Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are two of the best golfers of all time. However, it is not a secret that they have never gotten along since the beginning of their professional careers. Did you know that the 15-time major winner used to play mind games to win more titles over his rival?
Although they are prominent players of the same era, the two considered each other as their biggest professional rivals. They had developed a competition to beat the other and win the most tournaments.
Woods has won 82 PGA Tour titles, including 15 majors and 18 World Golf Championships. Mickelson, on the other hand, has won 45 titles on the PGA Tour, including 6 majors. Woods has always had the upper hand over Mickelson, and the latter recently revealed that his rival used tactics to win over him.
Tiger Woods made Phil Mickelson lose chances of winning!
According to Mickelson, Butch Harmon, the 15-time major champion’s former coach, revealed them to Mickelson when he became his coach in 2008. “He’s been doing it to you his whole career, and you don’t even know it,” Harmon reportedly told Mickelson. Notably, Woods had an entire plan to break his rival’s confidence:
LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 23: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson look on prior to The Match: Tiger vs Phil at Shadow Creek Golf Course on November 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images for The Match)
1. Woods would always try to putt first so that the crowd would move with him to the next tee without waiting for his biggest rival.
2. On the other hand, if he is putting last, he would linger behind the green and let Mickelson walk to the next tee. This way, Lefty would hear the spectator’s roar when Woods approached the tee.
3. On holes when he was between 3-wood or driver, Woods would choose less club so he could fool around in the fairway and make Lefty watch him hit his laser-like approach.
4. The fourth and final one is the most interesting. If the 6-time major champion walked fast, Woods would slow down his pace. Meanwhile, if he chose to take his time, Woods would speed up.
Woods’ and Mickelson’s love-hate relationship
Since they both started playing professionally, Mickelson and Woods have been at each other’s throats. They often trash talked each other to make the other feel down on every occasion they got. However, that doesn’t mean they didn’t respect each other.
“He’s brought out the best of me at times,” Mickelson once said about his rival. Meanwhile, Woods had once referred Lefty as “one of the greatest players that ever picked up a golf club.”