Capital One's The Match: Everything You Need to Know About Tiger vs. Phil

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2018

Capital One's The Match: Everything You Need to Know About Tiger vs. Phil

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Ladies and gentlemen, it's pay-per-view fight week...

    Golf style.

    Decades-long rivals Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will get together Nov. 23—the day after Thanksgiving—for a novel one-on-one competition in which the winner over 18 holes at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas will pocket a cool $9 million.

    "Capital One's The Match: Tiger vs. Phil" will go for $19.99 via a handful of providers, including B/R Live, and the competition will include side challenges such as closest to the pin and longest drive.

    No tickets have been sold to attend the match, meaning the gallery will be comprised of invited guests, and both players will donate some of the post-holiday largesse to charity.

    The players have dominated the domestic and world golf scenes over the past two decades, and we've compiled a list of everything you'll need to know as you count down the hours to Friday's afternoon tee-off.

    Scroll through for all the particulars.

Date, Time and Viewing Info

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    Stanley Chou/Getty Images

    The pay-per-view broadcast of Friday's festivities will begin one hour prior to tee-off at 11 a.m. PT (local time)/2 p.m. ET. Woods and Mickelson will take to the course at noon PT/3 p.m. ET.

    The suggested retail price is $19.99.

    Here's a quick rundown of the pertinent viewing details.

    Date: Friday, November 23

    Start Time: Broadcast begins at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET; tee-off at noon PT/3 p.m. ET

    Live Stream: PPV available via B/R Live

    TV Info: PPV available via DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Verizon and Altice (U.S.), Rogers, Shaw and Bell (Canada), Turner International (outside U.S. and Canada)

Match Details

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Participants, purses and pay-per-view scenarios aside, it's a golf match.

    And for as long as it lasts—the minimum a traditional one-on-one match can go is 10 holes—it'll be innovative.

    Both players and their respective caddies will be miked up, and the broadcast will include real-time, hole-by-hole statistics to forecast certain outcomes during the match—using data that combines ShotLink Intelligence with characteristics of the Shadow Creek layout.

    Additionally, a proprietary data stream provided by the MGM Resorts Race & Sports Books will deliver odds, moneylines and other information about the performances of the golfers.

    The players can also make side challenges, such as who'll be closest to the pin, whether one can make a putt from 10 feet away or the chances of getting up and down from a certain location on the course.

    Money from side wagers will be donated to the winning golfer's chosen charity.

    Drone camera coverage will be provided, as will slow-motion cameras, golf animations and both real-time trajectories and flight paths for each shot.

Top Storylines

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    It's pay-per-view golf...yes, golf!

    No longer the exclusive domain of the Floyd Mayweathers, Conor McGregors and John Cenas of the world, the match will provide golf's first significant dip into pay-per-view waters.

    It's perhaps most similar to the old Skins Game that was a staple of network television for several years.

    Some have suggested the head-to-head duel would have been better a decade earlier, but it’s nevertheless certain to draw interest as golf fans awaken from a post-turkey slumber. And Tiger vs. Phil is always going to draw viewers, regardless of the format.


    Tiger is back on the big-time stage

    Given where he's been at calendar's end for the last several years, it's borderline stunning to see Tiger Woods even approaching the form that won him 14 majors and made him the game's top superstar.

    He was in competitive oblivion and ranked in the 600s at this time in 2017, but he heads into this week among the world's top 15 players and looks to be on the cusp of adding major No. 15 to his career resume.

    This week in Las Vegas won't move the major needle, but it's still good for the game to have its most recognizable player as the focal point of an international broadcast.


    Can Phil earn some rivalry pride?

    Phil Mickelson is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, a three-time Masters champion and a five-time major winner.

    Still, when it comes to comparisons with Woods, he's always been second banana.

    An 18-hole exhibition in front of invited guests and a PPV audience won't change history, but it's hard to imagine that besting his domestic nemesis in front of a few hundred thousand post-Thanksgiving eyes wouldn't add a Tiger-like spring to Lefty's pre-Christmas step.

    Nine million bucks is pretty good motivation, but it's surely Phil who's got the extra chip on his shoulder.

The Course

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    Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

    Open since 1990, Shadow Creek was designed by architect Tom Fazio and was originally under the ownership of hotel magnate Steve Wynn. Wynn ultimately handed it over to MGM Resorts International, and a Fazio-led renovation in 2008 stretched the par-72 layout to 7,560 yards.

    The original course record of 60 was shared by Woods and Fred Couples, while 65 is the best score thus far on the redone setup, posted by Dustin Johnson.

    The course has hosted the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, and high-profile members include Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Sylvester Stallone and Matt Damon.

    The course is about a half-hour north of the strip in Las Vegas and includes rolling terrain, thousands of pine trees, foliage and a plethora of creeks and lakes, making it hard to believe it's in a desert.

    The 18th hole is a 564-yard par five with an elevated tee and water in play on both the first and second shots, leading to a long, narrow green surrounded by hills, trees and foliage. The 17th is a par-three, 164-yard challenge, and other noteworthy holes include the fourth, ninth and 15th.

    Even a major champion left impressed.

    "Leaving Las Vegas' desert surroundings and entering the forested wilderness that is Shadow Creek is a shock to the senses," said Tom Kite, a former U.S. Open winner and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. "No matter how much you may have heard of it … the question that continues to run through your head while experiencing Shadow Creek is, how did it get here?"

Tiger's Recent Form

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    It's not quite on the level of 2001-01, but it'd be hard to suggest Tiger isn't coming into Vegas hot.

    He moved his world ranking from No. 668 to No. 13 over the course of 18 events in 2017-18, including seven top-10 finishes and his first win in five years—at the Tour Championship in late September.

    Five of those top-10s came in his last nine outings, highlighted not only by the aforementioned victory but also a tie for sixth at the British Open and a second at the PGA Championship. He led both those majors for a time in the final rounds and finished his schedule looking very much like a major contender for next year.

    In fact, he shares early betting favorite status (+1000, via OddsShark) for the 2019 Masters with Jordan Spieth.

Phil's Recent Form

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    Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    Meanwhile, the forecast for Mickelson is a touch more cloudy.

    Lefty will be positioned 27th in the world as he heads to the Nevada desert, and though he did score a victory in 2018—his first since the British Open in 2013—it was way back in March at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

    He finished in the top 10 just one more time over the remainder of the season and was essentially a non-factor in four majors, faring no better than a tie for 24th at the British Open.

    He was 24 shots in back of a front-running Woods at the Tour Championship in September.

    But he has actually finished ahead of Tiger at three of the previous five events at which they both played—including a tie for 12th to Woods' tie for 24th at the Dell Technologies Championship in late August/early September.


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    John Amis/Associated Press

    OK, truth told, it's darn near impossible to forecast who'll fare better in this matchup.

    Neither man is a stranger to playing and succeeding in high-profile, high-pressure situations, but it's unclear going in exactly how much this event will be based on competition and how much on camaraderie.

    Woods has always had the perceived upper hand in the head-to-head rivalry, thanks to nearly three times more major championships, and the idea of picking him isn't hindered by the fact that he played his best golf of the season over the final half of his 2018 schedule.

    Mickelson has been more active recently, though, which could help in a one-and-done scenario like this.

    All that said, we'll make Woods' past success on the PPV course the tiebreaker and say it'll be Tiger making a $9 million bank deposit thanks to a close-out putt on the 17th green.

    The Pick: Call it 2-and-1, Tiger.