Phil Mickelson defeated arch-rival Tiger Woods on the fourth playoff hole of The Match to land $9million in prize money on Friday, but only after the much-hyped event largely underwhelmed at Shadow Creek Golf Course.
Both players were below their mercurial best on Thanksgiving weekend near Las Vegas, where the duo played a floodlit, makeshift par-three three times in succession after going down the 18th again had failed to separate them.
Attempts had been made to generate interest in the big-money two-man showdown, screened via pay-per-view in the United States, during the preceding PGA Tour season.
Microphones were intended to allow viewers to hear the players’ interaction, but little in the way of verbal entertainment was forthcoming, matching the bland quality of play.
Mickelson found himself donating $200,000 to charity after the failing to birdie the first hole in a side bet agreed just ahead of the contest starting.
Neither man was able to shine over the opening nine holes, which ended with Mickelson one up. Woods fell behind when his par putt on the second lipped out and, although he levelled things up with a birdie at the seventh, Mickelson hit straight back with a par to reach the turn narrowly ahead.
Woods moved in front for the first time on the 12th, but Mickelson again hit back immediately with a birdie at 13. And ‘Lefty’ also led comfortably by that point in charity side bets, $600,000 to $200,000.
A bogey from Woods at 15 saw Mickelson edge back ahead going down the 17th, where his opponent chipped in with a bump and run to make it all square heading to 18.
Woods, who this year returned to regular PGA Tour action and won for the first time since 2013 following a long struggle with injury, conceded a three-footer to Mickelson to halve the 18th.
The pair played the final hole again without being separated, and that impasse prompted greenskeepers to fashion a temporary, 93-yard, par-three ’20th hole’ under flood lights.
93 yards for 9 mill…. that’ll work! @PhilMickelson might just hoop it and do the worm all the way home
— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) November 24, 2018
It was Mickelson who ultimately got the job done, holing out from four feet after Woods’ downhill birdie putt slid past.