It is certainly comical as we enter "The Match" on Friday afternoon that the worst match play golfers in Ryder Cup history are being paid unprecedented amounts of money to play one-on-one in Las Vegas this week. How else can you describe $9 million being put on the line between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who combined have taken in more than $204 million just from their PGA Tour efforts.
Despite all of that, 14-time major champion Woods and five-time major champion Mickelson will tee it up on Friday afternoon in an 18-hole match play event and will be viewed by however many people decide to spend Black Friday (and $19.99) watching golf on television. In addition to that aforementioned $9 million winner-take-all purse, there will also be plenty off side bets and action taken between these two throughout the day.
What will we get to see as two of the best to ever tee it up? Regardless of the outcome, Mickelson and Woods will both walk away with a ton of cash. Let's take a look at this week's contest.
The Match: Tiger vs. Phil information
Three stories to watch
1. Will the golf be any good? This is the part that concerns me. Is this thing going to fizzle if Tiger and Phil start a combined 4 over on the first three holes, or will it not matter because Mickelson is talking trash at a level that would get Draymond Green's attention? (The event is supposed to be uncensored, after all.) I'm unconvinced that the golf will be anything close to what we saw from both of these guys in spurts throughout the season, but.
2. Do the side bets get crazy? There's a legitimate chance that we could get into a situation where Mickelson makes a bet for an amount of money that makes Tiger squeamish. Not that Tiger doesn't have the money, just that he didn't enter this little agreement to spend it here. I think that's one of the more underrated storylines that could make this day pop a little bit.
3. The franchise setup: I'm maybe most curious about how all of this ends and whether it lends itself to a sequel or beyond. Woods and Mickelson haven't been super discreet about information getting out in the public regarding their desire to flip this into a series of matches or even a franchise where other golfers get involved, too. While that seems like a maybe unrealistic dream scenario -- I'm going to be impressed if Friday is even above average -- there is certainly a way to set up the future with how the match ends. I wonder if they'll take it.
The Match: Tiger vs. Phil picks and prop bets
|Winner: I think Tiger gets him 3 and 2. It will be incredibly awkward if the match ends after, say, 12 or 13 holes, but I think Tiger is just a much better golfer than Phil right now. That doesn't always matter in match play, and maybe it won't matter this week, but odds are that it will. Odds: -220 |
|Prop No. 1: Now we'll roll through some prop bets I love. Mickelson missing the first fairway after putting $200,000 on the line for a birdie on the first hole on Tuesday feels like a lock (I also think Tiger will miss the first fairway). Odds: -110 |
|Prop No. 2: I'll take total curse words under 21.5 (!) I'm not sure Woods is capable of turning off his on-camera persona, and I think knowing he's got a microphone on and there are cameras in his dish at every turn will dissuade him from dropping too many F-bombs. Odds: -115 |
|Prop No. 3: Over 6.5 presses from Mickelson. Way over. Over against anybody else alive! Odds: -115 |
|Prop No. 4: I'll take the over on Woods twirling his club 3.5 times. I honestly thought there was a typo and that the prop was talking about how many times Woods would twirl it on the first hole. Odds: -115 |