Tiger, Phil confirm US$9 million match play event

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods will play against each other on November 23, 2018. (Reuters pic)

LAS VEGAS: The matchup golf fans have dreamed of for two decades is finally a reality, and it has all the dramatic elements PGA and TV executives could ask for, as it features Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in Las Vegas during Thanksgiving weekend.

Tiger Woods on Wednesday afternoon tweeted that the long-rumoured winner-take-all match against Phil Mickelson will become a reality. The PGA Tour shortly after confirmed the news.

The two golfing icons will play 18 holes in an event titled, “The Match”. MGM Resorts International will host the event on Friday, November 23, at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, the winner taking home US$9 million (RM37 million). According to the PGA Tour, the event will be carried on pay-per-view and on-demand services.

And in true Vegas fashion, the two immediately began a bit of Twitter trash talk following Woods’ tweet.

“I bet you think this is the easiest $9M you will ever make,” Mickelson tweeted at Woods.

Woods replied: “Think you will earn some bragging rights?”

Mickelson ended the banter with, “Let’s do this #TigerVsPhil.”

Also, according to the PGA Tour: “As part of the live event, both Woods and Mickelson will selectively make side-challenges against one another during the match. For instance, Woods or Mickelson could raise the stakes by challenging the other to a long-drive, closest-to-the-pin, or similar competition during a hole as they play their match, with money being donated to the winning golfer’s charity of choice.”

Woods, 42, and Mickelson, 48, are longtime competitors dating back to their days playing junior golf in Southern California. Their relationship was frosty in their early years on the PGA Tour but has thawed as they have gotten older, partially because of their involvement in the United States teams for the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup.

“It’s a ridiculous amount of money,” Mickelson told Golf.com last month about the potential match. “No matter how much money you have, this amount will take both of us out of our comfort zone.’’

According to PGA statistics, Woods has lifetime tour earnings of US$112.2 million (RM460 million), 79 tour wins, and 14 majors. Mickelson’s career earnings are US$87.6 million (RM359.2 million), with 43 tour victories and five majors to his credit. These figures do not include the considerable amount of money both have earned through endorsements throughout their careers.

This season, Mickelson has six top 10s and one win, the WGC-Mexico Championship, while Woods has five top 10s without a win in 14 events. But this summer has seen Woods play his best golf since his return from multiple back surgeries. He has three top-10s in his last four tourneys, including a tie for sixth place in The Open Championship in Scotland in July and a runner-up finish in the PGA Championship on August 12.