Woods and Mickelson all square together

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Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been very even in their history when paired together.Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Masters champion Bubba Watson will play together in the 1st and 2nd rounds of this week’s U.S. Open (ESPN), and will certainly be the pairing to watch in the early stages. The trio will tee off at 10:33 ET Thursday and 4:18 ET Friday, the ninth time Woods and Mickelson will play together in a major. The last time the two played the 1st and 2nd rounds together in a major was the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which was won by Woods.

Overall these two have been very even when playing together. Woods and Mickelson have been paired together 30 times in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event, and their scoring averages have been nearly identical (Mickelson at 69.97, Woods at 69.53). Woods has posted the better score in 13 of 30 rounds, the same total as Mickelson (same score in four of 30 rounds).

Lately, however, Woods has not faired well when paired with Mickelson. Since 2007, Woods and Mickelson have played 12 rounds together, and Mickelson has had a better score in eight of the 12. In that span, his scoring average is 69.08, while Woods' is 70.16. In fact, Woods has not broken 70 in any of the last six rounds.

Winner of Masters and U.S. Open - Same Season

The last time Woods and Mickelson played together was the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Woods shot a 3-over 75, while Mickelson shot a near-flawless 64 and won the tournament. Woods lost 4.41 strokes on the green that day, missing seven putts under 10 feet, while Mickelson gained 4.56 strokes, making all 14 putts of 10 feet or less.

As for Watson, 15 different players have won both the U.S. Open and Masters in their career, but no player has done it in the same season since Woods in 2002. Before that, the last player to accomplish the feat was Jack Nicklaus back in 1972. The good news for Watson is that seven of the last 10 Masters champions have finished among the top 10 in the U.S. Open that same year.