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Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have dominated the pro-golf conversion for the better part of the last decade. There have been many rumors and reports of their alleged personal rivalry. Most notably, Alan Shipnuck wrote that Woods was behind Lefty’s British Open Dinner snub. But Daniel Berger, who has seen them up close, feels they get off quite well despite whatever impression their on-course rivalry gives off.

Tiger Woods was the assistant captain at the 2017 President’s Cup, where Phil Mickelson was Berger’s teammate. That also gave him the chance to witness two of the top players up close. Berger feels “they’re totally fine together.” In fact, the 30-year-old recounted a time when Mickelson and Woods went head-to-head in a game where both floundered.

When Woods and Mickelson clashed in a ping-pong match

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Berger recounted that the two hit it off quite early at Liberty National. When the two veterans went on to play ping pong, Mickelson, in his characteristic swagger, started the conversation. Berger said, “Phil, I feel like he thinks he’s the best at everything he does. And like he’ll, we play ping pong. And he was talking about how he’s like taken like, hours and hours of lessons and like, you know, he’s this like world-class ping pong player.

Whereas Tiger Woods was rather quiet. Not that; he hasn’t played before. Berger added, “They were going at it one-on-one. And it was just funny to watch these guys.” Apparently, neither Lefty nor Mr. T could cut the mustard, as Berger revealed.

The four-time PGA Tour winner, who recently made a comeback after an injury-ridden hiatus, told the No Laying Up host, “They’re both terrible at ping pong, but they’re ultra-competitive, and just to watch them be bad at something and still want to win so badly, I just was laughing the whole time.” Berger, unfortunately, didn’t reveal the result of the match.

Ironically, that laughter left Berger when he went to tee up in the Liberty National. In fact, the then-23-year-old PGA Tour pro didn’t want to play in front of Woods when the time came.

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Why Berger didn’t want Tiger Woods to tag him 

Another of Berger’s teammates, Justin Thomas, recounted a funny incident regarding Berger and the 15-time Major Champion earlier. Woods was assigned to lead Berger’s group at Liberty National. The now-30-year-old, however, didn’t want him on his side. Thomas recalled later, “I don’t know if he was paired with Brooks [Koepka] or someone, but [Berger] went to—I don’t know if it was Freddie or someone—and said, ‘Tiger can’t come with our group,’” Thomas told Golf.com.

Read More: Phil Mickelson Turns ‘The Tiger Slayer’ to Thrash Tiger Woods in Fans’ Eyes at 2024 LIV Golf Jeddah

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So when we thought we had him [Tiger Woods] to use to our advantage, to make the other team nervous, that actually made some of our own team members nervous. So there’s that.” Berger, though, would go on to nail the winning stroke of the match by defeating Si Woo Kim 2&1. Naturally, the 2017 Presidents Cup was memorable for him for more than one reason.

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