It took extra time, an invented hole and floodlights, but The Match came to an end with Phil Mickelson picking up the win over Tiger Woods. Here’s how it happened Friday at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas:
Woods finally hits the green, but misses his putt from inside 10 feet. Mickelson, inside 5 feet this time, makes his and wins the $9 million.
After Woods airmails the green — again — Mickelson stuffs his shot to 5 feet, 11 inches. And he misses. Mickelson doesn’t make Woods make his 5-footer to halve the hole. “I don’t want to win that way,” Mickelson says.
This wasn’t a real hole. This was invented, a tee on the practice putting green. Tiger airmails the green, but gets up and down for par. Mickelson misses from just inside 18 feet. On we go …
Woods grumbled to himself all day that he couldn’t hit a good putt. With a putt just inside 8 feet to win the whole thing, Woods misses again. On we go …
After the drama on 17, the two head to 18 with all $9 million riding on the short par-5. Woods goes just over the back of the green in two; Mickelson hits the center of the green in two. Woods makes his 5-footer for birdie, then concedes Mickelson’s 4-footer. On we go …
17th hole: Par 3, 150 yards
Woods loves his tee shot, but it goes too far. Doesn’t matter. Woods chips in from the back fringe for birdie. “Like old times,” Woods says to caddie Joe LaCava. Mickelson misses his birdie attempt. After 17 holes, we are right where we started.
Tiger with a chip-in and fist pump at No. 17. Just when it looked like Phil was about to put an end to this thing, the drama finally arrives.
16th hole: Par 5, 626 yards
The same story continues … two pars. Both have a chance at the long par-5, but as has been the case all day, neither can make anything happen.
Announcer Ernie Johnson begging for something dramatic to happen. Still nothing. Another pair of pars, this time on a par 5 16th hole. Or, as Peter Jacobsen said — “underwhelming.”
Tiger pretty much summed it up: “I haven’t hit a good putt.” No, no he hasn’t.
15th hole: Par 4, 467 yards
See if this sounds familiar: Both have to scramble for par. Mickelson hits a perfect, classic Phil flop shot to kick-in range. Woods hits an awful chip after missing the green and then misses the putt to fall back into a hole with three holes left.
The chatter between Tiger and Phil has been, well, mostly non-existent. “We got into our old mode of trying to beat each other’s brains in,” Woods says as they walk down the 15th fairway.
14th hole: Par 4, 488 yards
Finally, a longest-drive challenge … and neither hits the fairway. So much for that. That means nobody gets the $100,000 for that side bet. But both hit fantastic second shots from the fairway bunker, leaving each with birdie putts inside 15 feet. Mickelson misses on the edge on the low side, Woods misses on the edge on the high side.
$100k long drive on the 14th hole, gotta be in the fairway to collect. Both Tiger and Phil miss the fairway and find the bunker. These are the two guys I know!
Mickelson and Woods with birdie putts that somehow don’t tumble into the hole on 14. Mickelson took credit for Tiger’s miss: “I think I just willed his out,” he says as he walks toward the 15th tee.
13th hole: Par 3, 213 yards
Mickelson talks Woods into another closest-to-the-pin, this one for $300,000. And Mickelson wins again, curling one inside 10 feet while Woods settles in at 15 feet. Woods cannot convert, missing narrowly on the high side. Mickelson confidently walks up to his and drills it in the heart to even things up again.
Phil says to an official walking up the 13th, “It’s amazing how quiet it gets on the back nine.” Laughs and then proceeds to win the 13th hole and the $300k side bet. All Square going to the 14th hole!!
The 13th hole was productive for Phil Mickelson. He wins $300,000 on a closest to the pin wager, then rolls in a birdie putt to win the hole and square the match with Tiger Woods. Not a bad little hole for Phil.
