Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. That might not hold the same cachet it did weeks ago in a pre-Ryder Cup world where the duo combined to go 0-6-0, but it's still two of the 10 best players of all time squaring off for close to eight figures.
The match, which will be played at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, might actually be the most anticipated event on the golf slate for the rest of 2018. Whenever my casual golf fan friends talk about what they're looking forward to, this is it. Maybe that should be the case, too. With a mic'd up Mickelson and Tiger hitting stingers all over the yard, maybe it will be great.
And even if Justin Thomas won't be watching it, we will.
Let's look at a season and career comparison of both Big Cat and Lefty as they head into this match in a little over a month.
|PGA Tour Stats||Phil Mickelson||Tiger Woods|
Career top 10 percentage
Career money earned
2018 strokes gained rank
All-time record when paired
The numbers are staggering. These two have combined to earn over $200 million on the PGA Tour, and they didn't even play some of their careers in the big boom era we've seen of late with monstrous purses and ridiculous first-place prizes.
As for the numbers, on the outset, it would appear that Woods has a massive advantage. He's better all time, better head to head, better as a match play golfer (if indeed that's what they end up playing) and is coming in off a better 2018. In fact, Mickelson even jokingly asked for strokes after playing with Woods at the Ryder Cup.
"Tiger striped it today," Mickelson said. "I think he missed one fairway for the round, and I'm trying to negotiate a shot a side. It didn't go over very well in the initial ... discussions ... but I'm still working on it. We've got some negotiating to do given how well he played last week [at the Tour Championship]."
Tiger had five top 10s in his last 10 events of the 2017-18 PGA Tour season (including two at major championships) while Mickelson had none. Lefty also played the Safeway Open the week after the Ryder Cup and didn't top 10 there, either.
All that to say, there's a reason Woods is the -220 favorite to win this heads-up match.
But who knows. I'd sooner bet against Barack Obama in a political race than I would bet against Mickelson on a golf course (Mickelson would happily take action on both, I suspect). No matter what happens, the whole thing should be a total show given Lefty's involvement.