Tiger Woods praises Phil Mickelson for first title win in five years

Phil Mickelson’s win at last week’s World Golf Championship has also had a surprisingly profound effect on one of his old rivals, Tiger Woods. 

It was Mickelson’s first tournament victory in five years as he defeated world No. 2 Justin Thomas in an enthralling play-off in Mexico. 

The 47-year-old’s previous triumph came at the Open at Muirfield back in 2013 but his remarkable return to form has inspired Woods to contemplate his own chances of success in the future.

“I thought it was great,” said Woods, ahead of the Valspar Championship this week.

“Phil has been playing well. He played well at the end of last year and got off to a great start this year. He’s been in contention a few times.

“What he did on Sunday was very, very cool to watch. It was a big putt at 16 down the hill just to tie Justin in the clubhouse, which gave him two free holes to win the golf tournament.

“Then he put the pressure on Justin in the play-off, put it right there pin high and hit a beautiful putt.

“What Phil is doing is showing us we can still do it later on in our careers. Davis did it at 51, I believe, Phil at 47. I think Kenny Perry won a handful of events close to 45, 46.

“So there are a few guys that can do it late in their career. For me, I’m ecstatic to have a chance to play again and to have a chance to win golf tournaments and compete.”

Woods is set to take part in this week’s Valspar Championship and will look to further boost his confidence in a bid to return to his former championship winning form. 

The four-time PGA Championship winner was sidelined for the latter part of 2017 having undergone back surgery but has carefully managed his return to action. 

Since his latest comeback, Woods has risen up the rankings from 1,199th to 668th – the highest jump of his career.  

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