Why Do Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson Always Need To Be Separated?

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2010

SHANGHAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 03:  Tiger Woods, (L) and Phil Mickelson of the USA pose at a Chinese chess table during the the Official 2009 WGC-HSBC Photocall at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal on November 3, 2009 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Since when has the PGA Tour turned into a kindergarten classroom?

Can’t you just see Mr. Finchem sitting at the head of the class and saying, “Tiger and Phil need to be separated at all times because they don’t get along”?

But Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are not five years old; they are grown men.

So what would happen if these two players were paired together during a skins game or, dare I say it, on Thursday and Friday of a standard PGA Tour event?

Will they push and shove each other on every tee box?

Will Mickelson go all Happy Gilmore on Woods as if Woods were Bob Barker?

Will their caddies take part in a smackdown in the middle of the fourth fairway?

It’s doubtful. 

They’ll play golf, and in the process, they’ll boost television ratings and attendance more than anything else the PGA Tour has to offer.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

At 99.9 percent of PGA Tour events, Woods or Mickelson will play in the morning on Thursday, while the other plays in the afternoon, and then they will swap on Friday.

The PGA Tour will tell you that this is done for television purposes so as to offer viewers the chance to see Woods one day and Mickelson the other.

Ok, fair enough; that’s a legitimate form of reasoning.

But let’s be honest here. What kind of ratings does The Golf Channel actually produce on Thursday and Friday afternoons whether Mickelson or Woods are in the field or not?

How many golf fans have three hours to spare on a Thursday or Friday afternoon to sit down and watch golf?

Believe it or not, most people have a lot going on in their lives between Monday morning and Friday evening.  

That being said, no matter what form of chaos is transpiring in a sports fan’s life, he always seems to find time to sit down and watch the big game.  

The house could be turning into Grand Central Station at around bedtime for a father of four, yet he will somehow find time to watch Game Two of the World Series.

A workaholic boss could give a sports fan an urgent task to complete at 5:30pm on Monday evening, yet that fan will still find a way to get to the local tavern by 8:30pm to watch Monday Night Football.

A standard golf tournament, whether Woods and Mickelson are playing or not, doesn’t have that same kind of attraction on Thursday and Friday.

On Sunday afternoon, yes.  But people typically have bigger fish to fry during the middle of the week.

However, a standard golf tournament with Woods and Mickelson paired together on Thursday and Friday, is a whole new ball game.

A pairing like that immediately boosts Friday afternoon golf into the must-see TV category, and as we all know, no matter what the circumstances, fans typically find a way to watch must-see sporting events.

A Woods/Mickelson pairing might actually sell out golf tournaments on Thursday and Friday, and you know what, some fans might even stick around to watch the “other guys” while they’re there.

That nine-to-fiver with only 10 vacation days per year might contemplate taking one of those precious days to go out and watch Woods and Mickelson face off at 7:30am on a Thursday morning, or at least go out to the event and then sneak into the woods at around 8:30am and put on his best sore throat voice while calling in sick to his workaholic boss.

In essence, golf is never better than when Woods and Mickelson are facing off against each other.

If we wait for this paring to occur naturally on the weekend, history has shown us that it happens less than eight percent of the time.

Why not give a tournament a boost every now and again by way of a Woods/Mickelson pairing?

Lord knows golf is not sitting on the most solid ground in terms of its popularity and financial well-being.

Heck, The Golf Channel’s ratings during the one day Woods and Mickelson fall into their coverage window will probably be higher than what they are producing now on Thursday and Friday combined.  

Golf tournaments are four-day events, yet it often feels like players and fans are just going through the motions on Thursday and Friday.

We’ve got four days. Why not get the joint rocking for all four…and what better way to do that than with a Woods/Mickelson pairing on Thursday and Friday?

Now, if only we could only graduate from kindergarten and start treating these guys like mature first graders.

For more PGA Tour news, insight and analysis, check out The Tour Report.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!