The golf world was in disbelief when they saw Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson practice together ahead of the 2018 Masters. Until then, the fans had only seen them trash talk at each other or try to win over the other. It was the first time they played together, notably, as a team, sharing laughs and having good times.
“Our friendship has gotten stronger over the years,” Woods said after their practice session. “We have had a great 20-year battle, hopefully, we’ll have a few more,” he added. “But we understand where we are in the game now versus where we were in our early 20s.”
Mickelson, on the other hand, revealed that he has always respected Woods for being a great golfer. He also expressed his admiration for his rival for bringing more revenue into the game, especially the increase in purses and sponsorships.
Woods started playing professionally in 1996 and has changed the outlook of the sport with his athletic physique and incredible golfing. According to reports, the earnings of the Tour’s leading money winner increased by nearly 84% after 10 years he started playing professional golf. The report also shows that his involvement in the sport helped the Tour players become 22% richer than they were.
How did Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson become friends?
From playing as a team to showing each other their tricks, Mickelson and Woods shared several friendly moments during the practice session at Augusta National. However, their friendship didn’t blossom overnight, but over the years, as Woods mentioned.
According to Mickelson, their relationship started to change after they worked together in the 2016 Ryder Cup. Notably, Tiger Woods was one of the assistant captains of the prestigious team event, and Phil Mickelson was a part of Team USA. “When we worked together for a common goal,” the 6-time major champion revealed. “It brought us closer.”
Woods vs Mickelson – career overview throughout the years
Mickelson began his career as a professional golfer in 1992. He has won 50+ championship titles worldwide, including six majors and three World Golf Championships. Furthermore, he is one of the players to join the new LIV Golf Invitational Series.
On the other hand, Woods turned professional four years after Mickelson did. And he has won 100+ titles worldwide, including 15 majors and 18 World Golf Championships. Even though the Saudi-backed league offered him nearly a billion to play for them, Woods stayed with the Tour and its legacy.
Woods and Mickelson had played in the same groups 38 times throughout their career. Notably, Woods won 19 times, whereas the latter has won 15 times.
They have been professional rivals throughout their career, trying to outplay the other. However, the two became more like friends now after playing decades together.