He’s been through so much, you wonder how he will hold up in the chase to get the Green Jacket at the Masters in Augusta.
You wonder how he can concentrate on golf, with eyes looking upon him all the time. You cannot imagine the crush of media, all wanting answers to different questions. And you wonder when he we will have peace of mind and be able to enjoy the game he has played so well.
Tiger Woods? No. Phil Mickelson. Yes.
Both have their hands full at Augusta, with the course, the media, the fans and their personal lives.
They both used words this week like priorities, professionalism, renewed faith and goals. But for Phil, those words had one meeting. For Woods it was indeed something else.
They spoke of hope and humility. Phil has recognized it. Tiger is still searching for it.
Tiger’s story will never end. The illnesses in Phil’s family life, might.
Tiger is dealing with the seemingly day-by-day release of information about women he had affairs with. It has even brought a rebuke from Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne.
For Phil, there is only talk of support and sympathy over his wife’s ongoing battle with breast cancer, and the same fight his mother is dealing with simultaneously. The show of support with so many people wearing the color pink, the symbol of the cancer fight, is everywhere when he plays.
Rain and dark clouds seem everywhere, too, for both golfers. Tiger brought them on himself. He is ending his 144-day hiatus. Phil woke up and had to deal with the two issues in a seven-week span.
Imagine having to deal with the unknown. For Phil, it was the fear of the spreading cancer. For Woods it must have been where is the story breaking next and who is saying what about the things he did.
They are not the closest of friends. Mickelson has tried to give long-distance support, saying Tiger need not apologize to him for all of his transgressions. Travel the high road you would say. Tiger has never once mentioned Amy’s battle.
Woods has tried to travel the road of honesty with starts, stops and spurts. He may have answered 48 questions on Monday, but he left many unanswered in his latest public confessional. Phil, showing a human side, has spoken openly of the highs and lows of what he and his wife are dealing with.
It shall be interesting to watch the Masters to see if the two stars can be in the hunt by Sunday afternoon.
We know this. Amy Mickelson might visit on Sunday, but she is battling medications she is on, in her cancer fight. Elin won’t be there, by choice, still not reconnecting with the husband she thought she knew, but obviously did not.
The golf world has always wondered what it would be like to be like Tiger Woods. So dominant, so focused, so good.
I wonder if Tiger wishes he could be in Phil’s world right now, dealing with golf and a healing wife, rather than his own failures.
Phil used the funny quote when he blew a tourney a couple of years back with a gambled tee shot that did not work. “I am such an idiot” he said in the network television interview. Tiger should use that phrase now to describe his life and career.
Mickelson smiles. Woods glares. The golf world feels for Phil. There is such a bitterly split feeling about Tiger.
Here’s hoping that as the final shot is taken Sunday afternoon at historic Augusta National, the golfer’s wife and children will greet him coming off the green.
Maybe it will be Phil’s family. We know it won’t be Tiger’s. Two golfers in a very different world.
Lee Hamilton hosts “Sportwatch” (2-4pm) on XX-1090. His SDNN columns have been honored by the San Diego Press Club.