Tiger vs Phil: Should You Buy the Match and Hype?

11/09/2018

For the past 2+ decades, there have been no bigger names in the game of golf (perhaps the whole history) than Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.  Lefty and Tiger have always had a bit of a rivalry, whether real or imagined, while both have been on the PGA Tour.  Tiger vs Phil has been more of a “what if” than actual rivalry, so golf fans have only been left to wonder.  Who would win head-to-head, Tiger vs Phil?  It’s Arnie vs Jack for the new millenium.

Now Tiger vs Phil is finally coming to fruition in their “Tiger vs Phil: the Match” over Thanksgiving weekend.  So ahead of the coverage, we decided to give our viewers 5 Reasons to Watch and 5 Reasons to Skip Tiger vs Phil.

I even brought back Troy Klongerbo to give you the 5 Reasons to Watch Tiger vs Phil (spoiler alert: I think I won the argument).  But we’ll let you decide come Black Friday, when you decide to either watch or skip The Match: Tiger vs Phil.

So without further ado…

5 Reasons to Watch Tiger vs Phil on PPV

By Troy Klongerbo

Some eight years ago, I read the book “The Match.”

If you have an appreciation for history, and love golf, this book was published for you. Especially if you’re the type of person who enjoys hearing about the untold stories in our history.

Mark Frost’s book covers the golf’s storied heroes, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, as they paired off against two great amateurs in Ken Venturi and golf folklore, Harvie Ward in a 1956 best-ball match for the ages. I remember loving every page.

Fast-forward about six decades and we’ll be gifted to a 21st century version.

Here are my 5 reasons why I’m looking forward to watching The Match: Tiger vs Phil.

1. We’ve Waited Two Decades for This.

When Tiger his the scene in 1996, Phil already had one of the most accomplished amateur golf careers in history and a handful of Tour wins. He was well on his way to being the best player in the world.

Tiger abruptly crushed those plans.

Ever since, the words Tiger and Phil have been somewhat synonymous.

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Between them, they’ve racked up close to 20 major championships, over 120 PGA Tour victories, and millions of fans and stories.

Unlike other sports, golf fans don’t see their top athletes go face-to-face, often enough. Golf duels require a bit of fate. Fate that both players climb the leaderboard at precisely the right time. We’ve seen glimpses for Tiger vs Phil, like Doral in 2005. But never this.

We’ve waited two decades for this.

2. The Behind-the-Scenes, 24/7 access.

I’ve always loved the sport behind the sport. Part of the entertainment of sports for me, is knowing the personalities behind the competition.

HBO has always done a phenomenal job with their 24/7 series, following the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, and Philadelphia Flyers in an unmatched and unfiltered fashion.

Amazon Prime has followed suit, giving us behind the scenes access to the Arizona Cardinals, the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, the Dallas Cowboys, and off sports like Manchester City and the New Zealand All Blacks.

I know Phil will be unbuttoned. I’ll be fascinated to see what Tiger reveals.

3. Phil had a down year, but he’s still an incredible talent.

People don’t have to think back far to remember that Tiger is back. His Tour Championship victory sent people running down fairways and media personalities losing their minds.

Tiger may never reach Tiger of old. But Tiger is back.

I read this account on GolfWeek today about Phil’s talent. He can still go out and shoot casual 29s. He may be 48, but Lefty isn’t done.

Not even close.

4. They Both Won in 2018.

People may forget this, but Phil won back in March in Mexico. He took JT to a playoff, and showed the youngster what a 47-year old golf legend can be made of.

March was a long time ago. And from the beginning of May through the end of the season, Phil Mickelson didn’t notch a single top-10 finish, and faced embarrassment at the 2018 Ryder Cup in France.

But they both won in 2018. This hasn’t happened for five years.

5. This is Our Last Chance.

Both of these dudes are on the back nines of their golf career. Tiger’s was closer to being done than any of us probably realize.

And for those of us who have followed golf for the past 20 years, we know how special the names Phil and Tiger are to the game. They are legends. They belong in the discussions for all-time greats.

Even though it’s pay-per-view— it’s exhibition, it’s still an opportunity we won’t get again.

I hope HBO doesn’t mess this up. Let them be raw. Let them be themselves.

Welcome back to Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf; Part II.

Verdict

On November 23, 2018, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the two greatest—and most accomplished— players of the past 25 years will square off in a PPV match for the ages. 

It’s Tiger vs Phil.

Will the golf be amazing? I can’t guarantee that.

But I can guarantee, that for golf fans, this is going to be fun.  