12th hole: Par 4, 394 yards
Woods hits a perfect drive. Hits his second shot to 2 feet. Mickelson concedes the short one to Woods, then misses his long putt. Woods grabs his first lead. The 11th and 12th holes could be where Woods turned this match around and ran away with things.
FIRST LEAD OF THE DAY FOR TIGER WOODS!!! It happens on the 12th hole with a wonderful shot from 74 yards to a gimme!
Mickelson should have built a lead over the first few holes. He didn’t. Now, finally, Woods might be figuring things out. Be careful, Phil.
11th hole: Par 4, 284 yards
Both players take a swipe at the reachable par 4. They agree on another side bet: Either makes eagle, it is worth $200,000. Both tee shots just miss the green, but Woods’ ball comes to rest in an easier spot. He chips up close for a conceded birdie. Mickelson’s flop runs 12 feet by the hole. He can’t convert the putt and Woods wins the hole.
All square through 11 holes and Phil Mickelson knows it shouldn’t be this close. “I can’t keep letting him hang in like this,” he says.
Tiger squares match with a tap in birdie on the par 5 11th. Woods hasn’t led one hole so far today and the talk between the two is sporadic at best.
10th hole: Par 4, 438 yards
Another hole, another pair of pars. Woods has to scramble for his, while Mickelson two-putts his way in.
This was the great fear with Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson, that it would be … blah. For 10 holes, it’s been blah.
Ninth hole: Par 4, 391 yards
Things get interesting at No. 9. On the tee, they bet $100,000 if somebody makes an eagle. After two good tee shots, they up it $1 million. Neither comes close. In fact, both hit atrocious second shots with short irons in hand. Both end up scrambling their way to pars.
Most people underestimate the trash talking ability of Phil Mickelson. On the par 4 9 (391 yards) Lefty just made a side bet of $100k if anyone makes a two and the bet just got REAL!!! Both hit perfect drives and Phil said, “Let’s throw another zero on it.” That’s a MILLION dollars for either player who makes a 2!!!!
Eighth hole: Par 3, 190 yards
Tiger gives another shot at a closest-to-the-pin bet, this one for $200,000. Woods hits a poor shot, some 40 feet from the hole. Mickelson hits almost the same shot, but his rolls back and stops at 38 feet. Another bet on the putts: If Tiger makes, he gets $50,000. If Phil makes, he gets $40,000. Neither comes close, so no cash exchanged. And Woods’ putt was so bad — he mumbled a four-letter word as soon as he hit it — he had 8 feet left for par and missed that. Mickelson makes his putt to take back the lead.
FIRST F BOMB!!! Tiger hits a horrible putt after a side bet of $50k with Phil on the 8th green. Still has 10′ left for par.
Let’s be honest about this: Tiger Woods is lucky he is only 1-down through eight holes and Phil Mickelson has missed an opportunity to have a nice, big cushion.
Seventh hole: Par 5, 557 yards
With both balls in the fairway off the tee, Woods tries to coax Mickelson into a side bet. Whoever has the best score on the hole, starting with their second shots, for $200,000. Given Woods hit it 40 yards past Mickelson, Phil tries to negotiate some odds. He asks for 3-2. Woods wouldn’t bite. No wager. Smart move by Mickelson, who dumps his second and third shots in the bunker. Woods finds the right fringe in two, lags his putt down and has tap-in for birdie and his first win.
One aspect of The Match that would help squelch many of the negatives: great golf. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Through 7 holes, there have been just 3 birdies between them, all coming on the par-5s. Tiger looks like extremely rusty, and while Phil’s game has been more solid, he has not taken advantage.
Sixth hole: Par 4, 516 yards
Both players with makeable birdie putts. Neither even threatens the hole. Two pars. Another hole halved. The biggest thing? Tiger is not happy with how he is playing. A lot of mumbling to himself.
The undeniable truth over six holes of The Match: Tiger Woods is not happy with how he is playing. A lot of phrases after tee shots and irons and putts that have the same basic premise — “that’s bad.”
