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Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson Entertain Idea of Possible High-Stakes Match

Tiger Tracker Tiger Woods still trying to make birdie Sunday at Wells Fargo			Getty Images

Woods will begin his first round at The Players at 1:52 p.m. Thursday, playing with Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.

Perhaps there was an edge to the Woods-Mickelson relationship, but that's clearly evolved into a genuine appreciation, if not a budding friendship, in recent years.

"I don't know how it's going to play out", Mickelson said, "but I just know that we seem to be bringing out the best in each other". His back was so bad a year ago he often could not get out of bed and barely could walk. "And for me to be able to play with a person I've gone against for over two decades, it's a lot of fun".

The most remarkable aspect of this Tiger Woods comeback does not relate to results. That's only partially true.

Woods and Mickelson, together again. With no disrespect to the other actors - Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, David Duval - they were bit players in this drama. Hopefully this one will, and hopefully Mickelson is mic'd up for the entire thing.

Woods again struggled with his putter during the final round of the tournament, posting a birdie-free 74.

Fowler said "I've got the best seat in the house" for Woods-Mickelson.

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There were other moments, too. - Having stared career mortality in the face, Tiger Woods is grateful for every second of life in pro golf.

On Tuesday, Mickelson added a playful touch to the proceedings. "I had THE PLAYERS, I had two World Golf Championships, and all the biggest events I had won at the same time". It was the highlight of a 6-under par round of 66, and Woods went on to win the title the following day. It was something Tiger took particular enjoyment in. Mickelson was coming off his best season, which included a breakthrough at the Masters, and he had arrived in form.

Woods has won 14 major tournaments while Mickelson has five to his name. They have 122 TOUR wins between them. "It's been fun to be a part of the past champions here, because it really takes some special golf to win out here".

Of the 35 times Mickelson and Woods have played together, however, their scoring averages are remarkably close - Woods 69.93, Mickelson 70.06 - and Woods has shot the lower score 16 times, just once more than Mickelson.

"It sucked to have to play against him", Mickelson said. I mean, the only time I can remember I think is the PGA and the U.S. Open in '08. The two greats are paired together for the first two rounds, and they're excited.

Among them, according to Woods, were chipping tips from Mickelson when Woods was dealing with the yips in early 2015. It will be the first time Woods and Mickelson have played together at The Players since Woods first won the tournament in 2001. They lost both matches.

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