We made it to another holiday season. Golf would normally be the furthest thing from our minds, but Tiger and Phil face off Friday evening, and the World Cup is getting under way in Australia. We would love to say it is the off-season, but the golf just keeps on coming.
What Happens in Vegas?
We are just over twenty-four hours from the event that golf media has been discussing for the better part of the year. It’s Tiger Woods, it’s Phil Mickelson, it’s $9 million on the line, it’s “The Match”.
We Like Them - Tiger and Phil have been the two dominant figures in the golf universe over the last twenty years. Their play, personalities, antics and influence will go down as some of the most important in the history of our game. You can debate where Phil belongs in terms of all-time greats, but his charisma and likeability have made his story a must-follow.
Charity - The duo is playing for a large sum of money that will almost certainly be given to an organization that could use it. Nothing official has been announced yet, but expect a big sum to go to a good cause.
Would this match have been better 10 or 15 years ago? Sure. But seeing two titans of our game go head-to-head will undoubtedly be fun to watch. Shut up, pony up your twenty bucks, and live tweet it with the rest of us.
$$$$$ - The business side of this production is easy to see. Between the litany of sponsors and the late “involvement” from the PGA Tour, it’s clear that everyone involved is getting paid handsomely. The “Tiger Effect” has already been profound on the sport, but pulling off this high-priced exhibition brings it to new heights. The money slightly takes away from the competition but makes the future of the event interesting.
Rivalry? - The sponsors have marketed this as some giant rivalry, but the issue is it never really existed. During Tiger and Phil’s prime, the two rarely found themselves dueling down the stretch.
Access - Beyond their lack of competitive history, the vibe stinks. The Match is being held at an uber-exclusive place that will not have fans. We aren’t saying that this should have been an 18 at East Lake type of crowd, but a crowd would have been cool.
The Spectacle - Tiger and Phil are interesting people, but man can they be awkward. If they are forced to act at all during this thing, it will be a very strange affair. They won’t have large crowds to cater to, so a big shot will not elicit much of a reaction.
The Side Bets - Woods and Mickelson have already started making personal bets. Phil bet Tiger $100k that he will birdie the first hole, and Tiger doubled it. Who knows where these will end up by the end of the round.
The Celebrities - Charles Barkley and Samuel L. Jackson are going to be a part of the commentary during the event, and there is literally no telling what they are going to talk about. They could be amazing and funny, but it could also be an uncomfortable experience for everyone involved.
All in all, this event will probably be a ratings success. It will either be entertaining in a good way, or it will be a car crash you can’t look away from. If you’re hungry for more coverage of this event, here are some articles we recommend.
Brendan Porath on what will make this event succeed or fail. Full Article
Dylan Dethier on what bets you should take if you put any money on the prop bets. Full Article
Michael Bamberger on the personality of Tiger Woods. Full Article
World Cup of Golf
Meanwhile, kicking off tonight is the 2018 World Cup of Golf at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia. The event pits teams of two from 28 different countries in a 72-hole stroke play competition, with the teams competing in two rounds of fourball (best ball) and two rounds of foursomes (alt shot). Headlining the event will be the Aussie duo of Marc Leishman and Cam Smith. Other notable teams include the U.S. pair of Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley, England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry, and the reigning champion Denmark Team Thørbjorn Olesen and Søren Kjeldsen. It’s pretty much the complete opposite of “The Match”, an authentic global competition at a world-class championship golf course in firm and fast conditions. We highly recommend Ben Coley’s preview from Sporting Life of each of the 28 teams in Melbourne.
Listening for the road this weekend
Shotgun Start: A World Cup draft, and Shane Bacon discusses The Match and his role in the broadcast
Before we get to the biggest bar night of the year, Andy and Brendan settle in to preview Tiger v. Phil and the World Cup of Golf. The two praise the World Cup format and hope for a better future with more hype and attention on the event. They hold the inaugural Shotgun Start World Cup of Golf draft to make things more interesting while watching the primetime golf from Australia. Then TV superstar Shane Bacon joins to discuss The Match and his role as a reporter in the unique broadcast of the pay-per-view event on Friday. We get into his preferred spots in Vegas, what he wants to do with Charles Barkley while they’re out there, and what he expects from Tiger and Phil at Shadow Creek. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify
Patrick Boyd, part II
Patrick Boyd is the founder of National Custom Works and Boyd Blade and Ferrule. Patrick is one of the few people in golf making hand-crafted irons and also sports a wealth of golf course architecture knowledge. In part two, we discuss fun golf courses, the fair police and a trip down memory lane talking golf equipment of the yesteryear. If you missed part one, check it out to learn about Patrick's background and how he got into the equipment industry. Listen to Part II of this podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or the website.
Rickie Fowler is co-producing a second season of “Driven” with Justin Thomas this year. This year will focus on the Alabama/Auburn rivalry in the SEC. Full Story
Michael Bamberger of Golf.com wrote a really in-depth article on how Cameron Champ became the player he is today. Full article
We will be off for the holiday weekend following a tryptophan-induced food coma. Expect your next newsletter Monday.