Mickelson shows no fear of Woods



PHIL Mickelson is halfway towards the chronological Grand Slam after two straight major victories, but it's still premature to mention him in the same breath as Tiger Woods. Mickelson showed beyond doubt with his two-shot victory at the 70th Masters yesterday that he's no longer intimidated and overawed by Woods or anyone else in major championships. The old Mickelson, the one who made a critical error or two down the stretch in so many major championships, has disappeared, replaced by an assured, battle-hardened competitor who wins majors the old-fashioned way, not by doing anything miraculous, but by waiting for his opponents to crumble.

That's what happened at Augusta National yesterday as, one by one, the dozen-or-so players who were in contention at various stages of the final round all made a crucial mistake or more, Woods included.

Mickelson, by contrast, did not have a bogey until the final hole, and it was only academic by then as he shot 69 to finish at seven-under-par 281, two strokes ahead of South African Tim Clark, with Woods another shot back in a five-way tie for third.

If there was a watershed moment in Mickelson's career, it was when he won here two years ago, his first major title at his 47th attempt.

It's obvious that since that day he has been a different player, certainly more relaxed and confident.



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