Mickelson bags $9m payday after taking down Woods in Vegas shootout
Phil Mickelson earned some limited bragging rights over his long-standing rival Tiger Woods when beating him at the fourth play-off hole of The Match, a made-for-TV matchplay contest held in Las Vegas on Friday (Nov 23).
Mickelson birdied the 22nd hole at the ultra-exclusive Shadow Creek Golf Club to win a contest which, not surprisingly, failed to live up to the pre-match hype and was eventually decided by a pitch-and-putt competition held in near darkness, after both players missed numerous opportunities to close the match out.
In addition to the $9 million winner-takes-all prize, Mickelson also picked up an extra $600,00 from Woods after winning three nearest-the-pin challenges, although he had to payout $200,000 of his own money after losing a side bet on the outcome of the first hole. The money raised from the challenges and side bets is being donated to charity.
Neither player was able to set the course alight in front of the crowd of 700 invited guests, with both shooting three-under-par rounds of 69, with Woods gifting Mickelson three holes with bogeys.
With both players struggling to find their best form, Mickelson was one up going at the turn, but Woods battled back with birdies at the 11th and 12th to edge in front for the first time. Mickelson birdied the par-three 13th to get back on level terms, before edging in front on the 15th after Woods failed to get up and down from short of the green.
The left-hander took the lead when Woods bogeyed the 15th, and he looked set to have a putt to win the match on the 17th when Woods missed the green with his tee shot. However, the 14-time major champion chipped in for an unlikely birdie from the fringe and Mickelson could not match it from 12 feet, meaning the match was all square heading to the 18th.
The players returned to the 18th for the first play-off hole and Woods missed from seven feet for a winning birdie, meaning the makeshift hole from the putting green to the 18th was required. Mickelson missed from 20 feet for a winning birdie on the first playing of the 93-yard hole and from five feet the second time, but made no mistake from three feet at the third time of asking to finally seal victory.
After securing the biggest ever payday for an afternoon’s golf, Mickelson said: “A day like today is not going to take anything away from Tiger’s greatness, he’s the greatest of all time, but to have some smack talk for the next few years means a lot to me because I don’t have much on him.”