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It’s A Trap! Tiger Vs. Phil Feels More Like Sham Than Showdown

Everyone seems to be having an awesome time hyping Friday’s winner-take-all match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in Las Vegas. Good for them.

We beg to differ. We think the entire concept is contemptable, a sham, a calculated consumer rip off.

Tiger Phil

Harry How / Getty

Other than that, we have no problem with it.

The laugh track was really rolling earlier this week when Tiger and Phil held their pre-match press conference for “Capital One’s: The Match.” The only thing missing was the weigh-in, Tiger and Phil glaring at each other, sneering, fists clenched.

Mickelson announced he had duped Woods into a side bet of $200,000, a day-after-Thanksgiving appetizer accompanying the $9 million winner-take-all scrum at Shadow Creek.

Shadowy, indeed. Golf’s Black Friday. What must Billy Payne be thinking? Can someone get us a green jacket, size 44R? Where has the tradition gone?

“I feel like the first hole is a great hole for me,” said Mickelson. “And I believe – in fact, I’m willing to risk $100,000 that says I birdie the first hole. So that’s how good I feel heading into this match.”

Woods responded to this with a question: “So, you think you can make birdie on the first hole?”

Mickelson guaranteed it.

“Double it,” said Woods.

Don’t buy it, we say. And when we say don’t buy it, we literally mean it. Don’t buy the pay-for-view show. We’d rather you stand in line at a toy store, make turkey soup, rake the yard, sleep on your sofa.

Listen, even  if you live near the golf course, you still won’t be able to hang in the gallery, No tickets have sold. You have to be “invited” to watch.

Or asked to pay to watch it in your living room.

Don’t buy into the hype. Don’t buy the show. It will cost you $20 to see it.

“It’s an experiment,” Stephen Espinoza, president of sports and event programming at Showtime, told USA TODAY Sports. “Everybody in the pay-per-view industry is going be watching Tiger and Phil to see what happens on a few different fronts.”

When you think of pay-for-view, you naturally think of boxing and Don King, the hipster hyper. Or the WWF.

In 2015, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fought and charged $90 for standard definition and $100 for HD. The cost was prohibitive to the 4.6 million who paid up. In 2017, Mayweather and Conor McGregor staged their sham and charged the same price.

WrestleMania XXVIII in 2012 attracted 1,217,000 pay per view purchases. And why not? The Rock and John Cena fought in the main event. And in 2017, WrestleMania XXXIII, The Undertaker’s final match, generated 1,950,000 purchases.

Popcorn, not included.

If you chose to buy the golf, don’t expect Jim Nance and Nick Faldo. You will watch it on Turner Sports B/R Live apps on platforms like Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku. Or you can simply check your local cable and satellite provider for channel information.

From the moment the concept for this match was first floated, there seemed to be something ethically repugnant about it. What’s with the $9 million pot of gold handed to the winner? recently estimated Woods’s net worth at $760 million and Mickelson’s at $400 million.

The way we understand it, the winner of the event will get all $9 million with zilch going to the loser. The idea seems to be to use this as a trial balloon, gauge what the public interest is and maybe stage other exhibitions in the future.

The only redeeming factor is that both players have the intention to make charitable donations.

According to, the agents for both players announced that a “portion” of the proceeds will be allocated to a number of charities designated by the players. Additional donations will be made by the players and PGA Tour from the rights fee.

What would be better still was if these multi-millionaires gave most, if not all, the proceeds to charity.

What do Woods and Mickelson need with another $9 million. St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital could use it. Just saying.

“He (Woods) came along and broke every single record I had,” said Mickelson. “Junior records, college, U.S. amateur: I won one, he won three. At Shadow Creek, I shot the course-record 61. A couple of years later, you shoot 60.

“But Friday you’ve got to do it simultaneously. You can’t come along and do it later. It’s my chance after losing so many tournaments to you, so many majors, to get something back.”

Hey Phil, trying doing it next season at The Masters. As for Friday, we will be taking a nap. Amino acid tryptophan can do a number on you after a big turkey dinner. Seconds, please.

One turkey a weekend is enough.