Phil Mickelson will take home the $9 million prize, and the bragging rights that come with beating Tiger Woods one-on-one, but what was hyped as a clash between two of golf’s all-time greats at times looked more like a lazy round between friends.
“I know big picture, your career is the greatest of all time,” Mickelson said of Woods in an interview conducted next to a giant stack of cash (via ESPN). “I’ve seen you do things that are just remarkable. But just know I will not ever let you live this one down. I will bring it up every time I see you.”
Sure, Phil, go ahead. But don’t be alarmed if no one else mentions it.
Mickelson and Woods spent months promoting the event and ramping up the playful “trash talk.”
Woods earlier in November claimed, “I’ve been in Phil’s head for 20-some-odd years.” At the Northern Trust in August a day after they announced The Match, Mickelson chided Woods after an onlooker commented his drive had to be “better than Tiger’s.”
“Oh, it is,” Mickelson shot back.
But during The Match, the two played relatively even golf. And that wasn’t saying much.
“The first 14 holes were ‘competitive' in the sense that a YMCA Little Tykes’ 0-0 soccer game is competitive,” Joel Beall wrote for Golfworld. “From the tee to second shots to the short game, everything was off.”
“The golf was as sloppy as your drunken uncle at the Thanksgiving table and the banter was as canned as cranberry sauce,” added Josh Sens for Golf.com.
Said Charles Barkley (yes, Charles Barkley) even more bluntly: “You know, America, you’re watching some really crappy golf.”
Even Rickie Fowler at home watching was not impressed.
Neither Mickelson nor Woods led by more than one hole Friday at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas. Once, each golfer told the other to pick up a shot, wiping out the result and the advantage the could have been gained.
“I don’t want to win that way,” Mickelson said after Woods missed the green twice on a makeshift playoff hole. Organizers set up a tee box on the course’s practice green and cut a new hole into the 18th green. The pair played it three times.
"Couldn’t hit it with a lob wedge,'' Woods complained. “Twice.''
He also couldn’t putt.
“I had plenty of opportunities to make putts today, and I didn’t make any putts to put a little bit of pressure on Phil,” Woods said. “I had an opportunity on the last hole to win the match.”
“The bottom line,” wrote ESPN’s Bob Harig, “was the golf was just not that compelling.”
Not compelling, but a pretty good payday for Lefty (and the three charities to which he said he plans to donate a portion of his winnings).
Read more from The Post: