PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Phil Mickelson rallied from six shots behind to win for the fourth time at Pebble Beach, a final round made even more memorable by the guy in a red shirt who was among the first to congratulate him Sunday on the 18th green.
Turns out that Tiger Woods was just along for the ride.
Mickelson closed with 8-under 64, beating Woods by 11 shots in a one-sided showdown at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
"I just feel very inspired when I play with him," said Mickelson, who has posted the better score the past five times he has played alongside Woods in the final round, where "Lefty" has a 6-3-1 advantage. Their rivalry stands at 13-13-4 when they're paired together in any round.
"I love playing with him, and he brings out some of my best golf. I hope that he continues to play better, and better, and I hope that he and I have a chance to play together more in the final rounds."
Woods, one shot off the lead on the sixth hole after 54-hole leader Charlie Wi fell apart early, followed his first birdie of the final round with three straight bogeys, starting with a three-putt from 18 feet on the par-3 seventh. It never got much better from there.
He finished with a three-putt on the 18th for 75, the only consolation coming from the belief that he's closer than ever to putting it all back together.
"I didn't hit it as bad as the score indicated, but I putted awful," Woods said. "As good as I felt on the greens (Saturday), I felt bad (Sunday). Anything I tried to do wasn't working. Consequently, I made a ton of mistakes on the green."
At least he got to watch a clinic.
Mickelson went from six back to a two-shot lead on the par-5 sixth when he rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt, adjusting his read after watching Woods' amateur partner — Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo — miss from a similar line.
Woods holed a bunker shot for birdie on No. 12, but right when it looked like a two-shot swing that could give Woods some momentum, Mickelson made a 30-foot par putt. With Woods out of the way, Mickelson made a 40-foot par putt on 15 to keep a three-shot cushion, and he was never challenged from there.
He wound up with a two-shot win over Wi, who four-putted for double bogey on the opening hole and never recovered.
Mickelson, who finished at 17-under 269, became the ninth player in PGA Tour history with 40 career wins. This one was special for many reasons, and the thrashing he gave Woods was but a small part of it.
His wife, Amy, flew up for the weekend and gave him a pep talk Friday in the rain at Monterey Peninsula when Mickelson was going nowhere. He ran off five birdies, got back into the tournament and picked up a win he didn't see coming.
"It's one of the more emotional victories for me that I've had, and the reason is I've had some doubt these last couple of weeks, given the scores I've shot," he said. "Having these great practice sessions, I started to wonder if I'm going to be able to bring it to the course. So this gives me a lot of confidence and erases the doubt."