AUGUSTA, Ga. - Daybreak at Augusta National brought together the two most prominent figures at the Masters, the first showdown of the week between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
OK, so it was only Tuesday. And it lasted only a split second.
Woods showed up on the first tee and looked back toward the putting green in Mickelson's direction.
“Let's go,” he said.
He was talking, of course, to Mark O'Meara, who picked up his golf balls and joined his buddy for a practice round.
It is easy to exaggerate the rivalry of Woods and Mickelson, especially at the Masters. Snapshots on late Sunday afternoon the last few years have been Mickelson slipping the green jacket on Woods, or vice versa. And while there are 97 players in this year's tournament, at times it seems as though there are only two.
Woods won in 2001 - oddly enough, the only time he has played with Mickelson in the final group at the Masters - and in 2002. Mickelson won his first major at the Masters in 2004. Woods answered with a playoff victory in 2005, Mickelson won in a walk in 2006.
It is reminiscent of the early 1960s, when Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus traded green jackets.
“I hope not,” Mickelson said, “because that would mean what I don't want it to mean this week.”
Woods is favored to continue the cycle this week based on recent history outside of the Masters.