Saturday, February 11, 2012
Updated: February 13, 11:59 AM ET
What does Tiger Woods need to fix?
Phil Mickleson brought home his 40th PGA Tour victory in dramatic fashion Sunday, overcoming a 6-shot deficit at the start of the final round to win by 2 strokes. All the while, Lefty did it playing alongside Tiger Woods and besting the former World No. 1 by 11 shots on Sunday alone.
Our panel of experts on site at Pebble Beach share their insights to how the final round went down.
1. Does Phil Mickelson have Tiger Woods' number given Lefty's recent success against the former world No. 1?
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: It sure seems that way. Phil used to struggle against Tiger, but since 2007 he is 8-3-1 in head-to-head matchups and 5-0 in final rounds.
Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle golf writer: Mickelson seems driven to prove himself in Woods' presence, outplaying him each of the past five times they have played together in the final round. So, yes, Mickelson has Tiger's number -- but all it takes is one great round by Woods to reverse the trend.
Sarah Turcotte, ESPN The Magazine senior writer: I'm not sure he has his number. They were both chasing someone else today. Phil was just much better. It was a blowout after No. 12.
Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN.com senior national columnist: I guess you could say that, though Mickelson is the first to say that Tiger used him as a floor mat for years. But it's clear that Phil relishes these matchups against Tiger and isn't the least bit intimidated by Woods.
2. What was the signature moment of Mickelson's victory?
Bob Harig: The par save at 12. For the first time all day, Mickelson appeared in trouble. He missed the green badly, hit a poor chip and looked certain to make a bogey, which would drop him into a tie for the lead and just three ahead of Woods. But the putt fell.
Ron Kroichick: The early charge put Mickelson in control of the tournament, but his 31-foot, par-saving putt at No. 12 counts as the signature moment in my mind. If a putt could talk, this one shouted, "Sorry, Tiger, don't even think about a comeback. I'm not Matt Gogel."
Sarah Turcotte: The par save at 12 was the key. Mickelson's pars were more impressive than his birdies on Sunday. To hole that 30-plus footer on top of Tiger's birdie from the trap zapped any momentum Woods might have had and fired Phil way up. He didn't look back after that.
Gene Wojciechowski: I'll go with what Phil said, and he said the eagle at No. 6 was the game-changer on Sunday. He took the lead, was bursting with confidence and essentially cruised in from there. It was as impressive of a performance as you'll ever see.
3. What does Tiger Woods have to fix, if anything, to get over the hump for that first official win since Nov. 2009?
Bob Harig: He appears to have difficulty fixing putting woes mid-round. He missed a short one on the second hole Sunday and never recovered. He lamented his inability to get comfortable. The missed two-footer at the seventh was a killer.
Ron Kroichick: Stop us if this sounds familiar, but he needs to hole putts like Old Tiger. He's clearly getting the hang of his reshaped, Sean Foley-taught swing. But Old Tiger doesn't miss a 2-foot, 8-inch putt, as he did Sunday on No. 7. It was almost sad to watch.
Sarah Turcotte: He has to get everything going at once. It seemed like all week he had most of the elements of his game right where he wanted them, but not at the same time. To win at this level, he needs to keep hitting his driver online, strike the ball well and make his putts. He is close, very close.
Gene Wojciechowski: He has to fix whatever self-doubts he has. His swing looks good (Phil even said so), but there seems to be some sort of psychological hurdle Tiger has to jump over. But I'm sticking to my prediction: He WILL win this year.
4. What surprised you the most from Tiger this week?
Bob Harig: The poor putting on Sunday. He played nicely in all aspects through 54 holes and probably left a few shots out there. He easily could have been a shot or two out of the lead. But to miss five putts inside of 5 feet? It set the tone for a bad day.
Ron Kroichick: His body language in Sunday's final round. He was visibly demoralized and exasperated, almost beaten through seven holes. What happened to Angry, Determined Tiger?
Sarah Turcotte: I was surprised that he was such a good partner. His body language wasn't always good, but he was supportive of Romo, and very cordial to Mickelson's partner, a high handicapper. Slow play in a circus-like atmosphere when he's struggling is a nightmare for Woods, but he was very gracious to the end.
Gene Wojciechowski: I said that he probably wouldn't win this week, but I was stunned by how ordinary he played Sunday. It was as if he was resigned to the fact that he couldn't challenge Phil. He didn't give up (he never gives up), but it was an uninspired effort.