Steve Elling files an entertaining report on Saturday's much-improved performance (19-under-par!!) from the Tiger-Phil-Vijay pairing.
It was gang engorgement, a feeding frenzy. Mickelson, ever the smirking wise guy, suggested that Woods might have been motivated to pick up his pace after Lefty started a torrid run in the middle of the round, when he played an eight-hole stretch in a blistering 7 under.
"I think Tiger got a little upset there when I got on that streak because he started out 6 under in his next six holes," Mickelson said, his math exactly right.
Oh that's good, but here's the buried lede:
Mickelson enjoyed the two days in the premier trio so much he wants more of the same in Monday's final round. Butch Harmon, his swing coach and Woods' former teacher, gave Mickelson some insider information on things to watch when playing with Woods. Mickelson declined to provide specifics, but it must have something to do with Woods' mannerisms or peccadilloes.
Maybe Woods has been demystified a bit.
"In the past I haven't really played that well with Tiger, per se," Mickelson said. "But he [Harmon] told me a couple of things he [Woods] likes to do, and I was watching for it, and I chuckled throughout the round when I'd pick up on it."
Mickelson stubbornly wouldn't offer more, other than Harmon's insight seemed to work.
"It's really helped because I find myself chuckling at it now and played much more relaxed and had a good time today," Mickelson said.
I think that pretty much eliminates any hope of a Butch-Tiger reunion.
A few other nuggets from Mickelson's press conference:
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, figuring out how the slopes on the greens are going to take it. I love the design and I love the setup. I love the way the greens are, around the greens, the way the rough is where you can actually play shots, and I think that I'm going to plan on making this a permanent stop. This is the first time I've been here, and I can't believe I haven't been here earlier. This is a wonderful tournament for us.
Guess Phil likes fescue rough.
And on the FedEx Cup...
Q. When you first heard about the FedExCup, what was your sense then, and has it changed at all since you've started to play in it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure. I mean, I think that I won't have a good comment for you on the FedExCup for a couple years. I think that I've got to give it a fair chance to play out and see how the individual events go and see how the overall chase for the Cup goes. The first year we're going to need to do a few tweaks, you can tell, and I'm curious to see how next year's scheduling is going to be.
There's a lot of little areas in there that are critical I think in the first couple years on whether it makes it or not.
I guess he hasn't heard that the schedule is set for next year.
This is funny and it leads into the stuff Elling quotes above...
Q. At a normal TOUR event you three guys wouldn't play together. Would it be good to do this more often?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I think it would. I mean, I think it would. Certainly the last three years this random computer pairings has randomly had us on opposite tee times every day for three years (laughter).
Q. Funny how that works out.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, anyway, but I enjoy it. This was actually a really interesting day because I've been working with Butch Harmon, as you know, and in the past I haven't really played that well with Tiger per se. But he told me a couple things that he likes to do, and I kind of was watching for it, and I chuckled throughout the round when I'd pick up on it. And it was just -- I think that working with Butch has really helped me understand how to get my best golf when I play in the same group as Tiger, and I'm hoping I have a chance to do that on Monday.
Q. Anything you can tell us, the things you look for?
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, no, I'm not about to tell you. I'm not even going to go there. But just a couple things that have been very interesting, and certainly the stories have been great (laughter). But just a few things to watch for. And it's really helped because I find myself chuckling at it now and played much more relaxed and had a good time today.
Q. Kind of demystified the guy for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I wouldn't say that. That's all I'd really care to go for. I'm sharing with you a little piece and you keep asking for more.
Q. Are you hoping you guys get paired together again next week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely. I'd like to play well tomorrow and I'd like him to play well tomorrow, so hopefully we both have a chance on Monday and maybe get paired together. That would be fun.