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Phil Mickelson vs. Tiger Woods: Can we still call it a rivalry?

February 13, 2012 |  7:54 am

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson must have been pretty psyched when he learned he would be paired with Tiger Woods for Sunday's final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

And he was, but not because he seems to have owned Woods any time the two golfers play in the final round of an event together in recent years.

“I just feel very inspired when I play with him,” said Mickelson, who left Woods — as well as the rest of the field — in the dust by shooting an eight-under-par 64 to win his fourth Pebble Beach tournament and 40th PGA Tour title.

“I love playing with him, and 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.”

Woods may not agree with the last part of that statement. He shot a three-over 75 and finished tied for 15th, nine shots behind Mickelson. That makes five straight times Woods has been bested by Mickelson in head-to-head competition, dating to the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship. Mickelson has gone on to win the tournament three of those times.

But although the rivalry between the two players may have been a bit one-sided lately, keep in mind that Mickelson's recent streak of good fortune against Woods has merely evened the score between the two golfers. In 30 pairings against one another, each golfer now has a record of 13-13-4.

Mickelson is well aware of this fact, and he wants to make sure that everyone remembers that it wasn't  long ago that the rivalry between the two golfers was one-sided in the other direction.

"It's only been the past five years — before, I got spanked pretty good," Mickelson said. "Let's not forget the big picture here. I've been beat up. But the last five years, I've been able to get some of my best golf out when we play together.”


Photos: Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Pebble Beach: Phil Mickelson wins, Tiger Woods fades

Tiger Woods, golf's great finisher, no longer can finish

— Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson wait on the seventh-hole tee during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Sunday. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images