Fifth hole: Par 3, 137 yards
A little side action on this one: $100,000 for closest to the pin. That’s an easy payout for Mickelson, who knocks one close while Woods misses way right. As for the match, Woods navigates a long two-putt and Mickelson misses from inside 8 feet — worse yet, he left the putt short — as the hole gets halved.
Closest to the pin challenge on No. 5 for $100,000. Mickelson hits his tee shot inside 10 feet. Woods misses by a mile. Tiger says it himself: “That was so bad.” Yes, yes, it was.
Tiger has been a bit shaky, missing a 4-footer for par, wayward with a couple of drives, unable to hit it close from 137 yards on a par-3. But he managed to coax in a 4-footer for par to remain 1-down after losing closest to the pin at the fifth.
Phil wins the $100K closest to the pin on the par 3 5th but can’t make the 10′ putt. At 1up there’s definitely not a lot of chatter between these two. Phil is winning the match 1up while Tiger has $100k of Phil’s money left from the initial side bet.
Fourth hole: Par 5, 564 yards
The first good-good of the match. Woods wide off the tee, but finds his way to get in position for a 5-footer for birdie. Mickelson finds fairway and is right next to the green in two. He chips to 5 feet. They pause for a moment or two, then agree both putts are good and move on.
The front nine favors a fade for a lefty and a draw for a righty. Phil loves to hit the fade cause it’s easy to control. Tiger hates the “hook” so on both the 3rd and 4th holes when a draw was required Woods hit a fade and is in trouble again.
Third hole: Par 4, 476 yards
They take different routes to the hole, but both end up with par. Woods is wild off the tee and has to scramble, sliding his par putt in the side door. Mickelson plays steady — fairway, green, two putts. Different ways to make par, but same end result.
Second hole: Par 4, 430 yards
First hiccup. After both players miss the green with short irons in their hands, Woods cannot convert from inside 3 feet. The fun of match play: Make the opponent putt ’em.
Two holes for Tiger. So far, we’ve gotten “dammit” three times from Tiger.
TIGER MISSES A 3′ par putt on the 2nd hole!!! He early walked it! Phil goes 1up!
And with that missed putt by Tiger, Phil Mickelson cashes at +260 to win Hole 2. In-match odds at MGM are -115 for both golfers.
First hole: Par 4, 379 yards
Woods and Mickelson both hit iron off the first tee and leave themselves in fine shape. Tiger hits his approach to 10 feet, but his birdie slides past on the right side. Phil has 9.1 feet for birdie, which is worth more than just a 1-up lead. His pre-round side bet was that he would make a birdie at No. 1, a wager worth $200,000.
The putt misses, and the hole is halved. But … Mickelson loses $200,000.
“That hurts the pocket,” Woods says.
Phil unable to convert at the first and Tiger has an extra $200K for his foundation. Tiger quipped “Good speed,” as Phil laments that the putt did not break. All square through one.
Tiger and Phil wandering down the first fairway making small talk, talking about the weather and the course and their kids.
Before the round …
Over 77 percent of money at MGM on Phil Mickelson before the match begins. His odds up to +130. Tiger Woods goes off at -150.
A reminder that The Match will not start slowly. Phil Mickelson will win $200,000 from Tiger Woods if he birdies the 415-yard, par-4 first. Tiger gets the money if Phil fails to do so. Phil first proposed $100,000 and Tiger asked to double it. There will be a few other side bets throughout the match, with the funds coming from each player, and the winner able to donate to the charity of his choice.
Trash talk has started …
Phil: Tiger, you decided to go with red today? Looks good on you.
Tiger: You went with black, huh? Very slimming.
Tiger and Phil getting in some work on the
practice putting green prior to The Match at Shadow Creek.
When Charles Barkley started going on about hitting balls to get warm before every round, Samuel L. Jackson jumped in, “If I wanna get warm before a round, I turn on the heated seats in my car.”