U.S. Open 2012: Tiger Woods Talks Day One Pairing With Phil Mickelson

Two names have more or less dominated the world of golf over the last decade. Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Thursday morning, Woods & Mickelson, along with Masters champ Bubba Watson will tee off together for the first round of the 2012 US Open.

Woods was asked if there would be any extra motivation playing with the guy who has essentially been his chief rival over his career?

"I don't think we're going to talk about a lot," said Woods. "This is a Major championship. We've got work to do. Any extra motivation? No. I'm just trying to get out there and position myself for Sunday.

It's such a test playing in this championship. I think this is one of those championships that I think the guys talk the least to one another because it's so difficult."

The last time Tiger was paired with Phil was in 2008, when he last won the US Open.

"Well, it's different for us ever to be paired up in the same group, first of all. That never happens. We try to spread it around a little bit. That's why 2008 was so different for us. Because on the Tour we never get that pairing.
For us to get that pairing was exciting I think for everyone and I think this year will be the same."

Tiger finally broke his slump with a win at the Memorial and now comes into this Open as the odds on favorite. However, most pundits feel its too early to say Tiger is "back" until he wins a major. But Tiger says that's unlikely to silence his critics.

"I think even if I do win a Major championship, it will still be, you're not to 18 yet, or when will you get to 19. It's always something with you guys. I've dealt with that my entire career, ever since I was an amateur and playing all the way through and to professional golf, it hasn't changed."

This doesn't mean he's still not coming after Jack's record though...

"Well, Jack did it at 46, right? So I've got ten [years]. Watson almost pulled it off at 59. It can be done. We can play for a very long time. And that's the great thing about staying in shape and lifting weights and being fit is that the playing careers have extended. Look how many guys are 50 plus still playing out here. And Tom Pernice just came back out and started playing. Guys are extending their careers and playing for a lot longer than they used to. Most of the guys used to shut it down in early 40s. Bu like Vijay, he won almost 30 events, just in his 40s alone."

You can watch the all star pairing of Tiger, Phil and Bubba streamed live on USOpen.com.

Stay tuned to this storystream for more updates on the U.S. Open. For all your news and updates in the run up to the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, visit SB Nation's dedicated golf hub. Be sure to head over to USOpen.com for even more coverage from the event.

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