Phil Mickelson beats Tiger Woods amid technical issues

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson walk during The Match. Pic: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson walk during The Match. Pic: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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By joe reedy

Mickelson won on the 22nd hole, making a four-foot birdie putt on a specially set up 93-yard par 3. The match at Shadow Creek Golf Club finished under floodlights.

Mickelson said to Woods after the match: “Just know I will never let you live that down. It’s not the Masters or the US Open, but it is nice to have a little something on you.”

Woods said he enjoyed the match, even if he was on the losing end. “You couldn’t have made this event any better than it was,” he said. “It was back and forth and very competitive on a golf course that was playing on the tricky side.”

The match made for some compelling golf at times, but technical difficulties marred the event, which was billed as golf’s first pay-per-view broadcast.

Some American viewers were unable to view it on their televisions after paying $19.95. Broadcasters Turner and Bleacher Report representatives sent out links on social media allowing people to view it for free on their computers and mobile devices.

Only 700 invited guests were allowed to watch the event at Shadow Creek. The match was billed as a chance for viewers to watch an untraditional golf broadcast as both golfers and their caddies were mic’d up. It also featured live odds from MGM resorts and drone camera footage.

There was some banter between Woods and Mickelson early on but not much as the stakes increased.

On the 15th hole Mickelson said to Woods: “I’m trying to be more talkative but I’m not on this back nine.” Woods understood and responded that they were going back to their old mode of “trying to beat each other’s brains in”.

The most revealing moment on the front nine happened after Woods missed a four-foot, short par putt on the second hole to give Mickelson an early advantage. “I was half a second from giving him that putt because he always makes those,” Mickelson told his brother, Tim, his caddie.

Mickelson was 1 up through the front nine before Woods seized the lead with birdies on the par-4 11th and 12th holes. Mickelson then squared it with a birdie on the par-3 13th and retook the lead when Woods bogeyed the par-4 15th.

Woods tied it with birdie from the fringe of the green on the par-3 17th. Both birdied the par-5 18th and then parred the first play-off hole before it went to the par-3 extra hole.

After he birdied the 17th, Woods said to caddie Joe LaCava “just like old times, buddy”. Mickelson added: “You’ve been doing that to me for 20 years, I don’t know why I am surprised now.”

Mickelson also had the advantage in challenge bets. Woods won the first challenge for $200,000 when Mickelson didn’t birdie the first hole. Mickelson won the next three, which were closest-to-the-pin challenges on par-3 holes, which totaled $600,000. Although both said they couldn’t see challenge bets becoming a part of regular PGA Tour events.