Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mickelson would welcome Woods pairing at Masters

Tournament officials rarely pair Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods in the early rounds of tournaments, but if it happens at the Masters, Mickelson would be thrilled.

He spoke to ESPN about the possibility after his first round 71 at Bay Hill. "I think it would be great. The Tour hasn't paired us together since I've been out on tour. It's never happened before. But I think it'd be great. I'd love it."

Mickelson, currently number three in the world, is looking forward to the return of the world's number one player. "I think we're all excited to have him back," Mickelson said. "We all know the importance that he is to the game. We as players are excited to have him back."

With six Masters victories between the two, this would be an unbelievable pairing for the first rounds. It would add even more intrigue to the return of Woods by putting the two rivals together.

If not Mickelson, it would seem right for tournament officials to pair veteran players with experience with Woods, such as Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera, or Kenny Perry.

The return of Woods at Augusta is already hyped to the extreme, and adding Mickelson or another top star to his pairing would make it even more of an event.

AP Photo / Phelan Ebenhack