The Match: Tiger vs Phil was a great concept that delivered. While it may have been clumsy at times, it met expectations with a pressured filled and exciting finish for $9 Million. This match had plenty of critics before it even started, most of whom were agitated that it was pay per view and that two very wealthy golfers were playing for a winner takes all $9 Million. I’m still trying to figure out why people were so offended. Tiger and Phil are entertainers and have a right to earn money doing what they do best. This was no different than a Floyd Mayweather fight or and Eagles concert. Don’t those entertainers have enough money where they should perform and give it all for charity? Tiger and Phil have foundations with their namesakes on them that do many great charitable things. They wouldn’t exist without their exploits and I they each mentioned they would put some of their earnings from The Match (side challenges and other revenues) and future endeavors into them. In addition, both players (perhaps Tiger more than Phil) have been huge draws on the PGA Tour, one of the most philanthropic professional sports organizations in existence. In 2017 alone, the PGA Tour raised $180 Million through its tournaments that season. It wasn’t just those two players (Tiger was out), but they were and are a part of it. I was and remain fine with the financial portion of the whole thing
The fact that it came down to a pitch and putt was pretty cool too. Thats what made it exciting and tense. Two of the greatest in the world obviously feeling the pressure to win. It wasn’t just about the money, but it added to the drama. Putting to beat Tiger Woods for $9 Million? That’s the stuff that dreams are made of, even Phil Mickelson’s dreams. Phil even alluded to it in the post match interview saying he knew it meant more to him than it did Tiger. How could you not love that honesty?
Producing The Match, commentating on it, and its execution were overall good, but there are some things to correct and improve on for next year (you don’t think there will be another?). My suggestions are:
-Have the person walking with the group be more involved. I thought they could have used Shane Bacon or Natalie Gulbis for more interaction with the players during their shots. Sky TV does a great job on the European Tour walking and talking with players during the round and I thought that format would be better for it. There were only two times I recall interaction with the players, the turn interview and Gulbis asking Tiger about the chip in on 17. Perhaps more seasoned on course reporters or players could have drawn out more.
-Commentating from the booth was tough for The Match given all of the time between shots. Overall I thought they did a fine job while trying to balance analysis and humor. Sure some of it got goofy at times, but I appreciated the effort. There were too many times they talked over the open mics of Phil and Tiger, and that’s fair, but it’s hard to know when they were going to say something interesting. What they could have and should have done was leave the mics open and listen each time they were together. That was hard. I’m sure the production truck had a producer with just the audio feeds of Tiger and Phil, and the very difficult job of notifying the lead producer and director when they were saying something of significance.
-I liked the concept of having the professional gambler chime in with how the public was betting at the sports book at the MGM. I would have like it better if they cut to live shots of him at the MGM placing and explaining the bets to make.
-The format could use some refining. Perhaps have it segmented into 6 different matches with presses like we all do on Saturdays at our local clubs. Maybe they could make each hole progressively worth more, and they are allowed to roll any winnings into the next hole. They could split the pot at the beginning, but players must bet during the match the total of their pot over the course of The Match. I’m finding out how to create more challenges during the match.
-I thought it would have been cool if the caddies could have placed bets on their guys between each other. They may, but it would have been neat to hear it.
-Shadow Creek looks like a pretty awesome place to play. Someday.
-What the heck was going on with Phil’s hat? It had this awkward ridge in the middle on top and didn’t look good at all. I was also surprised he wasn’t wearing one of the long sleeve business style golf shirts.
-If you’ve never tried to finish a round at dusk, you have no idea how tough it was for them on the 18th hole both times they played. The cameras have the iris wide open to make it look lighter than it was. The lights for the 20th hole were a great idea, and we use a similar setup for The Duster Challenge each summer. It is different putting under the lights with dew setting in on the greens.
-I didn’t even know Natalie Gulbis was there until she asked Tiger about his chip in on the 18th tee box. She was underutilized.
-I wanted to see Charles Barkley try to make double bogey at the first.
-Next year: Rory vs Rose