Calling himself “good friends with both Tiger and Elin,” Phil Mickelson made his first public remarks today about the Tiger Woods situation. Steve Elling of CBSSports.com has Mickelson from a presser in San Diego:
“We’ve had limited communication with the Woodses, and I just feel like discussing any of that is just not appropriate. With the family, [I’m] not necessarily saying with who in the family.”
“I don’t want to talk about it publicly for the reason that we’re friends and we have a personal relationship, and I feel like it’s a violation of our trust and our relationship.
“The game of golf needs him to come back. It’s important for him to come back and be a part of the sport, but right now he’s got a lot more important things going on in his life.
“Amy and I are good friends with both Tiger and Elin, and we care deeply about how this turns out. But I’m going to choose not to talk about it publicly anymore, and I appreciate your understanding on that.”
I know a few golf reporters who would chuckle at Mickelson characterizing himself as a “good friend” of Woods. Their relationship has long been a source of debate and considering that they are the top rivals on the PGA Tour, no one would be surprised to find out that Mickelson isn’t all that close to Woods.
I think it’s reasonable to read Mickelson’s “with the family” reference as he and his wife have talked to Elin, but not Tiger.
I’ve heard a lot of folks say this is a golden opportunity for Mickelson to take the sport by the throat for himself, but I don’t see it. Mickelson has forever played down to his competition and I believe that having Woods on Tour actually makes Mickelson a better player.
While it would shock no one if Mickelson strung together some wins with Woods out, I don’t see him being any more dominant than he has been in the past. Hope I’m wrong though, it’d make for a great storyline when Woods does come back.