An amazing thing has happened recently in the world of golf. Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have completely shifted positions on the scale of popularity. Nearly 10 years ago, Woods’ life was turned upside down. Meanwhile, Mickelson’s popularity grew to even greater heights. That’s all changed now. Woods has, once again, taken the world of golf by storm. He hasn’t won on this “comeback tour” yet, but he continues to show signs that a victory is not too far down the road. His play at the Quicken Loans National was very good. His tee shots found the fairways, and he was dialing in his approach shots the way we have been accustomed to in the past. Mickelson, on the other hand, now finds himself in unfamiliar territory after his rules gaffe at the U.S. Open. Fellow tour players felt that his action was deserving of disqualification, but his popular image kept him in the tournament. What’s worse was the explanation he gave after the round. Mickelson’s response came across as arrogant, and he was not apologetic, at all. It wasn’t until a few days later that he put out a statement apologizing for what had happened. Woods’ popularity amongst the crowds at tour events appears to be reaching a level similar to that of his prime. The crowds are staggering. I saw a still photo taken at the Quicken Loans, and it looked like 90 percent of the gallery was following Woods and his group. His popularity amongst fellow players seems high, as well. After both weekend rounds, Woods was seen standing for photos with his lesser known playing partners. One after another, various friends and family members of these playing partners would jump in to also get their photo with Woods. Woods is an icon and was likely the favorite player to many of these younger kids on tour today. There is no other way to describe it. Mickelson now has a challenge to rebuild his popularity. He is likely to hear rude comments shouted from the galleries at upcoming events. Ordinary golfers have already begun to “Mickelson it” as they stop their ball from rolling too far past the hole on poor putts. It’s bad, and it’s likely going to take some time to recover his image. As amazing as the talent is on tour right now, it’s more amazing that Woods and Mickelson continue to be leading stories in golf. This time, however, their roles seem to have changed.