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Tiger Woods grouped with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler at Players Championship

09 May 2018

American John Peterson led the Wells Fargo Championship after the first round with a 6-under par effort, as several golfers trailed him by two strokes after Thursday, including fellow American Peter Malnati. Woods has a 79-43 lead in PGA Tour victories, 14-5 in the majors.

"We don't get to do it very often", Woods said. "We've been going at it for the better part of over 20 years, and it's fun for both of us to be able to do that". Day's strong play through four days also earned him $1.386 million.

All three in the group have won the Players Championship before, although Woods last won in 2013 and Mickelson's sole victory was back in 2007. And I said, yeah, you and I have the same philosophy in how we approach chipping and how we do it.

Matt Kuchar once told a story about how Mickelson would be dishing out his best material in the team room at the Ryder Cup, and if he ever didn't have a comeback, he would simply reveal how many majors he has won to shut up the room - but not without surveying his audience.

One year they were in the locker room at the Byron Nelson Classic when Mickelson challenged Woods to anything at their disposal.

"That's why it's going to be so hard for Tiger Woods to win another major, never mind take his total from the fourteen he has now to the levels Jack got to". He was there, for example, when Woods rolled in his "better than most" putt on No. 17 at the 2001 Players.

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Mickelson had earlier offered effusive praise of just how powerful Woods was in his prime. That was one of the very few times, if not the first time, we played together the first two rounds.

The tournament was won by Australia's Jason Day, who carded a final round of 69 to win by two strokes from Aaron Wise and Nick Watney, after finishing his week on 12 under par.

"He offered numerous times to help me out with technique and just about it", Woods said. He relished the chance to poke fun at Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, who he said makes golf interesting "for people who don't play the game", with the implication obvious.

Perhaps more than any other player, Mickelson can appreciate what Woods accomplished during his prime.

"There are a lot of different things going on and when you look at these two courses the cream rises to the top and you've got to go to the top of the list and look at the Dustin Johnson's, the Justin Thomas', the Jon Rahm's, the Justin Rose's, the Rory McIlroy's, these kind of guys". "And it goes to show you that they weren't there to witness it".

"Phil and I have a great banter". "But I think our relationship has certainly gotten a lot closer with me being a vice captain the last couple teams and sitting there and having very lengthy conversations with him about things, not just the pairings but just about things in general".

Tiger Woods grouped with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler at Players Championship