Phil Mickelson was cryptic when he was asked on Tuesday whether he would be paired with new-old pal Tiger Woods at the 2018 Ryder Cup. The duo teamed up to infamously go 0-2 on the first day of the 2004 Ryder Cup, an event that was still making waves as recently as the 2016 event.
But 2004 feels like forever ago, and Mickelson and Woods have shared a collective bromance throughout the 2018 season. From their Masters practice round to their $9 million match in November, they are clearly tying themselves to one another for myriad reasons, and I have to say, it’s been kind of fun.
“I think we would both welcome [a pairing together],” Mickelson said on Tuesday. “I think we would both welcome it.”
I just played with Tiger today and it is the best I’ve ever seen him swing the club. It is so on plane and solid. I’ll be asking for a shot a side for our Thanksgiving match. I doubt I’ll get it though.
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) September 25, 2018
The duo played in the same four-man group during a practice round along with Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau. I don’t want to read too much into that, but … well … it does sort of seem like it’s going to happen.
“I do have an idea of what Captain [Jim] Furyk is thinking, yeah,” laughed Mickelson later on.
I don’t know if this is a great idea, but I do think we’ll see it once. Probably not right out of the gate like in 2004, and maybe not in foursomes, but as of Tuesday I think the odds are better than not that Mickelson and Woods play one match together. That could change, of course, but if it doesn’t, it would be a fitting end to what has been a pretty great year for both of them.
“I think that when we started to really work together to succeed in the Ryder Cup, going back even four years ago, and then at Hazeltine and last year at the Presidents Cup,” said Mickelson. “Those team events where we’ve worked together, I think we realized that we both have a lot more in common than we thought, and I think that we both have really come to appreciate working together to achieve things.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time with him. It’s really been fun.”
Glowing reviews all the way around. As for how to not repeat of 2004 where there were, ahem, equipment issues and more egos than a psychology convention, Mickelson said it’s all about the front end work.
“The bottom line is going to be preparation,” said Mickelson. “When we can eliminate the variables; eliminate the uncertainties, it eliminates the pressure. So the more questions we have answered well before the Ryder Cup, the more prepared we are and the … the more time we have to prepare our games the week of the Ryder Cup.”
Who would have thought this time last year with Woods barely able to swing that we could get this duo — of all duos! — at the 2018 Ryder Cup. Neither of them has ever won a Ryder Cup on European soil. Now they both could do it together, as a pairing, for the first time in a quarter of a century.