It’s been quiet on the PGA scene, a little too quiet, following the final tournament of the 2017-18 season, and while the new season is underway the real action doesn’t begin until the majority of the pre-eminent players start to swing their clubs in earnest in January.
Which brings me to this Friday’s $9 million shootout – dubbed The Match – in Las Vegas featuring Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS) and Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X). Personally, I’m looking forward to it, even though I don’t think it will be much of a contest.
Lefty started off the season strongly and then struggled down the stretch. Tiger put it all together winning the Tour Championship and was dog tired the following week at the Ryder Cup.
Unless Phil has put his game back together to resemble what happened early in the 2018-18 season before his game went south – and let’s be honest, he had some infamous moments in a couple tournaments, notably the U.S. Open – this will be easy for Woods.
Both players have had relatively relaxed schedules since the Ryder Cup, which was a landslide victory for the European squad and a humbling event for the Americans. I totally misread it. Not only was Tiger drained mentally, physically and emotionally by winning the Tour Championship, the Ryder Cup format is not his thing.
The Match is on pay-per-view, which in my opinion is a big mistake. There are some people who consider this a gimmick and will not pay $19.99 to watch it. Why didn’t they just make it $20?
It should have been on the Golf Channel, so everyone could see it, or better yet, on a mainstream channel. If you are not a golf fan or a fan of Tiger and/or Phil, this will have little meaning. Neither of them needs the money and their careers won’t be tarnished in any way regardless of the outcome.
Some of the purse money will go towards charities: Mickelson to the Children of the 58 Fund that he started to provide scholarships to children of victims of the Las Vegas shooting in 2017. Woods will donate to his own Tiger Woods Foundation, plus other local charities.
So in that respect there is a true financial purpose to all of this.
Yes, the two players will have side bets and enjoy this first-ever golf PPV, but will it really have the true competitiveness of a bonafide tournament or match? Hardly.
And as I’ve said before, this head-to-head battle would have made more sense when the two players didn’t like one another and were in their primes. Then again, I’m not sure they would have done it because it wouldn’t have made any sense. Maturity and overcoming various issues in their lives has allowed them to look at themselves and each other in a different way.
It might have been better if there were four players instead of two. Two wild-card entrants could have been randomly chosen by fans or some method to engage people. I would have included Bryson DeChambeau (Bridgestone Tour B X), who is the hottest young player in the PGA, and possibly Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x), if only because of his long-driving capability and adding a European component to this.
I would've created a $1 million lottery if any of the two scored a hole-in-one with the winner being a person whose name was randomly drawn as part of a contest. Or possibly had a contest to predict the final scores and, again, given out prizes.
Could something like this possibly happen again? I wouldn’t be surprised. Undoubtedly things will have to be changed or added to make it more attractive.
But the big winner will be the players’ sponsors, in particular the companies that manufacture the balls they play. To be sure, the logos of each will be prominently displayed.