The Match is finally upon us. After months of deliberation, predictions, hype videos and more, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods will duke it out today at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas for $9 million.
GOLF.com has boots on the ground covering the event, and we’ll keep you updated throughout as the two legends of the game make their way through the course. Does Tiger maintain his career dominance over Phil? Or is there some underdog magic in Lefty? If you can’t pony up the $20 for the pay-per-view package, or you’re just too busy shopping on Black Friday, simply stay tuned to this page for all the requisite updates on The Match.
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10:30 a.m.: IT’S MATCH DAY, FOLKS! Follow along with this post for all updates on the action. And believe me, there will be action.
2:00 p.m.: The pregame show is officially underway. We’re only one hour away from Tiger and Phil teeing off.
2:10 p.m.: It appears as if Tiger will be wearing his iconic Sunday red. He’s ready for battle and to win $9 million.
Tiger arrives for #CapitalOnesTheMatch in his Sunday red.
Man means business ? pic.twitter.com/N6VZxqZ53L
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 23, 2018
2:25 p.m.: Tiger and Phil are on the putting green warming up, with a little banter thrown in. Oh, and Phil is in his signature black.
Tiger and Phil getting in some work on the
practice putting green prior to The Match at Shadow Creek. pic.twitter.com/O7brRbNNfW
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) November 23, 2018
2:53 p.m.: Phil wins the coin toss and chooses to tee off first. Phil then keeps the poker chip they flipped for good luck.
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) November 23, 2018
3:00 p.m.: It’s time! The Match is officially here! We’re just moments away from Tiger and Phil teeing off at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.
3:15 p.m.: Tiger and Phil have officially teed off from the first hole, which is a par 4 that totals 379 yards. Phil hit the fairway with his drive, while Tiger missed the fairway.
3:19 p.m.: Tiger and Phil both put their second shots just several feet away from the cup. Both are in good position to birdie the opening hole, which means $200,000 in Phil’s pocket.
3:22 p.m.: Both Tiger and Lefty barely miss their birdie putts and each finish with par. But most importantly, Phil loses the $200,000 challenge for birdie on the first hole and Tiger is in the side bets lead.
*Phil misses $200K birdie put*
Tiger: "That hurts the pocket" ?
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) November 23, 2018
3:35 p.m.: Tiger and Phil are now at the second hole, which is par 4 with a distance of 430 yards. Both golfers miss their chip shots for birdie.
3:38 p.m.: Phil sinks his putt to make par. Meanwhile, Tiger misses his putt after it lips out of the cup to finish with a bogey. Phil is now 1 up after two holes.
— Dylan Dethier (@dylan_dethier) November 23, 2018
3:45 p.m.: The third hole, which is a par 4, is our furthest of the round so far at 476 yards.
3:51 p.m.: Both Tiger and Phil par the third hole with a pair of putts to close out. Phil remains 1 up as we head to the first par 5 of the day on the 4th hole.
3:55 p.m.: The first par 5 of the day is at the 4th hole, which totals at 564 yards. Once again, Phil’s tee shot finds the green while Tiger’s does not. An early storyline developing here at Shadow Creek.
4:01 p.m.: Tiger hits a beautiful approach shot that lands just a few feet away from the pin. He now puts himself in great position for a birdie here at 4. Meanwhile, Phil finds himself with a chip shot from the edge of the bunker.
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) November 23, 2018
4:05 p.m.: With a pair of birdie putts inside three feet, both men tell the other to pick their balls up to finish with birdie for the hole. Phil remains 1 up through 4 holes.
4:08 p.m.: We have our second side bet of the day. $100,000 to the golfer who hits their ball on the 5th hole par 3 closest to the pin.
4:13 p.m.: And Phil gets $100,000 back from Tiger! He wins the closest to the pin challenge on the par 3 5th hole.
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) November 23, 2018
Quickest way to make $100K for Phil ?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 23, 2018
4:17 p.m.: Both Tiger and Phil finish with par on the 5th hole as Lefty maintains his 1 up lead.
4:21 p.m.: We’re now off to the 6th hole, which is a par 4 totaled at 516 yards.
4:26 p.m.: Both Tiger and Phil hit a pair of solid approach shots to put themselves each in good position for birdies on the 6th green.
4:30 p.m.: Tiger and Phil once again miss a pair of birdie putts to finish the hole at par. Phil remains 1 up as we head to the 7th hole.
4:35 p.m.: We now go to the 7th tee. This is the second par 5 of the day and is totaled at 571 yards.
4:44 p.m.: Tiger challenges Phil $200,000 to play the hole in from their second shots, but Lefty turns down the bet.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 23, 2018
4:47 p.m.: And after 7 holes, we are all square. Tiger birdies the 7th hole while Phil pars it to lose his early lead here at Shadow Creek.
