Tiger Woods enjoyed Phil Mickelson's win in Mexico: 'I'm having a lot of fun'

The 2017-18 PGA Tour season has been a fascinating one so far. Future (and current) young superstars like Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm have won, but 47-year-old Phil Mickelson also has a victory and 42-year-old Tiger Woods has been terrific in his return from injury.

And it was Mickelson's win at the WGC-Mexico Championship last week that Woods will draw on this week at the Valspar Championship and beyond. Somebody Lefty's age not only winning but talking about how some of his best golf is in front of him. How could that not inspire?

"I thought it was great," Woods said of Mickelson's win. "He's been playing well. I mean, he played well at the end of last year and got off to a great start this year. He's been in contention a few times. Made a couple mistakes here and there or guys just made some birdies.

"It was a very, very small margin and what he did on Sunday was very, very cool to watch. It was solid, consistent, big putt at 16 I think down the hill ... just to tie Justin (Thomas) in the clubhouse. (That putt on No. 16) gave him two free holes basically to win the golf tournament. You're thinking, 'I have two holes now with the guy in the clubhouse.'"

Mickelson didn't win it in regulation, but he did make two pars coming home to stay knotted with Thomas at 16 under before besting him in a one-hole playoff with a par putt (that should have been a birdie). Woods was watching just like the rest of us.

"He did it. He put the pressure on Justin in the playoff, put it right there pin high and hit a beautiful putt. I don't know how it didn't go in."

Nobody knows.

"To watch young guys do what they're doing, that's what they're supposed to do," Woods said. "They come out on Tour, established themselves. This is third generation, this is what they're supposed to do. What Phil is doing is showing us we can still do it later on in our careers. Davis (Love III) did it at 51, I believe. Phil at 47. I think Kenny Perry won a handful of events close to 45, 46.

"So, you know, there are a few guys that can do it late in their career. For me, I'm ecstatic to have a chance to play again and to have a chance to win golf tournaments and compete. There's awhile there where I didn't look like I was ever going to be out here again, not in the capacity of a professional player. But here I am playing again and it's a lot of fun."

It's a lot of fun for everyone, as I outlined here. Everything that has happened so far this year -- Mickelson winning, Thomas and Rahm winning, Tiger playing well -- is simply a foreshadowing for Augusta National and the Masters. Woods, as always, has one eye on that event even as he's inspired by guys like Mickelson.

"The favorites are guys who always do well there," said Woods of Augusta. "Jordan has always played well. I'm not going to put it out of the realm if Freddie (Couples) feels good, he's still in the mix. Bernhard (Langer) is still in the mix, Phil, myself, Bubba, few others that play well almost every year. We know how to play the golf course. It fits us.

"So, it's definitely going to be some younger guys out there with a chance playing really well at the time but Augusta is also one of the golf courses it favors the best."

Whether Woods and Mickelson will be among the best in 2018 at that tournament remains to be seen. But we're certainly trending upward as the PGA Tour moves ever closer to the first major of the year.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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