Leaving aside the transparent offensiveness of Mickelson creating a Twitter account shortly before the announcement (only to be used for some contrived and embarrassing ‘smack talk’ between he and Woods) the value or otherwise of the ‘match’ continues to be hotly debated.
But as far as I can tell only my colleague Mark Hayes, Media Manager at Golf Australia, has put up a legitimate reason to be truly angry about November’s shenanigans.
For the record, I’m in the ‘don’t care’ camp about what happens when two millionaires play each other for another US$9 million that neither needs. Especially when they do it on pay per view TV.
But I’m very much in the ‘do care’ camp when it comes to such a shallow and demeaning spectacle impacting a legitimate golf event in Australia, and as Hayes pointed out that is exactly what the ‘match’ will do.
Phil and Tiger will apparently go head to head over ‘Thanksgiving weekend’ in Las Vegas. No specific dates have been given though Mickelson seemed to suggest Friday, November 23 would be the date when he said: "For many years, he's gotten the better of me but that Friday night it's going to be the easiest 10 mil I've ever made.”
To Phil it might be ‘Friday night’ but for those of us who care about actual competitive golf it is more accurately described as ‘Day Three of the World Cup of Golf’.
That’s right, Tiger and Phil have decided their cash grab should go directly against one of the few opportunities Australia (a significant contributor to world golf) has to shine on the global stage.
And Mickelson added insult to injury when he showed his complete ignorance by saying in a press conference at this week’s US Tour event: "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.''
By Phil’s logic, 56 golfers from around the globe representing their country at Metropolitan Golf Club is ‘not much going on in the world of golf.’
And that’s certainly how it will feel at Metropolitan as the ‘match’ between two of the game’s most iconic figures will suck all the available golf oxygen that week.
The tragedy of the whole sorry situation is that Mickelson and Woods, more than anybody, could really have made this spectacle a positive for the game.
Both have been mostly excellent ambassadors for a generation and their popularity could have been used to promote golf in a lot of positive ways without either losing out.
If the ‘match’ had been played on a public course, with kids admitted free, then even charging a premium to spectators could have been justified. And they could have still played for $9 million.
As it is, they will instead fly their private jets to Las Vegas and tee up on a notoriously exclusive course (Shadow Creek) with only those able to afford to pay to watch on TV getting to see the actual golf.
About the only positive to be found is that the pair will apparently be able to make side bets as they play with the proceeds of those wagers being donated to charity.
Both Tiger and Phil have done plenty of good, both on and off course, over their careers and undoubtedly will continue to do so.
But this event is a whiff for both. And hopefully it will be the last.
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