Phil Beats Tiger at Deutsche Bank

Solomon Kane

Jul 3, 2006
This would've been happier news at a Major, of course, but it's still a legitimate head-to-head victory. The press, to its credit, acknowledges this.

Mickelson turns in playoff performance to beat Tiger

September 3, 2007

AP - Sep 3, 6:29 pm EDT
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NORTON, Mass. (AP) -- Phil Mickelson is back on his game, and it was good enough to take down Tiger Woods.

Going head-to-head with Woods for the first time in 18 months, Mickelson buried the world's No. 1 player on the front nine and held him off down the stretch Monday to close with a 5-under 66 and win the Deutsche Bank Championship by two shots.

It was the first victory for Mickelson since The Players Championship in May, when he looked ready to make another run at Woods. Then came a wrist injury that cost him his summer, and only recently has Mickelson been able to swing without flinching.

The pain on this Labor Day belonged to Woods.

He couldn't make a putt on the front nine, and couldn't make enough when he was trying to make up ground. Woods had four putts for eagle on the TPC Boston, and picked up only three shots. He wound up with a 67 -- despite taking 32 putts -- and tied for second with Arron Oberholser (69) and Brett Wetterich (70), who were afterthoughts while playing in the final group.


The buzz outside Beantown was clearly on the two biggest names in golf, and Mickelson relished this victory.

"For 10 years I've struggled against Tiger," Mickelson said. "This sure feels great to go head-to-head ... and over the last five or six holes when he's making a run, it was fun to match him with birdies."

Mickelson finished at 16-under 268 and earned $1.26 million, moving him atop the standings in the PGA Tour Playoffs.

But after dispatching of Woods, Mickelson picked his next battle with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. He said he might not play next week outside Chicago at the BMW Championship, saying he owed it to the tour but that Finchem had not fulfilled some requests that Mickelson has made. He did not elaborate.

If Mickelson were to play at Cog Hill, he again would be paired with Woods the first two days. That might be incentive enough the way he handled Woods at the TPC Boston, staying ahead of him the first two rounds and playing his best when it mattered.

Mickelson, who moved back to No. 2 in the world with his 32nd career victory, took only 23 putts in the final round and built a five-shot lead at the turn. Woods had ample opportunity to close the gap, especially when Mickelson took double bogey on the 12th hole, but he never got closer than two shots.

Mickelson matched his birdie on the 16th to stay two ahead, Woods missed from 10 feet on the 17th, and Lefty effectively locked up the victory with his chip from behind the 18th green to 4 feet for his final birdie.

"Unfortunately, I just didn't make enough putts to really push him," Woods said.

Wetterich started the final round with a one-shot lead and didn't make a birdie until the 16th hole. His birdie on the last hole gave him enough points to move up 29 spots to No. 22, giving him an excellent shot at making the Tour Championship.

AP - Sep 3, 6:24 pm EDT
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Oberholser was within one shot of Mickelson most of the back nine, but he needed an eagle on the final hole to force a playoff, then missed a 10-foot birdie putt when the tournament was sealed. He moved up to No. 29 in the playoff standings; had he made the birdie putt, he would have gone to No. 20 and clinched a spot at East Lake for the Tour Championship.

John Mallinger and Bo Van Pelt moved into the top 70 to advance to the third round next week in Chicago.

Woods and Mickelson played together for the third time this week, but the final round put an end to the chatter, and seemed to double the size of the gallery that had followed them around the first two days of the tournament.

Woods twice was in position to apply some pressure on Lefty and both times failed, a sign of things to come. Woods had a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5 second hole that he left short, and a 65-foot eagle putt on the 298-yard fourth hole that he three-putted for par.

Mickelson, who matched Woods' birdie at No. 2 with a nifty pitch, hit his bunker shot on No. 4 just onto the fringe about 15 feet away and made that for birdie. Mickelson stretched his margin over Woods to three shot with an approach on No. 5 into about 4 feet.

Woods had another advantage on the par-5 seventh, his third putt for eagle on the front nine. He two-putted for birdie, but Mickelson matched him again with a long bunker shot to 6 feet.

The difference in their games was largely on the greens. Mickelson took only 11 putts on the front nine, including a 12-foot par save on the sixth when he flew the green. Woods had 17 putts, the longest he made was 4 feet for par on the third hole.

Woods fell five shots behind at the turn, and even when Mickelson gave him a slight opening, the world's No. 1 player stumbled trying to bust through the door.

Despite holding a three-shot lead over Oberholser -- and still five over Woods -- Mickelson went at the flag on No. 12 and came up short into the hazard. Mickelson chipped up to 5 feet and missed to make double bogey. Woods had a prime chance to make it a three-shot swing, but his 15-foot birdie was well off line.

