Incredibly, Tiger and Phil have only played together twice at the Masters
BYT.J. Auclair | PGA.com,April 4th, 2018·
Since 1997, no two players have enjoyed more success at the Masters than Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
The pair have a combined seven wins -- four for Tiger, three for Phil -- and 26 total top-10 finishes (13 apiece) in that span.
With Augusta National resumes like those, you'd think the two would have played together a bunch, right?
Not so, actually.
Believe it or not, they've only been paired together twice in the Masters -- the final round in 2001 and the final round in 2009, with the former being one of the most significant rounds in the game's history.
It was at that 2001 Masters where Woods -- looking to complete a "Tiger Slam" by winning four consecutive majors (over two seasons) -- entered the final round with a one-stroke lead over Mickelson. Only Bobby Jones, in 1930, under a different major championship structure was able to win all four in the same year and, since then, no player had won all four in succession.
Steady as he'd been all week, Woods would fire a 4-under 68 to finish the week at 16 under and win his second Masters and sixth major overall. That was two strokes ahead of runner-up David Duval and three strokes clear of Mickelson, who finished third by shooting a 2-under 70.
Woods and Mickelson were actually tied for the lead after the first hole that day at 11 under when Tiger made a bogey to Phil's par. The pair each birdied the par-5 second hole to get to 12 under.
Mickelson would fall one behind after a bogey to Tiger's par at the par-3 fourth hole, but tied for the lead again with a birdie at the fifth. Mickelson again fell one behind with a bogey on No. 6 and that's as close as he'd get the rest of the afternoon.
With a bogey to Tiger's birdie on the difficult, par-4 11th, Mickelson dropped to 12 under and three behind Woods... but he would fight back and pulled to within one shot again on the par-5 15th. A bogey on 16 ultimately did Mickelson in that day and he'd wait three years until the 2004 Masters to win his first major title.
Here's a look at the final-round scorecards for Woods and Mickelson in that 2001 Masters.
The only other time Woods and Mickelson were Masters playing partners came in the final round of the 2009 tournament, but they weren't much of a factor.
Both players began that final round in a tie for 10th place at 4 under, trailing leader and eventual champion Angel Cabrera by seven strokes.
Mickelson and Woods played terrific golf that day, shooting 67 and 68, respectively, but it wasn't enough to catch Cabrera, Kenny Perry or Chad Campbell who went to a playoff at 12 under. Mickelson would finish fifth, three strokes out of the playoff, while Woods tied for sixth, four shots out.
Mickelson's hopes that day were dashed with a double-bogey on the par-3 12th. Woods eagled the eighth to get in the mix and made three late birdies before bogeying the final two holes.
Here's a look at the final-round scorecards for Woods and Mickelson in that 2009 Masters.
The only other Tiger/Phil Masters moments together at Augusta National involved one helping the other to slip into the green jacket. First, it was Mickelson, as the 2004 Masters champion, adorning Tiger with the green jacket for a fourth and final time -- to date -- in 2005.
Woods returned the favor a year later, helping Mickelson into the green jacket for a second time.
Woods and Mickelson are two of the game's all-time greats. With their competitive spirit over the last two decades, it's no surprise they weren't chummy for most of that time.
That's why it was so special to see the pair play a practice round together on Tuesday at Augusta National. Until Tuesday, it had been 20 years since Woods and Mickelson last played a practice round together before the Los Angeles Open at Valencia in 1998.
If there was a hatchet, it appears its been buried -- which is great for golf.
Even with Woods at 41 and Mickelson at 47, they are two of the favorites to contend this week.
And if they do contend, we'll all be yearning to see them add to that "Masters round as playing partners" total.
For as significant as they've been to the game, just two rounds together at the Masters doesn't seem like enough.