Three weeks ago Tiger Woods made his much anticipated return to competitive golf at the Masters. Despite four rounds of inconsistent play Tiger still managed a T4 finish at Augusta, but on Sunday evening it was Phil Mickelson who ended up on top of the leader board, taking home the green jacket and his third Masters title.
Tiger enters events with one goal in mind – winning. Since he has committed to play in this week’s Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, you know his goal is to come away with the trophy. However, Masters champion Phil Mickelson is also in the field, and he has the same goal. So between the two, who has the best shot at taking home the title? Let’s look at some past results for both players.
RESULTS AT QUAIL HOLLOW
Tiger has played in this event two of the last four years, finishing fourth in ’09 and winning in ’07. Phil has played this event each of the last five years with a T5 in ’09, a T12 in ’08, a T3 in ’07, a T35 in ’06 and a T7 in ’05. To me it’s a bit of a tossup here, but with Tiger’s win in ’07, and finishing ahead of Phil in both ’09 and ’07, I’d say slight advantage Tiger.
Tiger has played only one event in 2010, the Masters, where he finished T4, a remarkable achievement in his first event back from a five-month layoff. Phil however has played in eight events this year, making all eight cuts, his two best finishes being a T8 at Pebble Beach and his win at Augusta three weeks ago. With Tiger struggling with his swing last week, I’d have to say Phil has the advantage here.
Obviously Tiger and Phil are not the only players in the field, and there are several other notables to watch this week — check out Damian’s Fantasy Four post for some solid picks to watch (including non-Nike players). Other Nike athletes in this week’s field include:
Watch out for Anthony Kim, who in 2010 has had a second place finish at the Honda Classic, a win at the Shell Houston Open and a third place finish at the Masters. He won this event in 2008 and will be gunning for another W, especially with Tiger and Phil in the field. Also watch out for major champions Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink to have strong showings at this major-quality venue (the atmosphere at this tournament is similar to that of a major). And don’t count out David Duval — although his play has been a bit streaky this year he is swinging the club with confidence and his putter has been steady. A T2 finish at Pebble Beach earlier this year shows he’s not far from re-entering the winner’s circle.
I’m going with my gut here, and my money is on Tiger coming away with the win this week. His game was so inconsistent at Augusta, yet he scored so well that if he gets any kind of momentum going this week (and keeps it going) I don’t think the rest of the field will be able to catch him. But you can several of the other players — especially Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim — to give whoever wins a run for their money coming down the stretch on Sunday afternoon.
Who are your picks this week? Let us know with a comment below.