5 Reasons to Skip Tiger vs Phil

By Nick Anson

So now that you have heard 5 great reasons to watch Tiger vs Phil over Thanksgiving weekend, we thought you might want the other side of the coin.  If you have the choice between watching Tiger vs Phil or Black Friday shopping, I don’t think there is a good option there. I personally feel that both events are going to be overrated, which is why I present my 5 Reasons to Skip Tiger vs Phil.

1. It’s a Pay-Per-View

Listen, I’m all for outside-the-box thinking, and finding fun and new ways to get fans engaged.  And while golf courses seem to keep dwindling over the years, the youth movement (both in juniors AND on Tour) has been at a fever pitch in the last few years.  

But what was one of golf’s biggest knocks in growth since forever?  It’s exclusivity. So with all of this growth among multiple demographics, why does it seem that Tiger vs Phil is falling back into the old ways of golf?

And last time I checked, golf was not something the average person thought about over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Which is EXACTLY why this could have been something special. At least if more people could just tune in and enjoy it.

For a suggested retail price of $19.99, what are you really gaining by making people pay?  I think one of the major networks would have forked over the money needed to get the rights for Tiger vs Phil.

2. It’s Not Their Money

The winner-take-all angle loses a lot of luster when you take into account the fact that nobody is actually putting any money on the line. That would bring up a whole mess of issues, because then it’s gambling, but the whole Vegas showcase makes it very tongue-in-cheek already.  

The fact that $9 million is up for grabs does absolutely nothing to add any intrigue, because the only thing at stake for the “loser” is some bragging rights and a long afternoon.  Big whoop. Plus let’s face it: both guys are making so much off the course in endorsements, the prize is a mere number to include in advertisements to drum up minimal actual interest.

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Now, if you told me both guys were going to pony up some money to up the ante, now that would make for a really interesting dynamic.  I know the potential for side bets for each other’s charity of choosing is there. But that seems like a last-minute throw-in to assuage the people who hate that the winner takes all, as opposed to a charity in the first place.  Just because charities are involved as a casual side note does not mean people will perceive it more positively.  Just ask Lebron how that works.

3. It’s About a Decade Too Late

Yes, both Tiger and Phil won on Tour this season.  And Tiger is looking like he could still conceivably win another major before his career comes to a close.

But this feels like it has the same past-its-peak-intrigue that stunk up Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.  In fact, it seems to have some of the same stink as the Mayweather/MacGregor fight that felt like a straight promo-doused cash grab.

I get it though.  If you are going to test this out, they really are the only two guys that have the draw for 4 hours of banter mixed with a little golf.  If you did the same thing with 1-on-1 in basketball, Lebron would probably be playing Kobe for maximum ratings.

But can you imagine if this was during their primes?  You could sell me on coughing up a Jackson to watch that.  But Now? As the internet likes to say: “Meh.”

4. The “Behind-the-Scenes” Banter

Yes, both guys can be very candid at times.  Some of their most authentic statements have been some of the most compelling.  In fact, they’ve had some decent moments together that were lighthearted and fun.

But we’re talking a full round here.  How authentic are these guys going to be?

Let’s remember, these guys have a lot of sponsors to appease.  So if we think we are going to be treated to nonstop back-and-forth that isn’t at times calculated, while other times just uninteresting, and others yet underwhelming, we are really hoping for the best and preparing for the best.  

5. If the Match is Not Close

Can you imagine if it ends 5 and 4?  It would be the equivalent of a prize fight knockout in the first or second round, but with no undercard to help.  That would be a nightmare for the event.

Not much else explanation needed on this one; if it’s one-sided, this whole idea could unravel quickly.

Verdict

Hey, it’s only twenty bucks, so if you are a golf nut and just want to see something that hasn’t been tried yet, you’ll probably watch Tiger vs. Phil.  I’m sure many people will get together with friends too, so if the ask is too steep, just split it with some buddies.

I really (really) hope this is a massive success.  It would be good for golf, and it would be good for potential one-offs in the future (McIlroy/Spieth?  Or McIlroy/Reed?).  And I’ll certainly be paying attention to the buildup and match itself.

But I just feel that this could have been presented a little better.  This is a great idea in theory, but with a lot of innovative ideas, it all comes down to the results.

For a matchup of this magnitude, it just feels like a lot is left to be desired.

What Do You Think?

So we have put out 5 reasons to watch and 5 to skip Tiger vs Phil.  So what do you think about this event?  Do you like it?  Hate it?  Are you going to watch, or will you be fighting the holiday crowds to save some money instead?  Let us know what you think in the comments!

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