Thursday, April 13, 2006

Els Claims Mickelson, Not Woods, Has More Masters Wins In Him

Ernis Els is giving the edge, for the time being, to Phil as the man to beat at Augusta. Wow, who would have thought a few years ago that anybody outside Phil's family would ever say that let alone one of the world's best.

Here's the article from The Golf Channel on what Ernie had to say aboutit:

Ernie Els sees a shift at the Masters.

He suspects that Phil Mickelson -- with two Masters titles in three years -- may have eclipsed Tiger Woods as the golfer to beat at Augusta National.

"I think Phil has got the game there now," Els said Wednesday.

Els was the only one of golf's "Big Five" -- Mickelson, Woods, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen -- competing at the Verizon Heritage, which starts Thursday.

Els has witnessed Mickelson's Masters rise. Mickelson's breakthrough major came two years ago at Augusta National when his 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole sealed a one-stroke victory over Els.

Then last week, Els was paired with Mickelson for the first 36 holes as he steadily played himself into contention. Els was impressed with Mickelson's control off the tee, the trajectory of his irons and his continued wizardry around the greens.

Plus, Mickelson is no longer burdened with the question of when he'll win Augusta.

"He just goes out and goes about his business," Els said. "So I think Phil, almost more than Tiger, has got more Masters in him, maybe."

Mickelson will have to double his Masters' output to catch up with Woods' four green jackets. And both have work to do to tie Jack Nicklaus' record six Masters titles.

Chris DiMarco doesn't see a shift at the top at Augusta. He lost in a playoff to Woods there last year and says the course features are ready made for Tiger.

"Phil is a great player. I have a lot of respect for his game, it's awesome," DiMarco said. "But that course sets up great for Tiger. If (Woods) putted at all like he normally putts ... it would've been closer."

The article continues on about Ernie but the interesting part is about the respect he shows Mickelson and also how DiMarco weighs in on Tiger's side. Nobody else seems to be in the running.

Put on your best asbestos outfit, this long awiated and anticipated rivalry is starting to heat up.

Golf Times

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