Sport Tiger Woods savors return to Players, round with Phil Mickelson
Wells Fargo Championship returns to Quail Hollow: 10 storylines to follow
One of Charlotte's springtime institutions is back. After a one-year absence, the Wells Fargo Championship returns to Quail Hollow Club this week. After a one-year absence, the Wells Fargo Championship returns to Quail Hollow Club this week. The tournament, a fixture in Charlotte since 2003, moved to Wilmington in 2017 so that Quail Hollow could host the PGA Championship.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - You've heard the same refrain every week since Tiger Woods returned to play in 2018: he's "thankful," and it's "unbelievable" to be playing at all.
Tuesday at the Players Championship, those words sounded more heartfelt. Perhaps since Woods last limped out of here in 2015 at the depths of his back pain misery and was operated on a year ago.
Tiger Woods closes Wells Fargo with 1st birdieless final round since ’14
Tiger Woods did something Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship that he hadn't done in more than four years. For the first time since the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, when he shot 78 in the final round, Woods didn't record a birdie in a non-major PGA Tour round. Woods made three bogeys and shot 3-over 74 to finish the tournament at 2 over.It was just the sixth time Woods has failed to notch a birdie in a non-major Tour round and just the second time he's done so in a final round on Tour.
There will come a point when he demands to again play like the golfer who won two Players Championships, among other accomplishments, on his incredible resume.
For now, he's taking things at a measured pace.
"I wouldn't say it's gravy, but it's unbelievable," Woods said. "And I'm just so thankful to be able to have this opportunity again because I didn't know if I would ever have it. Trust me, I'm fully aware of how special this is for me."
Beaming, laughing and sounding appreciative for the privilege to tee it up here again, Woods did not come across as a man irritated by a lackluster showing at last week's Wells Fargo Championship.
Mostly he exuded content and seemed not the least bit worried about a woeful putting exhibition last week.
Jason Day is a force again, and Tiger Woods still looking for first W since 2013
Jason Day, looking like Jason Day 2015 when he won five times, captured the Wells Fargo on Sunday. Tiger Woods putted poorly and still has work to do.Tiger Woods is still looking for his first win since 2013.
Rare pairing with Mickelson
Nor did the man who once appeared to loathe everything about Phil Mickelson seem anything but thrilled about getting two rounds with his longtime rival starting at 1:52 p.m. Thursday.
"Geez, we don't really get paired together," Woods said. "Normally for most of our careers we were 1 and 2 in the world, and we're on opposite sides of the draw with exact tee times on the opposite side. We never saw each other, and that's what the Tour wanted. They wanted to get fans in here on Thursday and then on Friday, so they had one of us in the afternoon either day. But never concurrently together."
Numbers have varied this week, but when you strip away the majors and events where various rankings were used, just twice have the two been intentionally put in the same pairing.
Woods was asked what he most looks forward to in playing with Mickelson - learning, observing or cultivating ribbing material.
Column: Tiger and Phil improve relationship with age
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Their relationship has been softened by age.The needle is sharp as ever.Never mind that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have only five victories between them over the last five years. It's a big deal when the two best players of their generation are in the same group at any tournament, much less The Players Championship.Mickelson, of course, wanted something even better."I look at the cover of the newspaper and the pairing is on there and the excitement that's been going on around here, it gets me thinking," Mickelson said Tuesday.
"The latter for sure," said a smiling Woods before he turned serious. "But I think our relationship has certainly gotten a lot closer with me being a vice captain the last couple (U.S.) teams and sitting there and having very lengthy conversations with him about things, not just the pairings but just about things in general."
The banter will be worth watching but so will the dynamics of a group that also includes fellow Players champion Rickie Fowler. Woods is making his 18th professional appearance here in a career that also included a U.S. Amateur win at TPC Sawgrass.
Other highlights from Woods':
On last week's putting woes and how he plans to adapt to TPC Sawgrass.
"I haven't played here in a few years, so I want to see some of the changes, but also just get my touch. And I'll do some more - I did some drills yesterday just to make sure everything was A-OK and everything was fine. But I'll do probably more legwork tomorrow on my putting than I will today."
On his friendship with Justin Thomas:
"I got a chance to know him by him coming over to the house, going out to dinners, just hanging out. He's just a great kid. His mom and dad are fantastic. And just to have dinner with him to celebrate, and for him to kind of run through the scenarios, the holes, the shots, and I was watching, so I could ask decent questions. But even so, it would be much better to have been on the golf course and seen it and felt it, so he was trying to describe it to me, some of the shots and some of the things that he was trying to do. That's very special when you're able to do that, and for him to share with mom and dad like that I think was probably even more special."
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Players Championship 2018: Sounds like Ian Poulter won't be tuning in to the Tiger and Phil pairing on Thursday afternoon.In case you were wondering, Ian Poulter was NOT a member of said gallery.
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