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2012 U.S. Open: Phil Mickelson Loves Pairing With Tiger Woods

There was nothing quite like the rivalry that emerged between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson over the last decade. The world's two best golfers, going at it every few weekend at the most beautiful golf courses in the world. While the two veterans haven't been as successful these last few years, everyone has been buzzing about Mickelson and Woods being paired together for the 2012 U.S. Open.

Some figured Mickelson would not be too happy about the attention that comes with playing alongside Tiger, but that is far from the case. Carl Steward of Mercury News has the latest report:

"Fabulous," Mickelson said (of being paired with Woods). "I'll tell you why. First of all, I get excited to play with Tiger. I love it. He gets the best out of me. Second is, the one player I'm most concerned about if I play my best golf who I feel may have a chance to beat me is Tiger."

Mickelson certainly has strong recent evidence to suggest he gets up to play alongside Woods. They were paired together for the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and Mickelson played one of the best rounds of his life, an 8-under 64 that propelled him to a runaway victory.

Early in his career, Mickelson took regular thrashings from Woods whenever they were paired or in contention together. But over the last half decade, Mickelson has had the upper hand.

"When we first started playing, I don't know what it was exactly, but I didn't play my best when we were paired together," Mickelson said. "The last five years or so, I've been able to focus clearly when we play, I've been able to enjoy the challenge of playing with him, and I always enjoy his company."

All eyes will be on the tournament this weekend as these two fan-favorites battle for the title. Phil and Tiger were both given high odds to bring home the championship, and you know it's going to be a media zoo with these two playing together. Golf doesn't get much better than this, folks.

Head on over to USOpen.com for continued updates throughout the week.

Check out the SB Nation Arizona StoryStream for continued updates on Woods and Mickelson.