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Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will play together in the first two rounds of this year’s Players Championship, a pairing that golf fans love but tournaments generally avoid in order to spread the popularity wealth around the course. But it’s won such acclaim that Phil decided to raise the stakes, so to speak:
“Why don’t we just bypass all the ancillary stuff of a tournament,” Mickelson said Tuesday, “and just go head-to-head, and just have kind of a high-stakes, winner-take-all match?”
Mickelson, of course, is one of the Tour’s most notorious gamblers, and the idea of him taking on Woods in a Monday Night Golf-style one-on-one is absolutely perfect. Regardless of the fact that both players are well past their primes, who would you take right now?
Woods, for his part, had the perfect reply: “We’ll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable.”
Woods and Mickelson have only been paired together 32 times in their careers, and Phil holds a slight edge head-to-head, 15-14-3. Of course, Tiger had little patience for the idea that Phil might have an edge on him:
Look, this has to happen. Yes, golf has attempted one-on-one match play before, most notably with its “Monday Night Golf” events that paired Woods, Sergio Garcia, David Duval and others. Those early matchups were ratings bonanzas, outdrawing every event but the Masters, and there’s no reason another version couldn’t be. You know the PGA Tour is trying to make this happen right now … and if it’s not, someone needs to get cracking.
In other news, Phil had a perfect moment with a young fan: