Phil Mickelson and the Fading Red Shirt of Tiger Woods

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IFebruary 13, 2012

So now who's your favorite at the Masters?
So now who's your favorite at the Masters?Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Got to go with Amy Mickelson on this one.

"What a great round! Are you kiddin' me?" is what she said to her husband as she hugged him after he walked off the 18th green at Pebble Beach.

That was more than a great round by Phil Mickelson on Sunday afternoon at Pebble Beach. It was a great round that came when you least expected it. After all, who looked more shaky coming into this event? Mickelson or one Tiger Woods?

Woods knocked on the door in Abu Dhabi, while Mickelson has been all over the place thus far in the early season.

You listen to Woods talk about how close he is and you would have to expect that he would be the guy who finally made a big Sunday move, not Mickelson.

What transpired on Sunday afternoon was Mickelson basically taking Woods' lunch money and then did the equivalent of saying "and give me that red shirt while you're at it" when he first ran in that 25-footer for eagle that seemed to drain the air out of Woods.

The Tiger Tumble started on the next hole, and raise your hand if you can remember the last time Eldrick Woods made bogey on a 110-yard par three? Come on! A bogey on a 110-yard par three? That will cost you your man-card. That was the first huge blow that sent Woods reeling. He missed a two-footer.

Now that's the part of last year's hangover that you probably thought Woods had gotten over.

It started a run of three straight bogeys for El Tigre and that virtually floored him.

Mickelson had taken every cent of his lunch money.

Woods still had a breath of life in him when he holed out the bunker shot at 12. A bogey by Mickelson and anything's possible. This is, after all, Tiger Woods, isn't it? He can make anything happen at Pebble Beach, can't he?

It seemed that way until Mickelson holed that 30-footer for par. He had all the lunch money and then and there he took the red shirt and stuffed it in his bag.

Sure, there's still all that "wait until the Masters" talk when folks think the red and black Phoenix will rise from the ashes of Pebble and Abu Dhabi and slip on another green jacket on Sunday in Augusta.

But you have to take a new look at Mickelson as well. Who expected this?

He buries Woods by 11 shots. No one buries Woods by 11 shots in the last round at Pebble. That's purely a fairy tale.

Or is it?

Sometime during the broadcast, they showed the Tiger Woods from 2000. That swing looked so much better than what he has now. What's more important, I couldn't help but think as he missed those short putts that his best friend is stuck in a closet somewhere on Jupiter Island.

That would be Scotty.

As in Woods' old Scotty Cameron putter.

So really, leave it there, Tigh. You certainly don't need it.

It only helped you win 14 majors.

I wouldd go with what you've got now and hope for the best.

Meanwhile, he can hope that Mickelson won't come up with any more fourth rounds like that any time soon like say, in April.