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They're Walking All Over Each Other

"After sitting in the locker room for a while," the Mickelson release continued, "I heard Vijay talking to other players about it."

Oh, that's bad. Vijay talking behind Phil's back. Can't have that.

_____ The 69th Masters _____

Masters
Tiger Woods holds off Chris DiMarco to win his fourth Masters title on the first hold of sudden death.
A Master reappears to seize his fourth green jacket and first major in 2 1/2 years.
Thomas Boswell: Woods is less than Superman, but more than Everyman.
Notebook: Ryan Moore's effort is far from amateurish.

_____ Final Scores _____
1. *Tiger Woods 67-67-65-71 -- 270 (-12)
1. Chris DiMarco 74-66-74-68 -- 270 (-12)
T3. Retief Goosen 71-75-70-67 -- 283 (-5)
T3. Luke Donald 68-77-69-69 -- 283 (-5)
T5. Rod Pampling 73-71-70-70 -- 284 (-4)
T5. Mike Weir 74-71-68-71 -- 284 (-4)
T5. Mark Hensby 69-73-70-72 -- 284 (-4)
T5. Vijay Singh 68-73-71-72 -- 284 (-4)
T5. T. Immelman 73-73-65-73 -- 284 (-4)
* wins in sudden-death playoff

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"And I confronted him," Mickelson continued.

But, from a safe distance, one hopes. Vijay is a pretty big guy.

"He expressed his concerns," wrote Mickelson.

We can only wonder if Singh recalled the time that Mickelson ripped open a bag of potato chips at the Presidents Cup at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club just as Mike Weir was about to swing. Or perhaps the way the frosty relations between Mickelson and Tiger Woods, when they were paired together, proved disastrous for the U.S. team in the last Ryder Cup.

"I expressed my disappointment with the way it was handled," Mickelson went on.

Again, until both have written their memoirs, we are left to wonder whether Mickelson mentioned Singh's recent interview with Bryant Gumbel on HBO's "Real Sports" during which Singh said when asked about Mickelson's clean public image, "Yeah, but is that the true Phil? Is that the true person? Do you see the true side of Phil? I don't know. I can't speak for Phil. But you see the true me. I don't hide things."

In another age, this was cause for dueling pistols at dawn. Or sabers after brunch. Or cannons at three paces by dusk.

Now, well, 'tis a milder time. "I believe everything is fine now," Mickelson concluded.

This, of course, means that nothing is fine. And every detail will be remembered for years.

After the pair had finished their second rounds Saturday, Mickelson said, "I've tried to put it behind me." Picking up his shoe to show the bottom to reporters, he added: "My spikes are pretty worn down today. I tried to be as careful as I could today."

For his part, Singh clearly enjoyed the fuss. After all, his caddie once wore a hat with "Tiger Who?" stitched on the back the day Singh played Woods in a Presidents Cup match.

"Whether it's a problem or not depends on the spikes. It's the length of the spikes that matter," Singh said Saturday after the second round. "There is nothing wrong with telling a person he is spiking up the greens. . . . Unfortunately, it was Phil. He did a good job today."

All is forgiven, can't you tell?

Though they may not know it, both men have damaged themselves with this spat. Just as they were being recognized for their great careers, they are in danger of reducing themselves to kindergarten caricatures of themselves. Phil is the kid in school who shot the spitball at the teacher, then pointed at you. And the teacher believed him. Vijay is the boy who tattled to the teacher that it was really Phil who shot the spitball and got everybody detention.

Sunday at the Masters is tough enough. Now, with DiMarco leading for the second straight year entering the final day and Woods climbing to second place, Phil and Vijay have to worry about their footwear fuss.

Heaven help us if they both show up on Magnolia Lane on Sunday wearing the same shirt.


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