Graeme McDowell ruined any chances of that until at least Sunday.
“I saw Phil sneaking up the leaderboard there behind me and I [said], 'Let’s spoil that party,'" McDowell said of a conversation he had with his caddie Friday. "I’m sure they would have liked Tiger and Phil in the last group tomorrow."
Woods followed his opening-round 66 with a seven-under-par 65 on Friday to finish 36 holes at 13-under 131, two strokes ahead of McDowell. Mickelson and Steve Stricker, who worked with Woods on his putting stroke this week, are tied for third at 10 under.
“It’s good to see him putting well,” said Stricker, who suggested during practice Wednesday that Woods change his posture while putting to help keep his hands ahead of the ball on impact. “It’s good for us, it’s good for the game and it’s always good when he plays well. Unfortunately we are chasing him, so it’s going to be difficult.”
Woods hit all but three of 18 greens in regulation, landing in greenside bunkers when he wasn't in position to putt. He got up and down each time, finishing with 26 putts, nine for birdies.
“I’m playing well, and I made a bunch of putts,” Wood said. “But more importantly, I left myself in the right spots to make putts and I think that’s probably the biggest key. Just leave the ball in the correct spots where I could be aggressive and I’ve done that for the first two days.”
Which leaves Mickelson to try to make it a Tiger-Phil showdown Sunday. If McDowell doesn't interfere again Saturday.
“I hope that I play a good round and so does he, and we get a chance to get paired together in Sunday’s final round, because he seems to somehow bring out my best golf,” Mickelson said of playing against Woods.