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Goosen & Mickelson win Battle at the Bridges

The sun was just dipping below the horizon when Retief Goosen and Phil Mickelson turned out the lights on Tiger Woods, John Daly and Monday Night Golf.

Goosen, a late substitute for the foursome, birdied four of the last six holes and five overall as he and Mickelson beat Woods and Daly 5 and 3 in the ``Battle at The Bridges'' on Monday night.

``We got killed,'' said Woods, who was a loser in the seventh and final installment of Monday Night Golf, which was started to get him on prime time. He wants to take a break from these made-for-TV exhibitions -- in which he was 4-3 -- and focus on majors. He was playing eight days after his dominating Open win. He also won the Masters and was second in the U.S. Open.

Organizers had portable lights set up on the 15th green and along the final three holes. But Goosen ended the match in the fading twilight when he hit an approach shot within 4 feet on the par-4, 411-yard 15th, then sank a birdie putt.

Woods and Daly needed to win the 15th to keep the best-ball match going, but both got into trouble with errant tee shots.

Organizers tried to get the Big Four for this year's exhibition, but Vijay Singh didn't want to play and Ernie Els pulled out. They had to settle for three of the top five in the world rankings plus the ever-popular Daly.

It turned out that Goosen was a perfect fill-in.

Daly and Goosen flew in from Germany on Sunday night after playing in the Players' Championship of Europe. Daly tied for third -- he had to play 36 holes on Sunday -- while Goosen missed the cut in the rain-delayed tournament, meaning he had to wait around a day for the 11-hour flight on Daly's private jet.

The exhibition at the exclusive Bridges club north of San Diego was fairly unremarkable until Goosen made consecutive birdie putts on the par-4 10th and the par-3 11th for a 3-up lead. Goosen had missed his first three greens of the match.

Woods missed birdie putts on the same hole that would have kept his team in it.

It didn't hurt that Mickelson provided member knowledge. He belongs to The Bridges, where memberships start at $350,000.

``Tonight was great,'' Goosen said. ``I haven't been putting that well, really. But these greens are so good out there. The greens felt like you couldn't miss a putt out here.''

To which Daly responded: ``You didn't have to walk 36 holes yesterday.''

After Woods birdied the 426-yard, par-4 12th, Mickelson hit a sand wedge to 8 inches on the 379-yard, par-4 13th and was conceded a birdie putt that restored he and Goosen's 3-up lead.

Goosen then birdied the par-4 14th after Woods rolled a birdie putt just left.

``It was fun to be on the same team,'' Mickelson said. ``It's bit me on the rear in the past, playing against him, and I wanted to break that putter many times. Tonight, it was fun to have it on my side.''

Not only was this the final year of the contract with sponsor Lincoln Financial, but ratings have plunged since the format went away from head-to-head competition after Sergio Garcia beat Woods at Bighorn in 2000.

Daly at least provided plenty of humor in the hit-and-giggle match.

On the driving range about an hour before the match, in the blazing sun, Daly hit four shots and declared: ``That's it. I'm sweating,'' then stepped back and lit a cigarette.

After hitting out of a bunker on No. 3, he said: ``This is some thick stuff. A fat man can get lost in this.'' The hefty Daly emerged from the trap and weakly rolled his first putt. ``Remind me, I've got to hit it next time,'' he quipped to Woods.

Daly's next drive found the water.

``Talk about the shot of the day,'' he said. ``I feel like diving in there to wake up, I guess. That's just horrible.''

Daly hates flying, and was asked what effect the 11-hour flight from Germany had on him.

``You can't pull over and get any food,'' he cracked.

 

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