Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are set to renew their rivalry with each other this week at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. Ok, maybe it’s not a one-on-one situation in their minds, but fans sure like to make it that way. There’s no question that these two players are the most-popular in the sport. While the 2013-14 PGA Tour season has been underway since the fall, this is the first appearance for both in 2014.
Woods is the defending champion here, and will be the favorite when the betting lines are released. We can also assume that Mickelson will be the next player on the list of payouts.
When looking back at last season for both players, it’s hard to argue that one really go the better of the other. Both had fantastic years. Woods won five times and was voted the PGA Tour player of the Year. But it was Mickelson who got the only Major Championship win between the two.
Mickelson captured the British Open, a tournament that most didn’t think he had the shots in the bag to win. But a brilliant final round allowed Mickelson to run away with his first Claret Jug. And had it not been for his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open (for the 6th time), we would be talking about Mickelson as the player of the year with two Major victories.
While no one tournament outside of a Major is indicative of how the season will go, you can bet that both want to get off to fast start. Woods and Mickelson won early last season. It was Woods who won at Torrey Pines for this event, while Mickelson won a few weeks later at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Torrey Pines has been a special venue for Woods. For one, he is from the area. For another, he has won seven times no Torrey Pines, including the last Major Championship we won at the 2008 U.S. Open.
It’s been a while since either have played in a competitive round. This always adds in the unknown element of what to expect.
In terms of the golf season on the whole though, this is shaping up to be exciting. Woods has won Major Championships on three of the four venues that they will be played in 2014. Mickelson is still looking for that elusive U.S. Open title to complete the career slam. The Masters in April is always a place that Woods and Mickelson thrive. They’ve got seven Masters wins between the two of them. Even though the tournament is four months away, it’s a lock that they will be two of the top favorites heading into that week assuming that they are healthy.
This week at Torrey Pines could be the tip of the iceberg to what we see. Fans, and CBS is probably hoping that they are in contention on the weekend. The PGA Tour has not yet announced the tee times + pairings for the first two rounds, but the possibility is there for them to put Woods and Mickelson together.
That would be fun.