The Match was the event all us golf fans have been waiting years for. Pitting two of the best golfers of the last two decades against each other in a high stakes showdown. Set in Las Vegas at the beautiful Shadow Creek Golf Course. This first of it’s kind pay per view golf match was promising and as exciting and interesting as each players respective career.
How we got here
The phenom of the golf world, Tiger Woods first came on the tour in 1996 after a two year long collegiate career at Stanford. He left with an NCAA Individual title, Pac-10 Player of the year award and as a NCAA First Team All American. His storied career is full of records and a total of 107 wins to his name. His length and accuracy off the tee and with his long irons changed the game and made it the modern physical test it is today. But he has been battling back from knee surgery in 2008, an elbow injury in 2013 and back injuries in 2014 and 2015.
Always in the foreground, Phil Mickelson came out of Arizona State with a well decorated career. Three NCAA individual titles and helped his schools team win an NCAA team title in 1990. His professional career is full of ups and downs but given his 49 wins he is one of the more prominent figures in the game alongside Tiger. He too has battled his fair share of health issues having been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2010.
But with Phil’s early season win at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship and Tiger taking the season ending 2018 Tour Championship title we were glad to see these two battling it out while seeming to be back to their normal form.
How The Match ended up
With a big bet looming on the first hole the pressure was on Phil to make a birdie. But he made a par which made Tiger a cool $200k. The match was all square after hole one. Tiger had a short putt on number two to stay tied, but managed to catch the lip falling to down one through two holes.
While Tiger was uncharacteristically struggling off the tee and on the green Phil was hitting his driver well and putting decent. Woods kept up with Mickelson until he was able to capitalize on number seven and get the match back to all square. Then his putter got the best of him again with a three putt on the eighth. This wrapped the front nine up with Tiger down by one.
Although he made the $200k on the first hole he ended up losing $300k by the time they made the turn to hole ten. It wasn’t looking good for Tiger fans.
Coming into the tenth the trash talking was absent but the match was becoming more and more interesting. Tiger almost had a chance on number ten but Phil made his 8 foot putt for par. Woods did end up making birdie on eleven where Mickelson was unable to convert his 20 foot put to maintain his lead. This gave Tiger the momentum he needed on number twelve to take the lead with another birdie where Phil had his worst drive of the round.
They both settle on a $300k closest to the pin contest on thirteen tee and it ends up costing Woods $300k and the lead he had built as his putt ended up rolling below the hole and Mickelson’s birdie attempt finds the hole. The fourteenth was rather run of the mill with both finding the fairway bunker off the tee and making routine pars.
After two normal drives on fifteen, Tiger missed the green short after watching Phil miss the green pin high to the left of the hole. Both got up and down for par. Sixteen saw massive drives by both players but less than accurate second shots into the long par 5. Tiger throws it in the front bunker and Phil goes off the back of the green and both get up and down for par.
Following Phil’s tight tee shot on the seventeenth Tiger put the ball just off the back of the green on the fringe. But that didn’t hold Tiger back from being his old self and running the chip in for birdie while Phil missed his birdie attempt, adding some drama to the back nine as the match was all tied up going into the eighteenth.
Both players put them self in good position off the tee on eighteen. Woods flew it just over the green and Mickelson was left with a 32 footer for eagle. Both settled for birdies and went on to play extra holes. This is where the match got really interesting. They made their way back to the the tee on eighteen. Where both of them swap places in the rough and fairway. Tiger laid up to a nice wedge shot in and was able to stick his approach to 8 feet. Phil decided to go for it and plugged his ball in the bunker just short of the green. Phil was conceded his par and Tiger looked poised to close out the match but he missed his birdie try.
They were off to a makeshift par 3 measuring 93 yards from a practice green to the eighteenth green. With how both of them were playing it was anyones game. They ended up playing the hole three times.
With no idea how the ball would come off the practice green surface, Tiger was the first to play and basically the tester of the unknown. He unfortunately bounced his shot off or a spectator behind the green, but ended up having decent position to chip up close. Phil managed to get the ball on the green past the hole with a downhill putt for birdie. Neither one of them were able to make birdie so they settled for pars.
Back at it again for a second time, Tiger still missed his wedge a little long and to the left of the green almost in the same spot as his first attempt. Phil was better off, about 7 feet away just short and to the left of the hole. Woods again chipped past the hole and had a short attempt for par but after Phil missed his birdie putt for a second time in a row, they both conceded pars to go one more round.
Last time on the practice green tee, Woods finds his wedge and sticks it to about 8 feet just past the hole to the left. Mickelson manages to get it closer, just over 4 feet below the hole to the right, pin high. Tiger left his birdie attempt short and left the door open for Phil. It was left open enough for Mickelson to slam it shut by making his birdie for the win after 22 holes of play.
Here at Your Long Game we had our bets on Tiger and his world renowned long game play but in the end it came down to a series of missed putts and wedge shots that got the best of him. If you still want to try and hit it long like Tiger you can take a look at the driver similar to the one he uses below.
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