Woods, Mickelson paired at Players Championship

The two are arguably the biggest stars in the sport over the past two decades, winning a combined 19 major championships (with 14 from Woods).

The positive for Tiger this week is that while he never contended, he did make the cut. However, he'll be a major story line for fans Thursday and Friday, not just because he's, well, Tiger, but for the riveting group in which he's been placed.

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.

Tiger Woods during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club.

"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. "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".

"I love it. I mean, I love the chance. we're going to have a lot of fun", Mickelson said. "We don't get it very often. Every interview we hear he talks about his speed and how far he's driving compared to the young guys, but I think if he gets off of that and just gets back to putting the ball in play with the driver and accept whatever distance it is, because he still hits a longway, I think he would play more consistently".

With The Players - the flagship tournament of the PGA Tour - next up for McIlroy, the journey on to Jacksonville will see him working over the next few days.

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Day had an very bad day of wayward driving and squandered a three-shot lead on the back nine with consecutive bogeys, before rising to the occasion and hitting one of the best clutch shots of his life.

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

"I was fighting demons out there because when you're not hitting it good, it just feels like the life is getting sucked out of you", he said. But I made nothing. I just didn't hit good putts, and on top of that, the ones I did hit well, I didn't have enough speed on them.

It will mark the first time since 2001 that the two will be grouped together at the Players Championship. They represent, in reverse order, the past three FedExCup champions and will tee off together in another trio that could safely be described as "better than most".

"I'm close", said Woods.

In all, they have played in the same group just 35 times, with Woods holding a slight edge in their round-by-round scores at 16-15-4. That's how it always is now with Woods, who appears to care more and more about answering questions earnestly, knowing the gravity his words carry across the sporting world.

"You've got to give a lot of time to a lot of people and sometimes you don't get a lot of time to yourself".


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