Mickelson On How Tiger’s ’97 Masters Win Inspired Him

The three-time Masters winner explains how Tiger’s masterclass still drives him to success

Mickelson On How Tiger’s ’97 Masters Win Inspired Him
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This year’s Masters, taking place in April, marks the 25th anniversary of Tiger Woods’ sensational maiden win at the tournament to claim the first of his 15 Majors. However, even though a quarter of a century has passed since Woods strolled to a record-breaking 12-stroke victory at the Augusta National, it has left an indelible mark on almost everyone connected with the sport – and Phil Mickelson says he still draws inspiration from it today. Speaking ahead of this week's Saudi International, the Asian Tour's flagship event, Mickelson explained the huge impact Woods’ masterclass had on him all those years ago.

 “What I get out of that week as I remember and look back on Tiger’s first win in the ’97 Masters is how he shot 40 on the front nine, and he turned it around and shot 30 on the back nine on Thursday, and I thought that the way he fought, hung in there after a terrible start with expectations on him to perform and to win and he opens up with a 40 on the front nine, he didn’t back down, he didn’t wilt, he came out and brought his best golf on the back nine and shot 30 to open with a 70 and ultimately won by 12 shots or so.”

Mickelson On How Tiger’s ’97 Masters Win Inspired Him

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, Mickelson, who went on to claim three Masters victories of his own in 2004, 2006, and 2010, thinks Woods’ opening round that day is one of the ages - even though he doesn't rank it as his greatest ever performance. 

“It was one of the most impressive performances ever in the game of golf. I think the US Open in 2000 was probably the greatest performance, but that was really impressive. I look back on that as a way to inspire me not to ever give up when I go through a tough spurt like he did on the front nine.”

Mickelson rolled back the years to claim his first Major in eight years, the PGA Championship, in 2021, and he’ll hope that form – doubtless with memories of 1997-era Woods close to mind – can inspire him to more success as he prepares for this week's tournament and beyond.   

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.