Nine years ago, early in the morning after Thanksgiving, Tiger Woods’ world began to unravel, as he crashed his car into a fire hydrant, and soon thereafter, the world’s top-ranked golfer was exposed as a cheater.
This Thanksgiving weekend will mark another step in Tiger’s remarkable comeback from scandal and four back surgeries, as he and Phil Mickelson compete in a winner-take-all matchup.
Mickelson confirmed an ESPN report that the showdown is definitely happening.
Sources had previously told “Get Up” host Mike Greenberg that the match will take place at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, either on Nov. 23 — Black Friday — or Nov. 24.
Once hated rivals, Phil and Tiger have apparently become BFFs, and played a practice round at Firestone on Wednesday.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson played a practice round Wednesday at Firestone, presumably for lower stakes than the $10-million TV match being planned. Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said "we are closer than we have been" to working out the details and that he expected it to…
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) August 1, 2018
While the stakes may be lower than the previously reported $10 million, Mickelson has made it clear that the amount will matter.
“It’s a ridiculous amount of money,” he said. “No matter how much money you have, this amount will take both of us out of our comfort zone.”
Woods, who can be evasive, said after Thursday’s opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational that the showdown still is not a done deal.
“I have nothing further to add to it,” he said. We haven’t signed anything, nothing’s confirmed.”
When/if the match does happen, it will revisit some of Tiger’s previous exhibitions, including “The Showdown at Sherwood” versus David Duval, “The Battle of Bighorn” against Annika Sorenstam and another “Battle of Bighorn” against Sergio Garcia.
The hope is that with two charismatic (at times) golfers like Woods and Mickelson, the event will be more entertaining than the previous three, which were decidedly underwhelming.
Even though Woods is six years younger, at 42, his physical ailments have been well-documented.
Tiger’s sixth-place showing at the British Open provides hope that he’s close to returning to the winner’s circle, while Mickelson’s lone victory this season was back in March at the World Golf Championships in Mexico.
Accordingly, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a minus-130 favorite in the match, meaning to win $100 bettors must wager $130.
First things first, however. Woods is making an incredible charge to automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team. Bridgestone and next week’s PGA Championship are the tour’s two highest paydays for him to pick up points.
Tiger is currently 20th in points; the top eight make the squad, along with four captain’s picks.
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