Rivalry Between Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson Won't Continue at Pebble Beach

Bruce HorovitzContributor IIIFebruary 7, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 15:  (L-R) Tiger Woods of the United States and Phil Mickelson of the United States look on from the 14th hole during the second round of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 15, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If the early leg of the PGA Tour is any indication, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson could be set to renew their rivalry as the game’s preeminent and most popular players.

With their individual victories over the past two weeks, Woods and Mickelson have served noticed that  2013 could be a year to remember for the PGA Tour.

But we will have to wait.

Last month at the weather-delayed Farmers Insurance Open, Woods dominated the field and had an eight-stroke lead with five holes to play before a sloppy finish left him with a four-shot victory over Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater. It was Woods’ eighth victory at Torrey Pines.

A week later, Mickelson flirted with an opening-round 59 en route to a wire-to-wire victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Unfortunately, Woods’ absence from this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where Mickelson is the defending champion, brings a temporary halt to some early season drama between these two veteran rivals.

Last year, Mickelson was paired with Woods in the final round at the AT&T Pro-Am and shot a 64 to win the tournament. Woods shot 75 and finished in a tie for 15th.

A renewal of the Woods-Mickelson rivalry would be a tremendous shot in the arm for the PGA Tour. No two golfers have dominated the game in the past decade like Tiger and Phil. It’s been a long time since both have been at the top of their game at the same time.

Meanwhile, the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy, has yet to make his PGA Tour debut this season while last year’s FedEx Cup winner, Brandt Snedeker, is already off to a hot start in 2013 with three top-five finishes.

It all shapes up to be an exciting and dramatic year for the PGA Tour…one worth waiting for.