Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson Showdown: Odds Say It’s A Toss Up
Posted on: July 9, 2018, 02:00h.
Last updated on: July 9, 2018, 01:29h.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson continue to float the idea of a heads-up match, with a winner-take-all $10 million prize on the line.
And while the showdown is anything by official, at least one Las Vegas sportsbook is already taking wagers on the hypothetical one-on-one shootout.
Caesars Palace opened its Tiger vs. Phil odds at pick’em. Westgate SuperBook golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said on Twitter that the casino won’t be offering odds until the match is confirmed and a course announced, but he’d likely open the line with Tiger a slight favorite at -120 (implied odds of winning 54.55 percent).
The Woods and Mickelson match was first reported by Lefty himself after he said in May at The Players Championship he’d prefer to “bypass all the ancillary stuff of a tournament and just go head-to-head” in a “high-stakes, winner-take-all match.”
“I don’t know if he wants a piece of me. I just think it would be something that would be really fun … and I think there would be a lot of interest if we just went straight to the final round,” Mickelson declared.
Tiger responded, “I’m definitely not against that. We’ll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable.”
Mickelson said a tentative date was set for July 3 in Las Vegas, but the deal couldn’t come together in time. “We’re working on a different date,” Phil said last week.
The match is expected to be televised live during a primetime special.
While a Tiger and Phil 18-hole showdown would unquestionably draw a large television audience, there are plenty of critics who see the event as simply a money grab for the aging stars. Writing for Golf Digest, John Feinstein says the only way the match would put pressure on the 14-time and five-time major winners is if they put up their own money.
“If Woods and Mickelson each put up $5 million — even though that amount wouldn’t come close to breaking either one — there would be some real pressure. But they’re not going to do that and both will get paid to show up. So where’s the pressure?” Feinstein asks.
Feinstein says while only one might win the $10 million prize, Woods and Mickelson will both be paid handsomely to appear in the event, and could even receive a cut of the television advertising revenue.
Mickelson rebuffed criticism by saying the prize purse is “a ridiculous amount of money” that will “take both of us out of our comfort zone.”
The hyped showdown might actually ease pressure off Woods and Mickelson in the long run. Tiger is still on a comeback from the infidelity scandal that cost him millions of fans and millions in endorsement money, and Mickelson is fresh off an embarrassing meltdown at the US Open.
Mickelson’s image was also recently damaged by his friendship and involvement with sports bettor Billy Walters, a man who was convicted of insider trading in April 2017 and sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10 million.
Back to actual legitimate tournament golf, Woods and Mickelson both remain rather long for this month’s Open Championship at Carnoustie. Tiger is at 20/1, while Phil is at 40/1.
Dustin Johnson is the favorite (12/1). He’s followed by Rory McIlroy (14/1), Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose (16/1), and Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas (18/1).
David Duval, who battled Woods at the 1999 Showdown at Sherwood, is at 2000/1. Sergio Garcia, the winner of the 2000 Battle at Bighorn over Woods, is at 25/1.
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