AUGUSTA, Ga. - Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were paired together for the final round of the 2009 Masters, each seven strokes behind the leader.
Then the two biggest names in golf put on the biggest show in golf. Mickelson shot a 67, Woods a 68.
Thursday, they were in different groups, but they both picked up where they left off, Mickelson with another 67 and Woods another 68.
For both the golf was equally impressive.
Mickelson is tied for second, seemingly with half the field, a shot behind Fred Couples.
"I just felt like we were going to go out and make some noise,'' Mickelson said about 2009, "and we both did.''
And about 2010?
"It's a good start,'' said Mickelson, a two-time Masters champion. "My expectations are high.''
He will be 40 in June and, as has been noted, his wife, Amy, is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She arrived two days ago from their home north of San Diego but did not feel well enough Thursday to come to Augusta National.
"They are totally different,'' Mickelson said of his 67s separated by 360 days. "Sunday is Sunday. It's just a different feel. Thursday is getting off to a good start. I needed a good, solid round because I've been putting myself behind early in tournaments and been having to almost force things.''
At 1 under par through 12 holes, Mickelson rammed a 6-iron onto the green for his second shot to the 510-yard par-5 13th and sank the 30-foot eagle putt. He followed with a 40-footer for a birdie on the par-4 14th and a 25-footer for a birdie on the par-5 15th, and just like that, he was 5 under.