by Jeff Skinner
With Tiger and Phil sitting atop the World Golf Rankings, the debate continues as to whether there is a real on course rivalry between the two of them (John Strege In Golf Digest). Many think that any rivalry is a product of the media. I tend to think it is a little of both. If you saw them when they were paired together at the 2004 Ryder Cup it was obvious that they are not close. At the Masters this year, paired together in the final round, there was reportedly plenty of “nice shots” between the two, but it appeared that Woods grew more annoyed with each birdie by Mickelson. Phil Mickelson is usually more open and accessible with the press and fans than Woods is (John Huggan In The Scotsman). Tiger’s behavior during the Masters final round and afterward has caused many to comment how unsportsmanlike it was (Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian). With Woods’ winning so many more majors than Mickelson it would appear that it is a one way rivalry. It is a shame that they play head to head so infrequently. The Tiger versus Phil competition will rage on for years, but the Woods image may be in need of some repair. The press in America seems much less critical of Woods than the European press. The European press has been critical of Tiger’s recent behavior and many claim that the American press “kiss Tiger’s ass.” That thought certainly has been mentioned before. Many think Tiger gets a free pass in the press. Tiger will never be Phil and Phil will never be Tiger. Phil could use some of Tiger’s majors. Tiger could use a little of Phil’s smiles.