Steve Carroll, Alex Perry and James Savage join me to discuss – what else? – The Match. Two great mates mic’d up, trash talking one another, and taking the game to a whole new audience. An audience who either can’t or won’t be able to afford the pay per view.
But enough negativity. Let’s ask the big questions, starting with…
Who would you rather be stuck on a desert island with, Tiger or Phil?
Steve: Oh god, this is difficult. Do I want to be lectured at for hours by Phil on every conceivable subject or suffer a lot of long and moody silences at the hands of Tiger? I’d probably rather have drowned.
Alex: Phil would tell the better stories. And when it inevitably comes to having to kill to survive, Mickelson’s got a bit more meat on him.
James: I’m really struggling. I think I’d start hating Mickelson quicker. Maybe Tiger would be a slow burner. I’ve also got the same birthday as him which would be a nice ice-breaker. I wonder if he got fobbed off with joint Christmas and birthday presents too?
My verdict: We’re constantly told that Tiger is better value than he always comes across but I’m not sure I’d have the energy to wait for the ice to thaw. I think Phil would be quite good entertainment on a daily basis. We could have a few bets and, being of a similar age and weight frame, I think we could push each other to try and keep in shape with some gentle work-outs.
And then have a little dance at night…
If you could host any version of The Match, in the present day, who would you most like to throw together?
James: Keegan Bradley and Miguel Angel Jimenez. There’s some unfinished business there.
Steve: After the rancour of the Ryder Cup, I’d like to see Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in some kind of elaborate golfing Celebrity Deathmatch. Pat can give Jordan the big shoosh every time he holes a putt, while Justine yells on the sidelines, “Who do you want to play with now?”
Alex: I’m trying to think who would throw up the craziest side bets, and I’d say Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka but our lawyers have suggested it’s probably best I leave it at that. So I’d like to see Shooter McGavin get another shot at Happy Gilmore.
My verdict: My first thought was Bradley-Jimenez as that’s the closest that I can remember any golfer look like he’s going to nut a fellow player. In truth, away from all the vileness that has surrounded The Match, I’d still go for Woods-Mickelson that speaks volumes for how good they’ve both been and also how relatively dull some of the modern players are.
One won a WGC and the other the Tour Championship in 2018 so they’re hardly busted flushes. I think it’s going to be fascinating.
Who, out of Tiger and Phil, would you rather have as your Ryder Cup partner?
Alex: Same answer as the desert island question – minus the pre-meditated murder, of course. Playing alongside Tiger would make me far too anxious. I feel like I’d be able to let go a bit more with Phil.
James: Tiger. I’d like to be the one to finally get the best out of him at the Ryder Cup. I can see us bumping chests like Spieth and Greller after I hole out from the bunker on 17. I’m not sure he’d have the patience for my wayward driving though.
Steve: Phil. For all that he’s flawed in this competition he does at least give the impression that he likes company. His partnership with Keegan Bradley at Medinah was pretty effective as well. Tiger likes to play the team card these days, but I suspect – and Le Golf National did nothing to disprove this – that he really just wants to be on his own.
My verdict: I watched a few holes of Reed and Woods against Moliwood and they were absolute polar opposites as pairings, for all the talk of Captain American and how much Woods wanted to make the team the Americans were risible. As long as Phil promised not to rake my ball back while still moving after I blade my chip then I’d go for him.
I’ll be honest it’s the thought of having another little middle-aged dance with him that’s got him the nod.