4:52 p.m.: After giving up his lead at the 7th hole, Phil gets some momentum back at the 8th hole by winning the $200,000 challenge of getting his ball closer to the pin than Tiger’s. The 8th hole is a par 3 totaled at 190 yards.
4:59 p.m.: And Phil gets his lead back after birding the 8th hole while Tiger finishes with par. He’s back to 1 up as we head to the 9th hole.
5:04 p.m.: We have another side bet, and it’s for a million bucks! Phil challenges Tiger to $1 million if either player makes an eagle on the 9th hole. The 9th hole is a par 4 totaled at 391 yards.
5:10 p.m.: Neither made a hole-in-one on the 9th hole, so neither is taking home $1 million in a side bet.
5:13 p.m.: Both golfers par the 9th hole, and Phil remains 1 up as we make the turn towards the back 9.
5:19: Ok, we’re off to the 10th. A 438 yard par four. Phil finds fairway, and now Tiger, with a fairway wood, hits the fairway as well. Not flushed but straight.
5:22: There have been just three birdies total so far today–all on par-fives. The most entertaining banter has come from Charles Barkley.
5:24: Phil has cut the corner and has just a flip wedge in, whereas Tiger laid back–he’ll have 175. Tiger’s pulling 7 iron.
5:25: And Tiger, trying to hit a fade, double crosses himself and misses left. He’ll be chipping from a mound left of the green. Phil, meanwhile, in the go zone from 109, hits a mediocre shot to maybe 30 feet or so. We’ll get the ShotLink data for you.
5:29: Tiger, with his third, flops a wedge out of the rough and lets it roll out to about 5 feet. A good shot from a tricky position. Phil now with a long birdie bid.
5:31: Tiger guides his putt in for par, leaving Phil with about 3 feet to halve. Tiger conceding nothing. And Phil makes it. We’re off to 11. Phil remains 1-up
5:32: The 11th is a drivable par-four, 281 yards. Both can reach easily. A big bunker guards the right, front. Just beyond the green will be the likely play. Phil has pulled three wood
5:34: And Phil is just beyond the green, in the light rough. He’ll have a downhill chip from there. Tiger also playing fairway wood. Trying to hit a high cut. Tiger is just beyond the green right, with more green to work with on his chip.
5:38 So we’ve got a side bet on this hole: $200k for an eagle, so if either holes out, there will be blood. Tiger has the easier of the two, and he’s going first.
5:40 Tiger hits a deft pitch to about 2 feet, but Phil does not concede. Mickelson, faced with a tougher downhill, runs his a good 12 feet past. He needs this to halve
5:42 Nope. Mickelson misses right. A par is no good here. Tiger’s already in with birdie, so the match is back to all square.
5:43 This has been very much a high-price pillow fight. Neither player is especially sharp, and Tiger is fortune to be all square. We’re at the 12th tee now, a 394 yard par four.
5:45 Tiger rifles his tee shot up the left, and Phil tugs his right. Advantage Tiger, as he’ll have just 74 yards in. Phil will be playing from the just off the right edge of the fairway from 134. The lie is not an issue. Neither are the pines just ahead of him. He can fly them easily.
5:46: And Phil’s approach is middling at best, to the left of the green. Tiger, meanwhile, has a bunny. Just 74 yards. And he capitalizes, running a little half wedge to two feet. That’ll be a birdie.
5:51 Phil will need to drain a bomb to halve this and remain all square. He’s got 35 feet.
5:53: And Phil misses low. Tiger wins the hole and takes his first lead of the day. Going to 13th, a par three playing 213 yards. Tiger has six iron. “No closest, eh?” Tiger says. “We’ll you won the last two holes,” Phil says. And Tiger bites. 300 k on the line here for closest.
5:56: Tiger hits a good shot to 15 feet, but Phil answers, stuffing one to 9 feet. He wins another challenge. He’s now won $600k in side wagers.
6:00 Tiger’s birdie putt just burns the edge. Tap-in par, but Phil can win now with a nine-footer. Slightly down hill, a little slight to the left. And Phil makes it to get to all square.
6:03 The 14th is a long par four, 488, with a little dogleg right, with a pond to the right of the green. The pin is cut back right
6:05: And there’s a 100k side bet on this to hit the fairway. And both miss right.
6:06 Correction. It was long drive. But neither hit the fairway.
6:13 And finally, on the 14th, we get two solid approach shots. Tiger plays a nine-iron that settles about 9 feet from the cup, and Phil answers with a sharp play of his own. Mickelson will put first, from about 15 feet, for birdie.
