Pay to watch Tiger vs. Phil? I’ll leave it, thanks

The Scoop

It’s being hyped like a title fight, and will likely come at the same sort of price, but Steve Carroll won’t be forking out to tune in

There was a time – before the tedious responsibilities of paying for things like houses and electricity – that the sniff of a big title fight would make my wallet drool like Pete Doherty over another serving of hash browns.

Lewis vs. Holyfield? Couldn’t get my credit card out quickly enough. But then there was the ‘Fight of the Century’.

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather spent 36 largely dull minutes dancing around each other and my pay-per-view bubble largely burst.

So it’s been like driving past a farmer’s field with the windows down for veterans of big fight dramas this week as ‘THE MATCH’ – capital letters compulsory – was officially unveiled for Thanksgiving weekend.

There’s the distinct whiff of something in the air.

Tiger vs Phil. Over 18 holes of matchplay at Shadow Creek, in Las Vegas. With $9 million of, presumably, our money on the line and the contest funded through PPV.

I don’t want to be a complete killjoy. This spectacle, and let’s not kid ourselves as to what it is, was definitely worth watching once.

It was around 2005.

That was when the pair felt a genuine enmity towards each other – when the simple act of pairing them together in a Ryder Cup had been the catalyst for a record defeat for the United States.

Tiger vs Phil

That was when it was “anytime I can beat that guy” for Woods.

Now with the former rivals so loved up they’re playing practice rounds together, it’s just two middle-aged athletes pretending to slug it out in a stage-managed piece of theatre that would make WWE blush.

All it needs is one of them gatecrashing RAW and powerbombing the other through a table.

Phil finally dived into the Twitter universe this week – what a coincidence – and got so carried away he even followed ‘Phil Mickelson’s Ego’ and ‘Phil Mickelson’s Thumb’. The man is following his own parody accounts.

Anyway, here was surely a chance to for him to engage in the kind of ‘smack talk’ for which he is renowned on the PGA Tour.

Tiger must have needed a night in A&E after that burn.

Then the GOAT waded back in and the man who could once crush a journalist’s spirit with simply a stare sounded like how my granddad chided his chums in their pre-round betting bluster.

It made me cringe then and this does now.

Yet we’re going to be expected to shell out for a whole evening of it – of fake trash talk and side-bets over nearest the pins on longest drives?

This is supposed to be elite sport not the kind of competition you’d see on a team day down at the club – although I bet they’ll get more than an umbrella for stiffing it on a par 3.

And given that the mere suggestion that something might not be ‘free’ – along with the handing over of PayPal details – caused a meltdown for Eleven Sports during the PGA Championship, is there really a market for pay-per-view TV when it comes to golf?

We’re about to find out but I suspect the answer in the UK is ‘no’.

What came loud and clear from the howls on social media during the PGA is that people expect their golf to be in one place and part of what they are already paying.

They’ve got their Sky and just let anyone try and persuade them to hand out any more money elsewhere.

Now I don’t follow that mantra. I think TV watching – as we know it – will soon be as defunct as the old analogue aerials we used to view it on.

Eleven Sports

The rights will be spread far and wide and, ultimately, we’ll pick and choose the sports we want to watch and the amounts we pay.

I’ve no issue with that. I’ve got my Sky subscription, but I’ve also got my Amazon and Netflix add-ons. And I watch YouTube far more than I tune into the BBC.

But if I’m going to pay I want that investment to be worth it. The sport I watch has to mean something.

I don’t really want to make two very rich men a little bit richer in a glorified exhibition.

So pay to watch Tiger and Phil? I’ll leave it thanks.

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