Tiger vs. Phil is on.
The long-rumored winner-take-all, big-money match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is set for Thanksgiving weekend at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas.
“The iconic Tiger Woods and five-time Major Champion Phil Mickelson are generational talents who have transcended the game of golf and their rivalry continues to be one of the most compelling in sports,” said David Levy, president of Turner Sports, which is producing the event, said in a press release.
The 42-year-old Woods has won 79 PGA Tour events, including 14 major titles, while Mickelson, 48, has claimed 43 victories on the circuit, including five majors.
Both players grew up in California, Woods in Cypress and Mickelson in San Diego.
“The Match,” as it has been billed, will be hosted by MGM Resorts International, and is scheduled for Nov. 23, with all $9 million going to the winner, although Woods and Mickelson can also make side bets during the 18 holes.
All money in the side bets will go to charity.
The event will be available for viewing only by the limited gallery and a pay-per-view television audience, with those details still to be determined.
“It allows us to be a little bit more real, if you will,” Mickelson said. “We think there will be some pretty good interest, but we’re also trying to present it in a way that you don’t get to see with normal TV.
“With only two guys, we should have a totally different experience with fans, because we will have smaller crowds that won’t necessarily have ropes they can walk inside the fairway and up near the greens. The idea is not just to have this great match, but to have this interactive experience so fans can see something they’ve never seen in televised golf before.”
“ … It’s an opportunity for us to bring golf to the masses in prime time during a period where we don’t have much going on in the world of golf.”
Mickelson opened a Twitter account on Wednesday and sent this message to Woods: “I bet you think this is the easiest $9M you will ever make.”
Answered Woods: “Think you will earn some bragging rights?”
The format will be traditional match play, but there also will be long drive and closest to the pin competitions within the match, during which both players and their caddies will wear microphones.
The event is expected to begin early in the evening, so the last few holes probably will be played under lights.
Opening odds favored Woods at minus-180, to plus-150 for Mickelson.