Tiger and Phil's $10 million match is ON – but do we really care?

The Scoop

Are we really interested in this made-for-TV match-up? Mark Townsend and Alex Perry discuss in Alternate Shot

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for $10 million. It’s the showdown the golfing world has been talking about for weeks.

And now, according to a report from ESPN, it is going to happen at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas on November 23 or 24 – which is Thanksgiving weekend in the US.

The original report from Golf.com said the iconic pair were due to meet on July 3 in the winner-takes-all showdown.

The negotiations, according to the report, involved a major TV network and, of course, various major corporations.

But is a manufactured, made-for-TV match-up between two ageing icons well past their prime really of any interest to you? Two of our writers, Mark Townsend and Alex Perry, disagree…

Yes, says Mark Townsend

People seem to be aggrieved by all of this – it’s too contrived, it’s not for charity, the sums of money are vulgar and what does it even matter?

I haven’t really got a different answer to any of these but I still can’t wait to see them slugging it out/contriving a finish that ends on the 18th.

I don’t actually think the latter part of that last sentence will happen, I would hazard a guess that when the glove goes on they won’t be able to help themselves. Tiger, to put his long-time closest rival in his place in front of millions. Phil, to get a rare one over the man who has messed up his chances of winning double-figure majors.

In my head it will be like the last scene between Rocky and Apollo Creed in Rocky III.

They might be mates these days, and I genuinely love the thought of that (if true), but they’d still, in a golfing sense, love to put the boot in to one another.

I don’t expect the ‘smack talk’ to be anything like what normally goes on, I don’t expect to learn anything about either player other than how affected both players can be in front of the cameras and some of it will make me feel a bit nauseous but you can’t take away the fact that these two gladiators, both of whom are still very competitive, will be going head-t0-head and that very rarely happens.

The body language alone will be fascinating enough.

We all talk endlessly about the need for more matchplay, the chances are that this will get way more people tuned into the game than the final round of the Quicken Loans and it could well – and probably will – be the start of some tasty TV match-ups.

And, yes, the money thing is all vulgar but this is the way of the world and I don’t see many people jumping up and down when Player A signs another multi-million deal to have a new logo on his shirt.

No, says Alex Perry

Tiger Woods

I’m not really interested, no. Well, I mean, of course I’m interested – I’d watch Tiger open a can of beans if they put it on TV – but I just don’t really get the point of it.

Are tour officials, sponsors and television executives so irked by the fact we never really got to see Tiger and Phil go shot-for-shot down the stretch in a major that they have to manufacture this completely pointless “friendly” match?

Oh, but it’s not friendly, I hear you say – it’s for 10 million big ones! Winner takes all!

So? A very quick Google search tells me Mickelson is worth something in the region of $500 million and Woods is a billionaire.

So what is $10 million to these two? I’m sure Phil drops more than that in one night in Vegas – on the slots, I mean, not the course. And it’s not event going to be their own money. It’s like you and me playing for a couple of quid and the pro-shop paying for it.

It’s just another layer to add to this so-called “rivalry” that has been completely manufactured over the years. Hell, when Phil was No. 2 in the world, he was 17 points behind Tiger at No. 1 in the rankings. SEVENTEEN! To put that into context, the gap between current No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the player ranked 1,000th is around 10 points.

The genuinely sad fact of this matter is more people will no doubt tune into this than whichever actual PGA Tour event happens to be going on that week.

And will there be an undercard? Are Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed going to rematch their epic battles from the last Ryder Cup and Masters? Why not get Jose Maria Olazabal and Justin Leonard to face off again? That’ll get the crowd warmed up.

I want context in my golfing rivalries. Wake me up when Tiger and Phil are toe-to-toe at the turn on Sunday at Augusta.

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