Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Who is the G.O.A.T of Golf?

Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Who is the G.O.A.T of Golf?

Kenneth Mwenda
July 17, 2022 at 6:58 PM

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are among the top two greatest golfers of all time. Since their lives and careers are inextricably linked, the complicated correlation between the two greatest players of their generation has captivated the golf world for decades. The two men, however, couldn't be more dissimilar. More information about the two golfers who have both won a number of major championship trophies can be found in this article than in any other.

Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Who is the G.O.A.T of Golf?
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods face-off during a press conference before The Match at Shadow Creek Golf Course on November 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Harry How
Source: Getty Images

Tiger Woods was born on December 30, 1975, in Cypress, California. He is an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Phil Mickelson was born on June 16, 1970, in San Diego, also in California.

Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson stats

Tiger is regarded as the best golfer of all time, but Phil isn't too far behind. Sources claim that Woods has won 15 major championships and 82 PGA Tour titles, while Mickelson has won six Majors and 45 PGA Tour titles.

Woods and Mickelson together have won major championship trophies more recently than Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. That is an incredibly impressive feat for anyone, much less two guys who began competing in PGA Tour events when their younger peers were still in diapers.

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The two have always been equally entwined. For example, Phil Mickelson defeated Tiger Woods 1-up in a winner-take-all match-play competition at the Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas in 2018 to win $9 million in prize money.

Nevertheless, Mickelson has never reached No. 1 in the world golf rankings, despite having won 45 Tour events, including six majors, and earning nearly $100 million in prize money alone. This is despite spending five years as No. 2 — always behind Woods — and spending 700 weeks in the top 10.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson stats
Tiger Woods (L) and Phil Mickelson (R) wait on the second tee during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on February 12, 2012 in Pebble Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Gross
Source: Getty Images

Woods won his fifth Masters in 2019 after going without a major since 2008 when he won the US Open despite having a broken leg. Meanwhile, Mickelson became the oldest major champion ever when he won the PGA Championship at 50.

Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson rivalry

They don't have a traditional rivalry between them. Woods has known about Mickelson for as long as he has existed, and vice versa.

There are some similarities between the two men. Both of them were born in California and had lofty aspirations.

Woods, 46, is a mixed-race athlete whose parents took out a second mortgage to help him succeed in the sport. Mickelson, 51, is a white country club kid whose father was an airline pilot. Woods is renowned for being distant and standoffish, while Mickelson is known for signing autographs until his pen runs out of ink.

Woods, a Vietnam War veteran and a Thai mother, began receiving golf training as soon as he could walk. He had a $40 million contract from Nike and Titleist waiting for him when he turned pro in 1996, just two years after leaving Stanford University.

A superstar collegiate golfer at Arizona State University, Mickelson was a right-hander who played left-handed. He developed his game in his private practice facility in his backyard.

Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson Masters records

Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Masters records
File photo taken in 2005 shows Tiger Woods receiving the 2005 Masters green jacket from 2004 champion Phil Mickelson. Photo: Kyodo
Source: Getty Images

Tiger Woods has won five of his 15 major championships at Augusta, and each Masters victory has a unique backstory and memorable moments. At age 21, he claimed his first, which was historic in several ways.

In addition to winning the 1997 competition as the youngest player, Tiger made sports history by becoming the first black person to win one of the four major championships. It was in 2019 when he won his fifth Masters title and ended an 11-year wait for his 15th major with a stunning victory.

Even though it took him some time to claim his first victory in a major championship, Phil Mickelson also has a strong record at The Masters' Tournament. He is one of the greatest players in the history of the Masters tournament based on his record of victories, Top 5 finishes, and Top 10 finishes. In addition, he has triumphed in the Masters three times: in 2004, 2006, and 2010.

The only golfers with more Masters victories than Mickelson's three are Tiger Woods' 5, Jack Nicklaus' 6, and Arnold Palmer's 4. Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, Gary Player, and Nick Faldo are tied with Mickelson for the most victories with three.

Phil Mickelson vs Tiger Woods: Who is better?

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods: Who is better?
Phil Mickelson (L) and Tiger Woods meet during a preview day of the World Golf Championships on August 1, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. Photo: Sam Greenwood
Source: Getty Images

Since quite some time ago, Tiger and Phil have participated in PGA Tour events. Tiger began playing on the PGA Tour in 1996, while Phil did so in 1992. They had different careers, though. Since winning a major in 1997, Tiger has dominated the sport of golf.

Phil occasionally contributed his genius and achieved his first major victory in 2004. Could you guess who has performed best when grouped on the PGA Tour, though?

Tiger has shot a lower round 19 times, Phil 15 times, and they have tied four times as of July 2022, when they have been together on 38 occasions. This demonstrates that Tiger has had the upper hand thus far in this head-to-head conflict. Below is a table of their head to head records.

Occasions

Round

Tiger Woods

Phil Mickelson

2020 Zozo Championship

Fourth

74

78

2018 Players Championship

Second

71

73

2014 PGA Championship

First

72

79

Second

74

67

2013 Deutsche Bank Championship

First

74

69

Second

67

71

2012 U.S. Open

First

68

63

Second

70

71

2012 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

First

69

76

Fourth

75

64

2011 WGC-Cadillac Championship

Third

70

72

Second

74

71

First

70

73

2010 BMW Championship

Fourth

70

67

2009 Masters

Fourth

68

67

2008 U.S. Open

Second

68

75

First

72

71

2007 Deutsche Bank Championship

Fourth

67

66

Second

64

64

First

72

70

2006 PGA Championship

Second

68

71

First

69

69

2006 Ford Championship at Doral

Third

68

72

2005 Ford Championship at Doral

Fourth

66

69

2003 Buick Invitational

Fourth

68

72

2002 Tour Championship

Fourth

70

69

First

71

70

2001 Masters

Fourth

68

69

2001 Players Championship

Third

66

72

Occasions

Round

Tiger Woods

Phil Mickelson

2000 Tour Championship

First

68

67

2000 WGC-NEC Invitational

Third

67

69

2000 Buick Open

Third

67

65

1999 U.S. Open

Third

72

73

1998 Nissan Open

Second

73

76

First

68

67

1997 Tour Championship

Second

68

72

1997 NEC World Series of Golf

Second

72

72

1997 PGA Championship

Fourth

75

75

Phil Mickelson's net worth is thought to be less than Tiger Woods'. According to a previous Forbes report, Woods' net worth is reportedly at least $1 billion. He has earned $121 million in prize money more than any other professional golfer in history. In his prime, he topped Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes for ten years in a row, from 2008 to 2012.

Are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson friends?
Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Who is the G.O.A.T of Golf?
Phil Mickelson (L) and Tiger Woods (R) speak before The Match at Shadow Creek Golf Course on November 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Harry How
Source: Getty Images

Are Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods friends?
Phil Mickelson (L) and Tiger Woods (R) speak before The Match at Shadow Creek Golf Course on November 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Harry How
Source: Getty Images

Today, Woods and Mickelson are much more amicable, which the latter attributes to the 2016 Ryder Cup, where Mickelson served as a team member and woods as a non-playing assistant captain. Tiger and Phil were finally on the same team, which was probably a bigger leap for Woods than it was for Mickelson.

Despite their advancing years and issues off the golf course, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson remain the sport's biggest draws. Because of this, they were the only competitors in "The Match," a made-for-TV competition over 18 holes at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, which took place in 2018.

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Kenneth Mwenda
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