Who will win The Match: Tiger or Phil?
The players and caddies will be miked up, there will be side bets aplenty and, at the end of it all, someone will jump in their private jet with $9 million in their back pocket or via the usual oversized cheque.
But who wins? The clever money’s on Tiger, he’s priced at 1/2 with the bookies while you can get 7/4 on Mickelson. We argue the toss over the Showdown at Shadow Creek.
Tiger, says Steve Carroll (grudgingly)
You’ve put me in a bit of a spot here.
It’s a tough choice between tuning in to this and staring at the second coat going on in my lounge.
I’ve little time for exhibition games unless they are accompanied by fuzzy footage of Cypress Point and the dulcet tones of a Snead or Sarazen.
Hang on, though, while I flip a coin… OK, Tiger.
Boredom aside, there’s actually a solid case to be made for the GOAT.
He’s been owning Phil for most of his career, a fact Mickelson acknowledged in the press conference for this circus, so why would Thanksgiving be any different?
While Phil has been sweating in his Mizzen & Main for the latter part of the year, Tiger finished very strongly with a Tour Championship win. Of the two, he’s absolutely the one whose game looks better.
I’m not sure I totally buy this ‘best mates’ act either. Yes the enmity between the two has faded, as generally happens when sporting rivals come down from their peak.
But I’m pretty sure if there is one person Tiger does not wanted to be bested by – and particularly in front of an audience – it will be the man he used to love hammering more than any other.
Mickelson’s been full of bluster with his big pre-game side bets. I reckon it’s all a front and Woods will handle him comfortably.
As he pretty much always has done.
Phil, says Mark Townsend
I know, I know, who cares? We all say that but we’ll all be following what’s going on in some way or other or dip into some highlights at some point. If I had a pound for every person who’s gone to the trouble of informing me on Twitter that they’re not interested in what happens then I’d be, I don’t know, better off.
It’s the biggest golfing rivalry over the past two decades and, for large chunks of it, they haven’t really got on, were rubbish Ryder Cup partners and both have egos the size of their bank balances.
To make a case for Phil it’s not too easy. He was a shambles leading up to the Ryder Cup, things got even worse in France and he’s becoming ever-increasingly weird in his social media activity which is wholly due in trying to drum up interest for this.
What we should have learnt about him by now is to always expect the unexpected. No form to speak of? Pop him down for a W. Five straight top 10s? Pencil him in for a MC.
He’s weird so if anyone is going to enjoy putting on a bit of a show in this sort of farce it’s Mickelson. If anyone’s going to love a bit of Vegas histrionics it’s him. Tiger’s been the most private and intense golfer the game has maybe ever seen, certainly in the modern era, so this might all be a bit draining for him after half a dozen holes of forced banter. Tiger ‘shut it down’ for the best part of a month after the Ryder Cup so he’ll be rusty, his work’s done for the year and it’s been a cracker.
For Mickelson it’s Glory’s Last Shot at getting one over the GOAT. He’s even had a new hairdo for the occasion. Let’s go with him.