Phil Mickelson on Friday beat Tiger Woods in overtime in their US$9 million pay-per-view match in Las Vegas that ended up free for many viewers because of technical problems.
Mickelson won on the 22nd hole, making a 1.2m birdie putt on a specially set-up par three.
“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,” Mickelson said to Woods after the match.
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, if only people could have seen it. Technical difficulties marred the event, which was billed as golf’s first pay-per-view broadcast.
Some viewers were unable to view it on their televisions after paying US$19.95.
Turner and Bleacher Report representatives sent out links on social media allowing people to view it for free online.
At one point, there were more than 500 people on hold online waiting for assistance.
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 a drone was used for live shots.
There was some banter between Woods and Mickelson early on, but not much as the stakes increased.
“I’m trying to be more talkative, but I’m not on this back nine,” Mickelson said to Woods on the 15th hole.
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 1.2m 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 said to his brother, Tim, who was his caddie.
After he birdied the 17th, Woods said to caddie Joe LaCava: “Just like old times, buddy.”
Mickelson also said it was like old times for him against Woods after that trademark shot.
“You’ve been doing that to me for 20 years, I don’t know why I am surprised now,” he said.
Mickelson also had the advantage in challenge bets. Woods won the first challenge for US$200,000 when Mickelson did not birdie the first hole, but Mickelson won the next three, which were closest-to-the-pin challenges on par-three holes, which totaled US$600,000.
Both said they could not see challenge bets become a part of regular PGA Tour events.
“Maybe at match play you could, but that might not be the best thing,” Mickelson said. “I think it added to the competition. It had that flavor of a Tuesday practice round with more at stake.”
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