But things began to heat up in 2004 when Lefty finally broke through to win the Masters. That began a three-year stretch where Woods and Mickelson combined to win six of the 12 major titles.
In 2005, Woods won the Masters and the British Open, while Mickelson closed the year with a victory in the PGA Championship. In 2006, Mickelson earned another green jacket (and should've won the U.S. Open, if not for an epic blunder on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot), while Woods took the PGA.
Things cooled a bit in recent years, as Woods went through his well-documented problems and Mickelson endured a six-year span with only one major title — the 2010 Masters. With Lefty moving into his 40s, Woods struggling to get his game and his life back in order, and a long string of first-time major champions stealing the spotlight, it looked as though the rivalry was fading.
Not so fast.
While Woods hasn't won a major title since his one-legged performance at the 2008 U.S. Open, he's reclaimed his top spot in the world rankings with more PGA Tour victories (eight) than anyone over the last two years. He's also been a consistent contender in the biggest events and it seems just a matter of time before he claims major No. 15.
Mickelson has addressed two of the biggest flaws in his game, a shaky putting touch and wayward shots off the tee — so much so, that he now considers them to be strengths.
In June, there was another close-but-no-cigar call in the U.S. Open, where he was runner-up for a record sixth time. Then, he conquered Muirfield with one of the greatest clutch rounds in major championship history, a 5-under 66 on a course that was about as hard as a paved road.