GET INTO GOLF: Tiger, Phil face off in ‘match for the ages’
This coming Thanksgiving weekend, we have a convergence of two historical and popular golf spectacles. The format goes back to “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” an individual match between two of the game’s current top players. The timing reminds us of the “Skins Game” a made for TV event featuring a selection of four golf legends.
For 25 years (the final in 2008) turkey sandwiches on Thanksgiving weekends were accompanied by a very fun group of all-time greats. Household names such as Nicklaus, Palmer, Trevino, Watson, Couples and more played a hole-by-hole format with the low score on each winning a ‘skin.’
Sponsors provided an escalating purse with the first holes worth $25,000 each and the final hole worth $200,000. Players would give a portion of this to a charity of their choice. Fred Couples become known as ‘Mr. Skin’ winning over $3.5 million in 11 appearances.
Beginning in the early 1960’s, Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf traveled around the globe to pair golf’s top players. It was a stroke play round between contemporary elites. For more than 50 years, it was a head-to-head challenge including Billy Casper, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and LPGA stars Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam.
Now, 10 years after the final Skins Game and fifteen years following the last wonderful Shell event, we have a match for the ages. It’s Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – on Thanksgiving weekend.
“Black Friday” at noon, arguably the best player ever and arguably the most popular player ever will tee it up.
Here is the big difference. You have to pay to see it. Or at least you will be watching it in a home or business who has paid for it.
As you might imagine there has been a lot of debate about this. First, it is the only pay-per-view golf in my memory. Of course, this can be a hurdle for those who believe the game should move away from its upper-class history.
Second, most of the feedback I have received would prefer the players put up their own money. Yet, those Skins Games and Shell’s presentations did not require an entry fee.
It is not to this scale, but Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather weren’t getting their checkbooks out to enter the ring.
That having been said, we’re told that during the match, Tiger and Phil will have many opportunities to put up or shut up. Long drive contests, closest-to-the-hole challenges and more will take place throughout the round. In the end, for $19.95 (the residential rate) would you miss the most anticipated golf match of our time? Neither will I. That and a carved turkey sandwich sounds like a great combination.
John Renslow is a PGA Professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides Golf Instruction at local courses.
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