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  Monday, 9 April, 2001, 01:30 GMT 02:30 UK
Mickelson and Duval count the cost
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson suffers agonies at Augusta
David Duval and Phil Mickelson can rightly claim to be among the best golfers in the world.

But while Tiger Woods has now won six Major titles, Duval and Mickelson cannot boast one between them.

The American pair proved worthy contenders for the 2001 US Masters, as they helped produce a vintage championship.

But ultimately they had no answer to the player the world of golf knows as "The Phenom".

Both players were effusive in their praise for the new champion - but they will suffer painful post mortems after watching Woods achieve his historic Augusta win.

"I would imagine it was the same way when people were competing against Jack Nicklaus, and they beat him," said Duval, who finished two shots behind in second place.

David Duval missed a great chance at the last
David Duval missed a great chance at the last
"We've got another player who is certainly the best in the game right now, and I think what it will do is make my victories in these Majors that much more special."

And third-placed Mickelson added: "He seems to do just what is required.

"When I look back on this week, if I'm going to win with Tiger in the field, I cannot make the mistakes that I've been making."

Mickelson's downfall was caused by a poor drive on the 455 yard par-four 11th, the first hole in the infamous trio known as Amen Corner.

"I didn't feel as though 11 was that big of a deal, although I lost two shots on that hole," Mickelson said. "I hit a poor drive. I tried to sling a hook around the corner and hit it right into a tree."

Mickelson missed his five-foot par putt, but said the real killer was on 16.

Having moved back within a stroke of his playing partner at 14-under, he carded a bogey.

"I needed to step up and make a really good swing there and attack that pin, and I just pulled a seven-iron up on that slope," he said. "That was a very disappointing shot."

Duval, like Mickelson, had chances to tighten the screw on Woods and his failure to take advantage will be hard to bear.

Duval's most glaring mistake came at the last hole, when a six-foot birdie putt that would have brought him level with Woods slipped past the pin.

"The putt at 18, I guess I pulled it a little bit," he said. "I had it breaking a little bit left. You know, I don't see it, because I'm on top of it. I missed it."

Mickelson was determined to take something postive from the experience of playing second fiddle to the game's undoubted maestro.

"I'm certainly disappointed," he said. "But I'm getting to the point now where I have to look back on the round and figure out how to improve more next time, and see if I can come through for next time."


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