6:15: Phil’s birdie bid catches the edge but does not drop. His par putt is conceded but Tiger can now win with a straight putt, about 9 feet, slightly downhill. He should make this.
6:16: But no. A fast putt and Tiger barely gets it rolling. . . and it just hangs out right. “Wow. Wow. Wow,” Tiger says, dropping to his knees in disappointment. And Phil says: “I think I willed that one out.” He did dodge a bullet.
6:18: Four holes left, and they are great match play holes. The 15th is a par four, 467, with a creek running left of the fairway and then crossing in front of the green. Mickelson plays 2 iron. Finds fairway. Tiger has three wood.
6:24 Both players find fairway, but Phil, from 175, makes an unforced error, missing the green left. And Tiger, from just 151, also hits a poor shot, leaving it short in the light rough. Tiger has the more straightforward chip, as Phil will be coming off a tilted lie, from the rough.
6:27 Phil’s lie is not bad but he’s coming downhill. It will be very fast. Tiger is coming slightly uphill. An easy shot for him.
6:30: Straightforward as it was, Tiger does not play it well. His ball runs out about 8 or more feet past. Now Phil . . .and he hits a very ticklish shot beautifully, letting it spill to just a foot. That’s a gimme. Tiger will now have an 8 footer to halve.
6:31: Nope. He misses. That was a surprise. Tiger had the far easier up and down, but he ran his chip too far and then missed his par putt.
6:32: And Charles Barkley, who has put in by far the best performance of the day, tells it like it is: “These guys are making bogey; that would be like me missing layups in an NBA game.”
6:33: We’re on to the 16th, a 626 yard par five. Both players hit good drives. They can get there from where they are. Three woods, likely.
6:34: If you’ve never seen Shadow Creek before, you’re in for a visual treat coming in. The next hole is a short par-three with water, water everywhere. And the 18th is a par-five that will play like a mid-range par-four for these guys.
6:37 Tiger is away, but Phil has already pulled fairway wood. Maybe trying to bait Tiger into playing a fairway wood as well? Woods has a hanging lie from 313. He will have to hit a good one, to say the least.
6:39 And Woods, playing a fade off the hanging lie, leaves his three wood in the front left bunker. He’ll have a long up and down from the sand from there. Phil blasts a three wood of his own, and it settles just left of the green. It’s a solid shot but the leave is not great. He’ll have a very tricky chip from there, slightly downhill and short sided. It would not be surprising if neither got up and down and par halves the hole.
6:42 A good long bunker shot from Tiger, but he still runs out about 10 feet. Mickelson will need a little flop shot magic here.
6:44: And that was not his best. He leaves it short and the ball spills hard left on the green. He’ll have a monster putt for birdie from there.
6:45: Phil makes a good run at it but his bid dies just short. Tiger will now have about 11 feet to win.
6:46: “Jesus!” Tiger says, pulling his putt left. And so the par-five 16th is halved in five.
6:49: So the par three 17th is playing 15o, over water, with the pin cut left on a little tongue of putting surface. It’s a narrow landing area. Phil will play first. He’s up 1 and can end it here.
6:50 Phil hits a peach to about 10 feet, and Tiger answers by tracking the flagstick, but it’s a shade long. He’ll be on the back collar putting back toward the flag. Phil be putting slightly uphill for his birdie, and Tiger will be putting first.
6:52: Well, I said Phil’s putt was 10 feet, but ShotLink corrects me. In fact, he’s 11 feet. A little surprising that no closest to the pin challenge was issued here. Phil has won $600K in those side bets. Tiger has been blanked.
6:54 And here is the Tiger moment we’d been waiting for. Tiger, on the collar, opts to chip it. And he chips it in! Phil now needs to drain his to halve the hole, otherwise we’re going to 18 all square.
6:56: Phil’s putt drifts just left and misses. So it’s on to 18. Surely this is what the organizers had hoped for. The Match going to the last hole. A short par 5 with plenty of water and plenty of opportunity for a birdie or even eagle. It plays just 500 yards. If they play aggressive tee shots up the left they could have as little as 8 iron coming in, methinks.
7:00 Tiger smokes his drive, a hard cut that winds up 100 percent perfect. He’ll have an easy go at this in two. Now Phil, who has driven it well today so far.
7:01 Phil plays a cut, which leaves him on the left, on a mound, with a slight side hill lie, in the light rough. He’ll have the much tougher shot in, but he’s going to have to play aggressively.
7:02 Phil has 203 in, and Tiger has 200. But Tiger is in the short grass. One thing about these mics—you can hear Phil breathing hard as he walks, and Tiger snuffling quite a bit throughout. It makes you think that Phil could use a good cardio program, and that Tiger could use an antihistamine.
