Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Mickelson-Woods Rivalry Is Starting To Heat Up

A little over a month ago, I commented on Phil "FIGJAM" Mickelson hiring Tiger Woods' former hitting coach, Butch Harmon, and subsequently winning The Players Championship. At that time, it seemed like a friendly rivalry was being born, but Harmon's latest comments have added some HGH to this baby. With reference to Mickelson taking the #1 world ranking away from Tiger, Harmon had this to say:

"Tiger's got a big lead as No. 1 in the world so it'll take a couple of years but I think he can and I think he will actually," said Harmon, 63, hired by Mickelson a few months ago to re-do the southpaw's swing.

Not to belittle Mickelson's accomplishments, but Harmon, better than anyone, has to know how much Tiger has dominated the #1 world ranking spot. As of right now, he's been ranked #1 for a total of 446 weeks, and his current streak at #1 started back on June 12, 2005. Since turning pro in 1996, he has finished the year ranked #1 eight times, Greg Norman('96 & '97) and Vijay Singh('04) are the only other golfers to finish ranked #1 turning that span.

While it is nice for Harmon to voice his full support for Mickelson, it does seem rather unlikely that he will be the golfer to overtake the #1 ranking from Tiger. Harmon said that he believes it will take years, but Mickelson is currently 36(5 years older than Tiger) and he's not getting any younger. Eventhough I find it doubtful that Mickelson will be able to move up to #1 and finish the year there, it does add one more element to the Mickelson-Woods rivalry heading into the U.S. Open next weekend.

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