory Mickelson landed a knockout blow on the big beast, outplaying him 64-75.
And the world No.13 is looking to take that sort of form into today’s first round.
“I just feel very inspired when I play with him,” said Mickelson (right) of a head-to-head match-up that is currently tied at 13-13 with four ties.
“He brings out some of my best golf. I hope that he continues to play better and better and I hope that he and I have a chance to play together more in the final rounds.
“The feeling and the excitement I got when I found out I was paired with Tiger the final round at Pebble got me excited and focused.
“I felt a similar feeling when I found out we were paired together here. The one player I’m most concerned about if I play my best golf that may have a chance to beat me is Tiger.”
In public the pair barely manage to put on a good display of ambivalence towards each other. However, in private it’s known they don’t really get along, providing an intriguing sub-text to golf’s last great rivalry.
For some time ‘Lefty’ has been dismissed as a likely US Open winner - his aggressive style deemed unsuitable for the narrow fairways and penal rough associated with the tournament. However, five runners-up spots, the most recent in 2009, illustrate that, as with most events, he cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, Woods, hot off his win at the Memorial two weeks ago, claims he’ll ignore the hype around him and Mickelson and just focus on winning his first Major in four years.
“I don’t think we’re going to talk about a lot,” he said. “This is a major championship, we’ve got work to do.
Any extra motivation? No - I’m just trying to get out here and position myself for Sunday.
“This is a long grind and I think this is one of those championships that I think the guys talk the least to one another because it’s so difficult.”