Phil Mickelson’s first foray into the senior circuit led to his first tournament victory in more than a year.
Tiger Woods believes it could just be the start.
While Woods was preparing for the FedEx Cup playoffs, his longtime rival on the PGA Tour kicked off his PGA Tour Champions career — for golfers 50 years old and over — by winning the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National on Wednesday.
“He was already one of the longest hitters out here (on the PGA Tour) and now he goes to where he’s going to pick up a huge advantage off the tee,” Woods told reporters Wednesday ahead of the BMW Championship and Mickelson’s final round. “But you have to take advantage of that opportunity off the tee. His wedge game is off the charts, every wedge in there he’s going to put it inside of 10, 15 feet each and every time. Hole those, get momentum and keep it going.
“There’s no reason why he can’t win every event he plays out there. He’s got such a big advantage over the rest of the field just with sheer length.”
Mickelson ran away with the victory in his PGA Tour Champions debut, shooting 22-under par. His 191 total tied the lowest score in the tour’s history for a 54-hole event.
The 50-year-old lefty had been playing in the FedEx Cup playoffs as recently as last weekend, when he missed the cut at The Northern Trust and was eliminated from contention. Still, Woods took notice of his strong play at Ozarks National.
“(He’s) playing unbelievable golf,” Woods said. “He said he’s been close to playing well.”
Since winning the British Open in 2013, Mickelson has won just two tournaments on the PGA Tour.
As for the 44-year-old Woods, who has won just three events since 2013 — one of them the 2019 Masters — while battling back injuries, he is not yet thinking about a potential dip into the senior circuit.
“Well, there was a time in which I didn’t think I would play out here again (because of back troubles), so I’m just enjoying what I have here, and that’s six years away,” Woods said. “That’s a long time. I’ve only been back for a few years. I’m looking forward to just playing out here and being part of the guys out here.”