"The Match" between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson has its first side bet and these two very wealthy golfers aren't messing around with a few hundred buck bets; they started off strong by putting down $200,000 on the first hole!
The $9 million winner-take-all match will take place this Friday, Nov. 23rd, at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. During a news conference to promote the event, Mickelson talked about how he had been thinking about the side challenges that are going to be an added part of the match, saying:
"I feel like the first hole is a great hole for me. And I believe – in fact I'm willing to risk $100,000 that says I birdie the first hole. So that's how good I feel heading into this match."
To which Woods responded, "So you think you can make birdie on the first hole?"
Phil came back with, "I know I'm going to make birdie on the first hole." And Tiger said, "Double it."
The first hole at Shadow Creek is a 415-yard par 4. And while it was Tiger's idea to raise the stakes even higher, Phil made it seem like that is what he wanted all along, saying: "Did you see how I baited him like that? Yes. $200 [thousand] says I birdie the first hole."
While the money will obviously be very nice for the winner, for Mickelson, getting the win and the bragging rights is more important than the money. ESPN quotes Phil saying:
"This is a unique opportunity to do something that I've had a hard time doing, which is to get a leg up on Tiger even if it's just one day. It's great to win the $9 million, but I just don't want to lose to him. The bragging rights are the thing. I want to be able to rub it in; I don't want it to be rubbed in. I want to sit in the champions locker room at Augusta [National, home of the Masters] and talk smack."
What This Means
While Tiger and Phil were legit rivals for years on tour, these last few years we have seen that rivalry cool off a bit. We've even seen them become friends – which is great for them, but maybe not as interesting as a way to promote "The Match." They even tried to end the news conference with a boxing-like stare-down – but both men ended up breaking up laughing.
So, with this big side bet right off the bat and the possibility of many more to happen when the two hit the links on Friday, it could help add some excitement to this match – that most people probably would have been much more interested in 5-10 years ago – and draw in a few more fans to purchase the PPV. Especially at the relatively cheap $20 price point!