February 12 2012
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are paired together in Sunday's final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The two PGA TOUR stars are in the penultimate group and will start the day behind 54-hole leader Charlie Wi. Woods is four shots back; Mickelson is six back.
Here are a few things to consider as Woods and Mickelson prepare for the 30th time they've been paired together as pros:
> Of those previous 29 times, nine have been in the final round. Woods has gone on to win three times; Mickelson has emerged the winner two times. Outside of their first final-round pairing -- the 1997 PGA Championship, in which each finished tied for 29th -- Mickelson has never finished outside the top 10 on the leaderboard when paired with Tiger in the final round; Tiger, meanwhile has only finished outside the top 10 one other time, at the 2010 BMW Championship. ( see chart at bottom)
> Amazingly, their stroke averages for those nine previous final-round pairings are identical -- 69.33. Mickelson and Woods have each taken 624 strokes when paired together in the final round. Mickelson has shot the better final-round score the last four times.
> No active PGA TOUR player has won more multiple-course events than Mickelson. Twelve of his 39 career wins have come at events in which multiple courses were used. Woods is second on that active list with 11. Mickelson has won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am three times; Woods has won it once, in 2000 (the same year he also won the U.S. Open when it was played solely at Pebble Beach).
> Each is hoping to get off to a good start in order to put early pressure on Wi, who is seeking his first TOUR win.
"This golf course, you can come out and get a quick start, make some birdies and when that happens, it's tough to follow suit a few groups behind," Mickelson said. "So I'm in a nice situation where if I can get a hot hand early, I can make a run on the leaderboard."
Having two par-5 holes among the first six at Pebble Beach should allow for a quick start. That might play more into Woods' hands -- He's 8 under on the par 5s this week, while Mickelson is 4 under. On Saturday at Pebble Beach, Woods birdied the second hole and parred the sixth; Mickelson bogeyed the second hole and parred the sixth.
> According to ShotLink, no player has been better with their irons this week than Woods. Through three rounds, Tiger has hit a field-leading 43 of 54 greens in regulation (tying him with Jason Kokrak). The last time Woods hit 43 or more greens thru 54 holes of a non-major was at the 2009 Buick Open (which he went on to win).
But a note of caution -- in his previous start at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour, Woods hit 46 of his first 54 greens in regulation to take the 54-hole lead, but then hit just five greens in the final round to finish third.
> Woods has not won a TOUR event since the 2009 BMW Championship, but he seems on the verge of ending that drought. He won his limited-field Chevron World Challenge event in December and has owned or shared the 54-hole lead in three of his last five starts, including at Abu Dhabi.
Woods realizes the more times he keeps putting himself in this position, he'll eventually get back to his winning ways.
"That's why we play is to be there and that's why I train as hard as I do and practice as hard as I do is to put myself in those positions," he said. "And when you're not in those positions, it's frustrating because the majority of the time when we play golf, we are not in those positions. That's the tough part of our sport.
"So of late, I've been putting myself in these positions, and it feels good."
> Making up four shots will be difficult, but as we've seen the last two weeks, no 54-hole lead is safe. Woods has come-from-behind 20 times in the final round to win PGA TOUR events; Mickelson has 16 come-from-behind wins.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson tee off at 12:29 p.m. ET on Sunday. You can follow their round on ShotTracker by clicking here.
WOODS-MICKELSON FINAL-ROUND PAIRINGS
|Year||Tournament||Woods score (finish)||Mickelson score (finish)|
|2010||BMW Championship||70 (15th)||67 (8th)|
|2009||WGC-HSBC Champions*||72 (6th)||69 (Won)|
|2009||Masters||68 (6th)||67 (5th)|
|2007||Deutsche Bank Championship||67 (2nd)||66 (Won)|
|2005||Ford Championship at Doral||66 (Won)||69 (2nd)|
|2003||Buick Invitational||68 (Won)||72 (4th)|
|2002||TOUR Championship||70 (7th)||69 (5th)|
|2001||Masters||68 (Won)||70 (3rd)|
|1997||PGA Championship||75 (29th)||75 (29th)|
* – not an official PGA TOUR event