Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson in talks for $10 million golf showdown
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are in talks to stage a $10 million winner-take-all 18-hole golf showdown, according to a report on the Golf.com website.
Plans to stage the made-for-television event on July 3 in Las Vegas fell through, according to the report, but representatives for 14-time major champion Woods and five-time major winner Mickelson remain committed to making it happen.
“We’re working on a different date,” Mickelson said. “I thought it was done for the third but obviously it wasn’t.”
Mickelson, a 48-year-old left-hander, and Woods, a 42-year-old with 79 US PGA titles who hasn’t won an event since 2013, played together in a rare practice round at Augusta National ahead of the Masters in April.
They were also paired together in May for the first two rounds of the Players Championship.
“Why don’t we just bypass all the ancillary stuff of a tournament and just go head-to-head and just have kind of a high-stakes, winner-take-all match,” Mickelson said at the Florida event.
“Now, I don’t know if he wants a piece of me, but I just think it would be something that would be really fun for us to do and I think there would be a lot of interest in it if we just went straight to the final round.”
Talks were well under way for just such a matchup, according to the report, with Woods playing along, saying, “I’m definitely not against that. We’ll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable.”
Mickelson says with so much money on the line, even millionaires will be out of their comfort zone.
“It’s a ridiculous amount of money,” Mickelson said.
“No matter how much money you have, this amount will take both of us out of our comfort zone.”
Woods ranks 16th on the 2018 Forbes magazine list of the world’s top moneymaker athletes with $43.3 million, topping all golfers, with Mickelson six spots lower overall and second among golfers at $41.3 million.
Mickelson said he and Woods hope to play a couple of exhibitions a year worldwide, potentially joining forces to face global rivals such as Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.
The interaction between Woods and Mickelson, captured on microphones, would be part of the attraction.
“You will hear a lot of the comments that you don’t hear on regular TV. We both like to talk smack, and we both have fun with what we’re doing,” Mickelson said.
“And the fact that this isn’t an official tournament, that it’s just a head-to-head match, you’ll hear some of the little nuances, some of the little things that you don’t normally pick up.”
Mickelson knows, however, that Woods has bragging rights in almost every category in golf history, his 14 major titles and 79 career US PGA triumphs each second on the all-time lists.
“Whether it’s 14 majors, 79 wins, however many players of the year awards, the whole deal, he owns all the trump cards. So I have to be very careful and strategic in my smack talk,” said Mickelson.
“Because if I lay something down, in comes a trump card, you know, and then shuts me right up.”
Mickelson said he and Woods, long-time rivals, developed a closer relationship as part of the US task force created to help boost America’s Ryder Cup effort, work that paid off with a home-soil victory in 2016 at Hazeltine.
“As we’ve developed a good relationship, we’ve started to collaborate on some other things that have allowed us to achieve things that we couldn’t do on our own,” Mickelson said.
“Like this match. I couldn’t do it on my own. He couldn’t do it on his own. But together, we’re (trying) to create something pretty special.”