Golf: Phil expects to win his Tiger hunt
With Woods finishing a woeful 18 over par at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the left-hander could have overhauled his compatriot but blew his chance with a disappointing final round.
However, he has another chance this week with the final major of the year, the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.
Victory at Whistling Straits will make him No.?1, while second will do if Woods, 78th out of 80 on Sunday, is outside the top three.
Should Mickelson be third Woods will have to be in the top 11 to hold him off, while fourth will do if Woods is outside the top 46.
"It will eventually happen, I believe," said Mickelson, who has been second for a record 258 weeks. "I've got to play better golf, though. I haven't really played a lot of competitive golf in the last six, eight weeks.
"It showed (at Akron) and I've got a lot to work on in the next couple of days."
Woods will meet Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin later this week as the likelihood of him playing at Celtic Manor in October has decreased significantly.
Even a good performance at the US PGA may not be enough to persuade the 14-time major winner to play in Wales.
America's Ryder Cup qualifying race ends at Whistling Straits this Sunday. Woods is tenth on the table, but only the leading eight earn automatic places.
Like predecessor Paul Azinger, Pavin is to take three weeks before naming his four wild cards. But no matter how much he might wants Woods, and that is debatable given how well Azinger's side did without him, Woods may not want to play.
Asked if he wanted to play he replied before leaving Akron: "Not playing like this, definitely not, not playing like this.
"I mean, I wouldn't help the team if I'm playing like this."