Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson take different approaches on eve of PGA Championship

Stuart Franklin

After playing a brief practice round and hitting the range on Wednesday, Woods intended to take it easy until his early-morning tee time on Thursday. MIckelson, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen at Oak Hill on the day before a tourney.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson own 19 major championships between them, so it’s safe to say that each superstar knows how best to put the finishing touches on his preparations for the start of each tourney.

After playing holes 10 through 18 on Tuesday, Woods went out for a practice round on the other nine early Wednesday morning with fellow Sean Foley student, Hunter Mahan, and then hit the range for some additional work under the watchful eyes of his swing coach. Mickelson, on the other hand, got in a friendly 18 holes on Tuesday, teaming up with Rickie Fowler and taking on Peter Uihlein and Brooks Koepka, and was likely to let his caddie do the heavy lifting on the eve of the final major of the season.

While Jim Mackay was walking the course and gathering last-minute intel for Mickelson, who makes it a habit of eschewing practice rounds the day before an event, Woods was hitting balls and checking out video on Foley’s camera.

“Tiger likes to learn not only from his mechanics and how his technique plays into his execution of certain shots but also how other players that are working under the same instructor,” Golf Channel’s Notah Begay III explained about what Woods was looking at in between practice shots. “Everybody does it a little bit differently; they all have different planes, they have different body types, they have different mental approaches. I think that what Tiger is always doing as he’s working and trying to become the player that he wants to be is trying to learn at every possible opportunity.”

Which was all well and good, but Begay, who’s as familiar with Woods’ game as anyone, having played with him on the golf team at Stanford and maintaining a close friendship throughout the years, believed enough was enough.

“The best place for that camera right now is in Sean Foley’s bag,” Begay opined. “He doesn’t need to bring that out. His man won by seven shots last week [at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational].

“Let’s keep the camera in the bag," added Begay. "Let’s just give him a couple positive thoughts and send the guy out there. I think he’s ready to play well this week.”

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