Tiger versus Phil.
For $9 million.
It’s the match that everyone has been waiting for. At least we were about a decade ago when it made a lot more sense.
Sure, both Mickelson and Woods can still play. Lefty won a World Golf Championship event earlier this year and the rebuilt Woods has contended in the last two majors.
But these two have lost the wonderful antagonism that permeated their earlier days. Rather than rivals, they’re now in the middle of a full-on bromance. This would have been more entertaining if it had come back when Woods would turn his death stare on Mickelson’s toothy, I-love-you-all grin.
It’s also late because the made-for-TV, or in this case made-for-pay-per-view, era has dried up. The Skins Game, long a staple of the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend, is long gone. So, too, are the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, the Battle of Bighorn, the Battle of the Sexes and all the other concocted battles.
When the players are there for fun and giggles the entertainment value usually rises but the intensity quickly wanes. Even big bucks can’t change that.
Yes, Tiger and Phil are going to be competing for $9 million, but it’s someone else’s $9 million. That’s not quite the same as digging into your own wallet and playing for next month’s rent money.
When Tiger said he would play Mickelson for an amount that would make him uncomfortable, I’m not sure this is what he had in mind.
Competing for someone else’s millions is about as uncomfortable as a sitting in a well-broken-in recliner.
There’s also this pay-per-view part. Will golf fans really fork over their hard-earned cash to see this shootout?
Boxing and UFC have made loads of money doing it this way but this will be new territory for golf. This is not exactly Floyd Mayweather taking on Conor McGregor where the chance of someone getting pummeled to within an inch of their life draws fans. The only left hooks in this match will come off Mickelson’s driver.
"I think they can afford it and I think it will be done differently,” Woods said of the pay-per-view. “How many times have we all purchased fights, whether it’s MMA or it’s boxing? We all purchase those fights.”
Well, actually we don’t. At least I don’t, although I’m sure many will. Just how many will be interesting. And how long they remain tuned in will also be interesting.
Boxing and MMA fights have a definitive end. One of the antagonists gets knocked out, the ref stops it or it goes to the judges.
Golf? Not so much. This will be comprised of 18 holes of match play, meaning it could be over Stephen Ames-fast. There will also be some prop bets like longest drive and closest to the hole, giving this all the edge of your member-guest.
If they really wanted to make it interesting, the prop bets would include things like: Will Phil wear his funny shirt? Will Tiger’s glutes activate?
A match of the two biggest names in golf may provide some fun, great shots and memorable moments. Please tell me how it turns out, will you?