Tiger Woods & Phil Mickelson- Two Big Contenders for the 2010 Bridgestone Invitational

The number one ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, Tiger Woods, has been questioned after his latest competitions. However, Woods arrives at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational as a leading candidate for the title.

The golf betting entities still have Tiger Woods standing as the favourite even after Woods’ poor performances, which is the reason the overall ranking between Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Lee Westwood has been reduced.

Woods accumulated 9.47 points, while Mickelson and Westwood have 9.24 and 9.04, respectively.

On his part, Phil Mickelson is one of the most recognized figures in the sport and will return to Northern Ohio to participate for the 18th consecutive year in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, taking into account that the American golfer has participated in this event since 1992.

In addition, the professional golfer has won four major championships, the last of which was won in April, when Phil Mickelson won the 2010 Masters Tournament.

However, since the Bridgestone Invitational became a World Golf Championship event in 1999, Mickelson has failed in his attempts to win it.

On the other hand, after missing five months and despite the dramatic return, Woods has arrived as a big favourite to this year’s tournaments.

For the 2010 Bridgestone Invitational, Tiger Woods will try to get his first win since he was involved in his infidelity scandals of last November.

However, we can’t expect that much, considering Woods has failed in his attempt to achieve a victory in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and at the British Open this year. But despite all this, he remains ranked as number one in the overall standings.

Finally, this will be a tournament that promises a lot of action, in which Woods will attempt to recover his good level of golf, but in which he will have a major contender that could remove him from the top of the table, Phil Mickelson.

Phil Mickelson wins HSBC Champions Tournament

phil mickelson
phil mickelson

Phil Mickelson won the HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai by one shot to become the first player to win the tournament twice, his first win was in 2007, and also to end what has been a distracting year for the American, having taken time out to care for both his wife and mother who were both diagnosed with cancer during the year.

South African Ernie Els mounted pressure on Mickelson by hitting a stupendous round of nine under par 63, claiming a course record, but he was unable to unseat the leader and was left to ponder what might have been when he hit his only bogey of the day on the 18th after hitting his approach shot into the water in front of the green.

Tiger Woods had a less than impressive final day ending five shots behind the leader and one behind fifth placed Nick Watney, who had shared the lead at the half way stage.

Ryan Moore finished the tournament in third place, followed by Rory McIlroy in fourth, finishing on 14 under par and boosting his Race to Dubai bid and equalling the course record of 63 in the process.

Phil Mickelson said after the win;

“It feels terrific. It’s my last event of the year and to finish the year like this is just wonderful. Ernie and Rory McIlroy played one of the greatest rounds and I was fortunate to come out on top. It feels good because I had to fight very hard.”

Woods & Watney share Shanghai lead at half way stage

200px-tiger_woods_drives_by_allisonTiger Woods carded a consecutive five under par 67 to take a share of the lead with Nick Watney in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, at the half way stage.

Watney who had led the first days play, struggled a little on the second day hitting a two under 70 to keep a share of the lead with Woods, both now 10 under overall.

The chasing pack sit just one shot behind the leaders and include world number two Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore and Alvaro Quiros, with Anthony Kim occupying third place on 8 under overall.

German Race to Dubai contender Martin Kaymer fell away with a two-over 74 to drop six shots back, while European money list leader Lee Westwood is tied for 23rd place at three under after two solid but unspectacular rounds.

Englishmen Ross Fisher and Paul Casey join Martin Kaymer on four under and six shots off the lead.

Although Watney could not match his first round score, both he and Woods produced four birdies on the back nine. Woods was frustrated earlier in the day with his putting, but ended in fine form, he said after day two;

“I got off to a good start and birdied the very first hole, but after that, I didn’t really make any putts. I certainly had some looks at them and didn’t really capitalise on anything and made a putt at nine and from then on I hit a lot of good putts and played the last 10 holes in five under.

It was a little bit frustrating not holing the putts, but the guys weren’t really running off and hiding and I knew that if I could play the back nine in three under that would be a pretty good number and I was able to do a couple better than that.”

Tiger Woods wins World Golf Championship

200px-tiger_wood_picturePadraig Harrington led the World Golf Championship by three shots from Tiger Woods going into the final round, but a disastrous 16th hole saw the Irishman’s hopes of another title disappear.

Harrington seemed to suffer more than Woods when a slow play call from referee John Paramor was made against the pair. Harrington’s fourth shot on the 16th ended in the pond guarding the green, effectively handing the win to Woods who finished the round 12 under for his seventh victory in the event.

Both Harrington and Woods felt that Paramor’s call had influenced the outcome of the game, the 33 year old American said;

“I’m sorry that John got in the way of a great battle because it was such a great battle for 16 holes,We’re going at it head-to-head and unfortunately that happened. I think being on the clock influenced Paddy. I’m sure he would have taken a lot more time on his third shot to try to figure out how to play it, where to place the next one.”

Harrington who finished the tied in second place with Australian Robert Allenby, said;

“When you’re out of position, it’s difficult to be on the clock, I was out of position on the tee shot, second shot and third shot. I was in trouble every time and it just puts a little bit of added doubt into the equation.It certainly knocked me out of my comfort zone, but there are rules. The players make the rules and we’ve got to apply them.”

In a statement European Tour chief referee John Paramor said:

“Padraig and Tiger’s group were 13 minutes over time through 11 holes.We could have put them on the clock at the 13th but we opted to cut them a bit of slack due to problems up at the 16th green at that time. .”

Phil Mickelson set to overtake Tiger Woods

After all of the hype surrounding Tiger Woods’ return to competitive action, it has been a relatively disappointing start to 2009 for the American.

Defeat in the Accenture Match Play Championship second round was followed by a struggle for consistency at the WGC-CA Championship a couple of weeks ago.

The latest twist is that, ahead of the US Masters, he could be overtaken in the rankings by Phil Mickelson. The gap between the two has decreased to 0.2 points in the last few weeks, presenting Phil Mickelson with an opportunity to become the No.1 ranked golfer for the first time.

The scenario for this to happen is for Tiger Woods to finish outside the top two of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Bay Hill. Then, when Phil Mickelson returns to action next week, he will have the chance to leapfrog his fellow American at the Houston Open.

It would mean that Tiger Woods would be stripped of his No.1 ranking for the first time in 198 weeks. Even though it comes on the back of being eight months out injured, this will still be significant for both players.

Tiger Woods – who managed to hold onto the No.1 spot throughout his injury – will not enjoy the fact that his great rival Phil Mickelson could overtake him in the rankings.

Phil Mickelson on the other hand will be ecstatic. It is what he has been aiming for during the last few years and you just know he is going to enjoy every moment should the next couple of weeks work in his favour.

Nothing is certain as yet though as it all depends on where Tiger Woods finishes in this week’s Arnold Palmer event. It would come as no surprise if the 33-year-old turned on the style and won the tournament to prevent Phil Mickelson having his moment of glory.

Tiger Woods often performs when he really, really needs to and this may well be the case again in the next few days. He may see victory in Bay Hill as the springboard for his return to form and this can only be a good thing for golf.

Good luck Tiger!