And this came one hole after Woods missed an 8-foot birdie, as Lefty made from 6 feet for par.

Woods tried to keep it interesting with a 40-foot birdie on the 14th hole to get within two shots, but that was as close as Mickelson allowed him to get. The key shot came on the par-3 16th, after Woods hit 8-iron into 10 feet. Mickelson followed with an 8-iron that never left the flag and stopped 6 feet below the hole.


Hall of Famer
Oct 15, 2004
Yeah nice win for Phil, not a big stage but it was head to head. Tiger was playing from behind and as we have mentioned here before he is not the type of golfer to make a charge. I wished I would have watched it.

Don Wassall

Staff member
Sep 30, 2004
It was a big event, the second of four tournaments in the PGA's first ever playoffs.
<H1 _extended="true">Rivalry Renewed</H1>
Woods and Mickelson's duel at the Deutsche Bank was golf's finest hour in 2007
By Gary Van Sickle<BR _extended="true">Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated<BR _extended="true">Published: September 03, 2007
NORTON, Mass. â€â€￾ Phil Mickelson watched a no-hitter Saturday night at Fenway Park, a magical show of baseball history.
On Monday, he competed in a nearly perfect game at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, a magical show of potential golf history. The FedEx Cup playoffs have some flaws, but a scintillating final-round duel between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson cures just about anything.
Mickelson shot a five-under-par 66 to finish at 16 under and knock the king of golf off his perch, at least temporarily. He finished two shots ahead of Woods, Brett Wetterich and Arron Oberholser to take the lead in the FedEx Cup points race for the $10 million deferred annuity. Last week's winner, Steve Stricker, fell to second in the FedEx standings, and Woods is third.
It's been a long time since Boston witnessed a tee party like this. With apologies to Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, Padraig Harrington and every other winner this year, Labor Day at the Deutsche Bank Championship blew them all away. This was golf's finest hour in 2007.
We've waited years for a Tiger vs. Phil rivalry to really blossom, or at least take center stage. Monday, those dreams came true. As they used to say in the beer commercials, it doesn't get any better than this.
If this FedEx Cup gimmick eventually gains traction, and after this day it seems like it probably will, golf historians will point to this round. It wasn't quite a Duel in the Sun like Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson had at Turnberry in 1977, but it'll do. Then again, if the FedEx Cup dies on the vine, historians may point to this day, too.
At the award ceremony on the 18th green, Mickelson hinted that he may not play the third leg of the FedEx Cup series this week at Cog Hill. He didn't blame fatigue, like Woods did before he skipped The Barclays, but he mentioned requests he'd made that were not fullfilled by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. He did not elaborate.
Later, Mickelson said he wanted to be home when his daughters started school next week. He said he hadn't made a decision on whether to play the BMW Championship but that he was going to Chicago to fulfill a corporate outing Tuesday. Mickelson added that he would play the Tour Championship in Atlanta even if he skipped the BMW.
His comments cast a cloud over an otherwise remarkable day in the FedEx Cup playoffs, a day when Mickelson and Woods may have officially established a real rivalry. Woods made a charge with birdies on three of the last five holes, but Mickelson answered, making birdies on two of the last three to hold him off.
One precise moment may have made the difference. Woods had just holed a monster 40-foot birdie putt at the 14th hole to cut Mickelson's lead to two shots. At the 16th, a par-3 guarded by a pond, Woods stuck his 8-iron shot to 10 feet and earned a roar that might have awakened even Paul Revere. Then Mickelson stepped up and carved his 8-iron to six feet, topping Woods. The next roar was probably heard at FedEx headquarters in Memphis.
A shot like that could be a career-turner, but Mickelson's career is already firmly established. It was his 32nd career victory, and his first since winning the Players in May. "To step up on 16 and knock it inside of him felt terrific," Mickelson said. "The next step is to try to go head-to-head in a major. Hopefully we'll have a chance to do that next year."
The secret to a successful tournament is clearly to have Woods and Mickelson playing together, and in contention. Monday, they were paired in the next-to-last group behind Brett Wetterich and Arron Oberholser. The final duo served as an afterthought to the Woods-Mickelson showdown, but give them credit. In the end, Wetterich and Oberholser tied for second with Woods at 14 under par, two shots behind Mickelson. Oberholser was the last man with a chance to catch Mickelson, but his chip for eagle on No. 18 came up short.
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Jul 30, 2005
Off topic but...

Did you guys see Zach Johnson shoot a 60(!) yesterday?
Mar 27, 2006
Poacher said:
Off topic but...

Did you guys see Zach Johnson shoot a 60(!) yesterday?

That 60 was an incredible performance. I think i heard them mention that only 23 other players have ever shot 60 or better on the tour.

It put him back in contention and earned him a nice paycheck.