Phil Mickelson says Tiger Woods' golfing prime will be 'unrepeatable'

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will tee it up together at TPC Sawgrass

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will tee it up together at TPC Sawgrass. Getty Images

"That was one of the very few times, if not the first time we played together the first two rounds. My next step is to try to win a major this year".

So it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that the Players Championship made some noise earlier this week when it announced Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - oh, and Fowler, too - will be paired together for the first two rounds this week.

The two old nemeses, who were said to have not been not all that fond of each other during their heyday, will be in the same group, along with Rickie Fowler, here at The Players Thursday and Friday.

"I love that we're paired together", Mickelson said on Tuesday. He also won this tournament in 2015, more recently than either of his competitors, though he has never won a major. We don't get it very often. We were on opposite tees. They lived on opposite ends of the country and had different lifestyles for so much of their careers. It's fun for me to be able to have an opportunity to play with Phil the first two days.

"I got shut out", Woods said of the absence of birdies in a round that included 15 pars and three bogeys. Otherwise it just doesn't really happen. I hated it the first time. For that, he needed to replicate his stunning final round of 2010 - when a closing 62 saw him leapfrog through the field to claim the title - but, this time, the Northern Irishman was unable to reproduce any of that drama and ultimately was confined to the role of bit player.

Tiger Woods warms up on the range at TPC Sawgrass ahead of The Players Championship.

"It was 12 years between wins here, and so, as y'all know, just looking at my record, I didn't play this place well".

"No, no, as I said, it's going to be fun playing with him again". "You have to play well here".

"It really is a total package golf course".

"I didn't putt well again", Wood told CBS television.

As Woods fought to return to the tour after back surgery, a new generation of young stars were making their mark on the tour.

When Woods turned pro in 1996, the elder Mickelson had already won nine times on the PGA Tour. Mickelson said, sharpening his needle directed to the side of Woods. You just didn't know it would already be fun on Tuesday.

"It was the most remarkable golf in the history of the game, and I think unrepeatable".

Woods took the golfing world by storm after winning the 1997 Masters and proceeded to win 14 majors over the next 11 years. He kept the outside world at arms length. It can be demanding at times. For an individual sport like golf, there was only Tiger. He still didn't beat Woods and Mickelson, who both fired 64s that day.

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