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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Mickelson tipped to take on Woods
Tiger Woods (left) presents the Green Jacket to Masters winner Phil Mickelson
Roles reversed: Woods (left) hands Mickelson his second Green Jacket
Fred Couples is backing Phil Mickelson to turn up the heat on big rival Tiger Woods after his second Masters win.

Couples, who played with Mickelson in the final round at Augusta, said: "He's an incredible player. Phil has got more talent than maybe anyone out there.

"I think he can now overpower a golf course like Tiger can."

Mickelson, who has won three of the last nine majors, is now up to second in the world rankings behind Woods for the first time since 2003.

However, the left-hander, 35, played down talk of emulating his fellow American's feat of holding all four majors at the same time.

To do that, the reigning USPGA champion would have to win both the US Open at Winged Foot in June and the Open Championship at Hoylake in July.

"Let's settle down the 'Slam' talk," said Mickelson as he savoured Sunday's victory at Augusta by two shots from South Africa's Tim Clark.

"Tiger's Slam is just one of the most incredible feats in the game - that and Bobby Jones' Grand Slam and Ben Hogan in '53 winning three of the four.

I ended up playing well and it will be a memory I cherish forever
Phil Mickelson

"I am just having so much fun playing and competing in these tournaments and trying to focus in and get my best game out."

The rivalry between Mickelson and Woods is heightened by the fact that the two have never hit it off.

Their pairing at the 2004 Ryder Cup was disastrous as Europe claimed a record-breaking 18-9 victory at Oakland Hills.

Ironically, it was Woods who presented Mickelson with his second Green Jacket on Sunday.

And Mickelson admitted his delight at the roles being reversed after handing Woods his Green Jacket in 2005.

"I certainly enjoyed having the jacket put on me rather than putting it on," said the 2004 winner.

Mickelson took a one-shot lead into the storm-delayed final round at Augusta and shot a three-under par 69 as his challengers fell away.

"I knew it was going to be a tough day. It was unnerving to watch these guys go out ahead of me and make birdie after birdie," he said.

"But I ended up playing well and it will be a memory I cherish forever. The stress-free walk up 18 was incredible. It was a great feeling knowing that I had the tournament in hand.

"I felt this great feeling of accomplishment to be able to beat guys like Tiger and Retief (Goosen), Ernie (Els), Vijay (Singh) and Fred."

Interview: 2006 Masters winner Phil Mickelson

Interview: Jose Maria Olazabal


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