As Tiger and Phil reflect on victories, eyes turn toward a November Masters

Phil Mickelson walks off a green at The Players Championship.
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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Anyone who tuned into CBS on Easter Sunday afternoon saw Tiger Woods win the Masters. No, not again. It was simply a replay of last year’s coverage, of course. The added bonus was that Woods and Jim Nantz—of “Hello, friends” Masters fame—sprinkled in live interviews throughout the round.

Nantz and Phil Mickelson did the same for the lefty’s epic win at Augusta National in 2004. That marked the long-awaited first major championship of Mickelson’s career.

Perhaps the most interesting and probably forgotten moment of the 2004 final round came on the 18th hole, when the fan favorite got an assist from playing partner Chris DiMarco. Although DiMarco was out of it at that point and Mickelson was tied with Ernie Els, DiMarco played an otherwise meaningless bunker shot directly behind where Mickelson’s ball sat on the green. Mickelson’s birdie putt was to win and avoid a playoff with Els. DiMarco, who was away, just went first barely missed his putt left to give the co-leader a perfect read.

“I tried to play more break,” Mickelson recalled. “It continued to break, though, and it looked like it was going to miss on the low end.”

But it did not miss, instead curling around the left edge and the back of the hole before disappearing. With that, the green jacket belonged to Mickelson.

“When you put the jacket on and you start to realize you are a part of the history of the game,” he started, “and that you get to come back to this special place every year and be part of that elite club that has the Champions Dinner every Tuesday night and congregate with all the past winners and hear stories about their time winning and other people playing and that you get to come back and be part of this event for the rest of your life, there’s no greater feeling as a professional golfer.”

There was arguably no greater triumph than Woods’ last spring. Eleven years following his last major victory (at the 2008 U.S. Open) and 14 after he last won in Augusta, he finally got the job done again.

Now Woods must wait at least seven more months for a chance to win it for a sixth time, as the coronavirus crisis has postponed the Masters from April to Nov. 12-15.

“This is not the way I wanted to have the jacket for a longer period of time,” he assured. “Come Masters Tuesday, after our Champions Dinner, we put our jackets back up in our lockers, and the next person who gets to take it off the grounds is the champion that particular week. So hopefully we’ll have it in November, and we’ll be able to compete for it.”

An Augusta National spokesman recently confirmed that the 2020 field is set at 96 players. If the PGA Tour resumes at some point prior to the November festivities, any golfer not yet qualified for the Masters who wins a tournament will get a spot in the 2021 event—not this year. Six amateurs are currently entered in the upcoming Masters and they must remain amateurs at least until that time if they want to maintain their qualification status.

Rory McIlroy is +700 favorite to win the Masters, followed by Jon Rahm (+1400), Brooks Koepka (+1600), and Justin Thomas (+1600). Woods is a +1800 fifth choice along with Dustin Johnson. Mickelson is +5500.

McIlroy is favored at each of the three majors this year (the British Open has already been cancelled). He is +800 to win the PGA Championship and +1000 at the U.S. Open. Woods is +1600 at the PGA Championship and +1800 to bag another U.S. Open title. Koepka is +1400 at each of the two majors other than the Masters.

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