Turner Sports will produce the pay-per-view telecast of the event, which will offer $9 million to the winner and will be played Friday, Nov. 23, at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 22, 2018
I bet you think this is the easiest $9M you will ever make😂
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) August 22, 2018
“It’s an opportunity for us to bring golf to the masses in prime time during a period where we don’t have much going on in the world of golf,” Mickelson said Wednesday after his pro-am round at Ridgewood Country Club ahead of Thursday’s Northern Trust Open.
“It’s a way to show a side you don’t normally see by having us miked up to hear some of the interaction between us.”
Mickelson said the format would be match play, and details are being worked out that would allow for various challenges during the match, such as longest drive, closest to the hole, longest putt and closest out of a bunker.
The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas has Woods at minus-180 to win the event outright, with Mickelson at plus-150.
“We’re going to have fun doing something that’s never been done before have on pay-per-view, trying to showcase golf in a different way,” Woods said Thursday. “I was able to do something similar to this under the lights, the Battle of the Bridges and Sherwood [in the early 2000s], just trying to do something different.
“I think it’s going to be fun for everyone because we’re in a different era than we were in those days. We’re able to showcase golf at a different time and different platforms and I think this will be fun.”
The event will be televised on pay-per-view by Turner’s B/R Live platform, in addition to DirecTV and AT&T U-verse. Pricing has not been set.
Woods was asked if there was concern about pricing out the average fan.
“I think they can afford it ,and I think it will be done differently,” said Woods, who offered no details on possible pricing. “You know, how many times have we all purchased fights, whether it’s MMA or boxing, whatever it may be? We all purchase those fights. This will be different. It’s fun to do something different in our sport and something that’s never been done before.”
The 48-year-old Mickelson and the 42-year-old Woods have long been adversaries who have seen their relationship mellow in recent years. They’ve played practice rounds together this year at the Masters and the WGC-Bridgestone, were grouped together during the first two rounds of the Players Championship, and have worked together behind the scenes as part of the U.S. Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup efforts.
After their Twitter back-and-forth Wednesday, Mickelson caught himself.
“We have plenty of time to do that, and I’ve got to be careful because I’m hoping we are teammates in the Ryder Cup and I don’t want to cause a stir yet,” Mickelson said. “But in the first week of October, it will start to heat up.”
Although a time for the event was not announced, Mickelson said he hoped for a prime-time finish in the East and perhaps even playing the final few holes in Las Vegas under the lights.
Asked if it would truly be winner-take-all, Mickelson said: “I think if you [don’t] do that, it undermines it. The whole point is the winner-take-all thing. That’s the exciting part about it.”
He said a decision had to be made on whether to let in a lot of spectators or keep it very small. And while it was reported that the initial winner-take-all fee would be $10 million, Mickelson said the PGA Tour had a role in having it reduced, ostensibly because it pays that amount to the winner of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Because Mickelson and Woods are PGA Tour members, their television rights are owned by the PGA Tour, hence its role in negotiations.
Woods, who first tweeted about the match Wednesday, was not available for comment, nor was his agent, Mark Steinberg.
“With only two guys, we should have a total different experience with fans, because we will have smaller galleries that won’t necessarily have ropes that can walk inside the fairway and up near the greens,” Mickelson said. “We’ll have mics on both us and our caddies, and you’ll be able to hear all of the banter as well as commentating that will be more interactive.
“The idea is not just to have this great match but to have this interactive experience so fans can see something that they’ve never seen in televised golf before.”