7:05 Phil is talking about cutting a 6 iron. He is playing over water, to a center pin. Short is dead.
7:06 And Phil plays a sweet shot, pin high right, about 30 feet from the cup. Tiger, playing 6 iron from 200, flies it long. His putt from the back of the green will be very fast.
7:08 Tiger might have to chip from where he is. The mic picks up Phil talking to his brother/caddie Tim, saying what a tough shot Tiger has. Mickelson sounds confident that Tiger can’t get this one especially close. We’ll see.
7:10 Tiger is opting to putt, from the back collar. He has 41 feet, with some bend right to left.
7:12: And he putts it with nice pace, his ball running out just 5 feet past. Phil will go now, from 32 feet to win.
7:12. Phil misses just low. He’ll have about 4 feet. Neither putt conceded. Tiger makes his, and THEN concedes the putt to Phil. A generous give with $9 million on the line. Not that it would make or break Tiger.
7:14 So they’ll be going back to 18. Extra holes.
7:16 Here we go again. On the tee at 18, the first playoff hole. Tiger has driver. He’d be happy to repeat his last drive here. And Tiger plays it up the left side again, but his ball does not cut. He’s headed toward a little cluster of trees left of the fairway. Phil, meanwhile, plays a big cut that winds up in a similar spot as his last drive, with a slightly better lie.
7:19: “Hope I’m not in the same divot,” Phil says. “Me and Hogan have that problem, playing the same hole back to back.” Whether you find Phil’s banter hokey or not, he definitely has had more to say than Tiger. I think it’s fair to say that for all the intimacy of this event, we have not learned anything new about either player. It was probably unrealistic to expect anything else.
7:22 Tiger will play first. He has 236. His ball in the rough, his stance in the mulch. He has a tough decision, but it looks like he has opted to lay up. So on this final hole, Tiger takes a page from David Toms and lays up. Phil will have a go at this green.
7:24 Playing 5 iron, he does not hit a good shot. He tracks it anxiously; he think it’s in the water, but in fact it’s in the bunker, with a fried egg-ish lie. Not great, but it beats the drink.
7:26 Tiger, with 103 left, plays wedge just behind the cup and spins it back to 8 feet. Phil is just getting up to see his lie, and he’s not going to love it. It’s plugged, on the upslope in the sand, playing over the creek
7:28 And Phil plays a good shot, with good distance control, but he can’t spin it. The ball runs out to a similar spot on the green that he had last time on 18. This time, though, he’s putting birdie instead of eagle. Tiger has just 8 feet remaining for his birdie.
7:30 Phil’s birdie bid dies low and short, and Tiger concedes him the next. Par for Phil. Tiger can win it all here.
7:31: And in a moment that pretty well encapsulates the play today, Tiger misses his putt. He leaves it low, not scaring the cup. And we go to the second playoff hole. They’ll go to a little makeshift 19th hole, a 93-yarder carved out of the practice area. Daylight t is becoming an issue now
7:36 So, they are cutting the cup for the playoff hole now. They’ll play off the putting green, across to a new cup cut on the 18th.
7:38. And Tiger, from a mere 93, flies the green. He’s long, on a back slope. A poor shot. Phil is next.
7:42: Tiger chips down the slope, and Phil concedes him his par, somewhat generously. Phil now has 17 feet for the win.
7:44: And Phil leaves his just short. So we’ll go back and play from 93 yards again. The vaunted $9 million match has now taken on the feel of a prolonged weekend match between mid-to-high handicappers. And even as I type that, Tiger misses the green again. That’s twice in a row from 93 yards.
7:47: Phil, on his second go around from 93 yards, fares much better, spinning it just past the cup and back to about 5 feet. Tiger will have to chip his
7:48. He hits a beauty but it just misses the cup and runs past to about 4 or 5 feet. Phil is away. He can end it here.
7:50 Nope. Mickelson misses, jamming his putt by on the left. And now, as Tiger lines up his putt, Phil tells him to pick it up. “I don’t want to win like this.” So back to the tee we go. And the two greatest players of their generation have now had two cracks at a 93 yard hole, and we have not seen a birdie. We might have seen a bogey if Phil had not conceded Tiger his putt.
7:53 And third time is a charm for Tiger, who hits it about 6 feet past the cup. Phil answers with an even better one. So they’ll have two good looks at birdie.
7:55 We are now playing under flood lights. Tiger will putt first, downhill.
7:58 Somehow, Tiger leaves his short. And Phil now has four feet for 9 million bucks. It’s over. Phil wins the Match, and also takes Tiger for 600k in side bets for charity.
8:00 That’s it for our blog coverage of the match, folks. Hope you enjoyed the event. And that you’ve got some leftovers in the fridge.