Tiger vs. Phil: the Match is Set


The official poster for the match, tweeted by both Mickelson and Woods confirming the match. The image also accidentally includes Woods using a left-handed driver, even though he is a right-hander. Mickelson’s caption to the photo was, “[Tiger,] I see you have a left-handed driver, well played. I hope it’s a Callaway”.

Jacob Myers

14-time major winner Tiger Woods is set to match up against World Golf Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson on Nov. 23 for $9 million at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, NV.

Tiger Woods is one of the most accomplished golfers of all time and is considered by many to be the best golfer of all time. Woods has set multitudes of records on the PGA Tour, unmatched by any other player in history. Over his entire career, Woods has the lowest average 18-hole score in PGA Tour history, as well as the most prize money of all time, inflation adjusted. Woods’ accomplishments vary in loads of categories. Arguably though, Tiger’s largest accomplishment came from 2000-’01, when he accomplished the now dubbed “Tiger Slam,” winning all four straight majors in a row. Other accomplishments include the largest margin of victory at a major championship (15 strokes, 2000 US Open,) highest annually paid athlete of all time, most consecutive cuts made (141,) longest drive in PGA tour history, most weeks in a row spent as world number one (638), best season scoring average (he holds the top nine spots), most consecutive rounds at par or better (52) and most victories at a single course (8, Bay Hill.) Yet, recently Woods has struggled. He had four back surgeries from 2014-’17 and in his own words, never thought he would play again. Woods has come very close to his past glory, coming in second twice at (more notably) the PGA Championship and the Valspar Championship. Currently, Woods is ranked number 25 in the FedEx Cup and has accumulated five top-ten finishes this season. Woods is starting to come close to his past form and certainly has momentum going into his match against Phil Mickelson.

Phil “Lefty” Mickelson is one of the most memorable names of the 2000s era, known for his scramble-save tendencies as well as his charismatic attitude. A viewer will never see a frown on Phil’s face and never will they see any two same shots from Lefty. Apart from Woods, Mickelson has won on tour this year at a considerably large event against top-tier competition. Mickelson won the 2018 World Golf Classic Mexico in a playoff against reigning champion Justin Thomas, recording a par on the first hole to win. It was his first win since the 2013 British Open. On another note, Thomas was number one in the World Golf Rankings, as well as number two in the FedEx Cup at the time. Mickelson has one of the most impressive careers of all time, including three wins at the Masters, and one at the (British) Open and the PGA Championship. Yet, the only major downside to Phil’s career is his inability to win a US Open. Phil has come in second place six times at the US Open, which is the most runner-up finishes in a major to never win. That would surely be a record Phil would like to discard. Aside from the negative, Phil has many accomplishments of his own. He is the only player to win a same major three or more times as a lefty, one of sixteen players to win three of four majors and also stands in ninth all-time in total wins (43).

Established in 1989, Shadow Creek Golf Course serves as one of the premier courses in Nevada. Its first purpose was to serve as a private course where only casino guests of Steve Wynn or Mirage Resorts could play. Tee times were one hour apart. Originally designed by Tom Fazio, the course went through a 17 million dollar renovation in 2008 to toughen the course, as well as make it a great spot for events like Tiger vs. Phil. Under the new renovations, the record score is 66 (-6, to par) set by World number one Dustin Johnson, as well as Lu Chien-Soon. Before the renovations, the record for 18 holes sat at 60 (-12) set by Fred Couples and Tiger Woods. The course rarely gets more than two dozens groups per day, mostly consisting of PGA professionals. Not only PGA pros and MGM employees have played though. Some more notable players include George W. Bush, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and John Elway.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will meet at Shadow Creek on Nov. 23. Turner Sports will cover the event as pay-per-view. The format will be match play, according to Mickelson, but there will be challenges for the players throughout, such as longest drive, closest to the pin, long putt (made) and closest out of the bunker. No further details about the challenges or what holes they may occur on have been released. 48-year-old Mickelson and 42-year-old Woods have both released the date and location of the event but not much more. The event will be a first in the 2010s for the sport, as Woods participated in a similar event in 2006. The estimated size of spectators at the actual event has not been confirmed.

The spectacle will be one-of-a-kind, with fans from all around the world glued to their televisions, watching history. Surely, there will not be a golf match with this much publicity and stakes for a long time. Mickelson tweeted at Woods, “I bet you think this will be the easiest 9 million you ever made!” He also responded to a fan’s banter of asking if Mickelson’s shot would be better than Tiger’s with “Oh yeah it is.” The rivalry and trash talk is just beginning, and fans are hoping to see much of the same until the climax, crowning a king of kings.