They say two thousand zero zero, party over, oops, out of time. So tonight, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are going to party like it’s 1999.
Well, sometime soon, hopefully.
Doc Brown has the DeLorean fired up. Let’s crank it to 88 miles per hour to activate the flux capacitor and travel back in time to 2008. Because soon, we could have that era’s top aces in the world of golf: Tiger vs. Lefty. Head-to-head. For 10. Million. Dollars.
Tiger vs. Lefty
According to Golf.com, this matchup nearly happened earlier this week. The two titans were looking to square off in an 18-hole death match in Las Vegas on July 3. But agreements between a major television network as well as several high-end sponsors were not reached in time for the bout.
Still, the former friendly and then not-so-friendly and then friendly-again rivals are confident the match will occur in the near future, likely at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Sin City, as the duo battles for $10 million.
“It’s a ridiculous amount of money,” Mickelson told Golf.com. “No matter how much money you have, this amount will take both of us out of our comfort zone.”
Woods and Mickelson are legendary trash-talkers. Certainly that played a role in the former junior golf rivals’ rift not long ago. Apparently, they are happy-go-lucky now. But Tiger still wields a tongue sharper than a snap hook.
“I’m definitely not against that,” Woods said. “We’ll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable.”
According to Golf.com, the seeds were planted at the Masters in April, when Tiger and Lefty were paired together for a practice round that probably could have received higher ratings than the final round. At the Players Championship the following month, the tandem played in an actual round, and Phil noticed.
“The excitement that’s been going on around here, it gets me thinking: Why don’t we just bypass all the ancillary stuff of a tournament and just go head-to-head and just have kind of a high-stakes, winner-take-all match,” Mickelson said. “Now, I don’t know if he wants a piece of me, but I just think it would be something that would be really fun for us to do, and I think there would be a lot of interest in it if we just went straight to the final round.”
Oh yeah, we’re going to watch
Even if it is 2018, a decade after Tiger’s last of his 14 major championships, a decade in which the two golfers have combined for more cuts at major championships (12) than top-10 finishes (11), certainly we’re all on board to soak in the majesty of their talents.
More so considering Tiger and Lefty are both in agreement to wear microphones while playing. Imagine that. Seriously.
Phil: “Man, this is a rough lie.”
Tiger: “Yeah, it’s not that bad.”
Phil: “Tigs, I don’t need you patronizing.”
Tiger: “Just play it like you did when you won the US Op… Oh.”
Phil: “Can I borrow your 9-iron? Wait, you don’t have it? I’ll ask Elin if she still has it.”
Yeah. I’m tuning in. We have before.
Made-for-TV matches have been around golf for decades. Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf lasted for more than 40 years and pitted the likes of Fred Couples and John Daly – Roger Murtaugh vs. an-even-heavier-drinking Martin Riggs – against each other. There was the annual Monday Night Golf that included Tiger for several matches, including one in which Woods and Daly lost to Mickelson and Retief Goosen in 2005.
So, of course, we’ll watch. But how to make this more interesting…
Place your bets
Yes, Tiger and Phil are playing for a measly $10 million. But let’s get the public involved. What’s the game going to be?
Stroke play, match play, Nassau, Bingo Bango Bongo? Three Blind Mice, Mutt and Jeff, Criers and Whiners? Staying out of Trouble might be most fitting for them, as points are awarded for slices and snaps and shots in the bunker and water.
OK, forget the format. How about some props?
- Winner’s score (if it’s stroke play): over/under +4
- Number of times a trainer is called to check on sore body parts: over/under 3.5
- Number of visits to the cart girl for a cocktail: over/under 2.5 (if Daly is involved, that jumps to 12.5)
- Number of times Tiger and Phil get heated in rules arguments: over/under 17.5
- First to swear: Tiger -800, Phil -200 (“Dadgummit” counts)
- First to cheat: Tiger -400, Phil +400
- First to bring “BASEketball” psych-outs into the contest: Tiger -500, Phil -200.
- And first to celebrate like Squeak from BASEketball: Even money.