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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
Woods plays down Mickelson 'feud'
Tiger Woods
Woods has won 11 major titles to Mickelson's three
World number one Tiger Woods has played down talk of a feud between himself and Phil Mickelson ahead of the USPGA Championship, which starts on Thursday.

Woods, who is reported to not get along with his US rival, will play the first two rounds with the world number two.

Woods said: "Obviously I get along better with some players better than others, that's just the way it is.

"Phil and I are competitors. We've gotten to know each other over the years and we're fine."

This week at Medinah will be only the second time Woods has played with Mickelson in a major tournament. US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia makes up the threesome.

The last time the pair played in the same group at a major was the final round of the 2001 Masters, the event which saw Woods complete his "Tiger Slam" of golf's four biggest tournaments.

We can go for a beer later - I'm trying to handle my business out there

Tiger Woods

This latest duel has been given extra spice by Mickelson's short-game coach Dave Pelz.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, the putting guru said nobody could beat his star pupil when Mickelson is at his best.

"His short game, I believe, is the best in the world. He doesn't have a serious weakness inside 150 yards," added Pelz.

"I'm not saying Tiger's short game is bad. He has a great short game.

"But I think Phil putts more consistently than Tiger does. He has more imagination and a few more shots around the green."

Eleven-time major winner Woods, who has been known to bristle at perceived sleights, replied: "I think I'm pretty tough to beat when I'm playing well too."

I've enjoyed the opportunity to compete against (Woods) and I've enjoyed the opportunity to play with him as a partner

Phil Mickelson
Woods, who recently won his 50th PGA Tour title, added that he rarely chats to anyone on the course, not even his caddie Steve Williams or close friend Mark O'Meara.

"Sometimes I'm not going to say a word even if my best friend is out there. We can go for a beer later, but I'm trying to handle my business out there," said Woods.

Mickelson made light of Pelz's comments, saying: "My man, he's enthusiastic. I've tried not to give you too much to run with, so I'm paying other people to do it."

Mickelson added that he has a "very unique relationship" with Woods and a "fun dynamic".

"I've enjoyed the opportunity to compete against him and I've enjoyed the opportunity to play with him as a partner. The latter one probably being the better one."



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