Well the most hyped round of golf in the history of the sport happened last Friday and I am going to say it: it was a bit of a letdown. The golf portion of the match wasn’t bad even though both Tiger and Phil shot around even par. But this event was made out to be a look behind the curtain into the world of the PGA with everyone being mic’d up. The trash talking was supposed to be next level stuff and the side bets were going to blow everyone’s minds. In reality, I don’t think there was a more awkward conversation in the history of the world than Tiger and Phil’s exchange walking up the fairway on hole 1.
If you missed it, they talked about their kids awkwardly, then moved on, then circled back to the awkward kid stuff because it was the lesser of the awkwardness. The side bets seemed more forced than anything and the trash talking was non-existent. The most surprising thing the mics picked up was the wounded buffalo taking its last breaths just off camera for most of the round. Oh, that was just Phil Mickelson breathing as he gingerly walked a golf course? Yikes….
But anyways, let’s recap what happened. The first hole had an intriguing side bet where Phil said he would birdie the 1st and tiger bet him 200K he wouldn’t. Well, Phil had a chance for birdie but like we would see the rest of the round – both players could not figure out these greens. Phil made par, losing 200K in the process.
Phil drew first blood on the 2nd hole when Tiger lipped out a short part putt. Fast forward through some pretty boring golf for 14 holes (yes, I just skipped 14 holes in my recap – I said it was a letdown). The takeaways from those holes were Phil has never drove the ball better than he did last Friday and Tiger looked more like the 1199th ranked player in the world than the 13th ranked player. Then we came to hole 17 and like I mention almost every week……..
Everything. Is. Scripted.
Tiger Woods chipped in for birdie to halve the match heading into 18. Tiger generously gave Phil a knee knocker for par on the 18th hole to force extra cups. After halving the 1st extra hole they went under the lights on a short par 3 that they would play over and over until they had a winner. It looked like Phil was going to win with par, but he gave Tiger a long par putt because he “didn’t want to win that way” which for 9 million dollars I wouldn’t be complaining how I won. My opponent could have dropped dead on the 2nd tee and I would have been making a bee line for the cheque presentation spot.
Anyways, the match went on for a couple more holes until Phil finally drained a birdie putt to win the match. Seemed like the perfect time for Phil to bust out the classic 3-inch vert, double fist pump celebration but it was just another way “The Match” disappointed. Although, I have a feeling this might spawn a few more matches in the future. Dj vs Brooks? Moliwood? Jordan vs Justin? Either way, they have options. The only question left unanswered is what did Tiger hand that woman in the front row. A room number, his phone number maybe? And should Tiger’s 6 out of 10 girlfriend be worried he is reverting back to his waffle house days?
World Cup of Golf
The Match wasn’t the only golf going on this past weekend. The ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf was played down unda this weekend. You guys know what that means…..the return of watching golf at night! Now I know most of you are asking: “What is the World Cup of Golf?”, and that is a fair question. Apparently it is an event that takes place every two years or sometimes every three years or sometimes every year. That is besides the point, it is a team event tournament that pits countries against each other in 2 rounds of best ball and 2 rounds of alternate shot golf for world golf supremacy; even though a lot of golf’s top stars skip the event.
Fun Fact: it was created by a Canadian way back in 1953 and was called the Canada Cup until 1967. This year’s tournament was won by the team of Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry from Belgium. Not only do they share a name, they were teammates on the university of Illinois golf team and best friends. Not sure there would be much things better than winning a PGA tour team event with your best buddy. The Tom’s finished 23 under par and 3 shots ahead of second place Australia who were the favorites entering the tournament with the Big Cat Marc Leishman and the Boy Mannequin Cam Smith representing the host country. For winning the World Cup of Golf Tom and Tom took home $1.12 million each and the largest trophy I have ever seen.
With such a small field and being teams of two there is not many noteworthy finishes this week, but I will touch on a few. The Danes seem to like this tournament style. They won the dang thing in 2016 and if it wasn’t for a terrible Friday in absolutely nasty playing conditions, they likely win the thing again this year. Team Europe might want to consider Soren Kjeldsen for a captains pick to pair with Thorbjorn Olesen in two years if they want to retain the Ryder Cup.
One of the hottest golfers in golf and probably a Top 3 player on the DTG Bronel world golf ranking Abraham Ancer put his partner Roberto Diaz and his 742nd world ranking on his back and carried them to a T2 finish. The Canadian team did better than most probably expected. The Canadian cut making machine Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor finished in a tie for 4th. Si Woo Kim and Ben An not only look the same, they play very similar as well. That symmetry helped them finish tied for 6th.
There were a couple teams leaving Australia feeling like they could have done better. England and the USA both were favorites to be in contention this week but known turkeys Tyrell Hatton and Ian Poulter finished 8 strokes back of the winners. And the lovable Doofus Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley finished 14 shots back. Got to think both those countries wished they had better players representing them given the options they have.
Now it is time for the thanks for coming out award. I almost want to give it to whoever was handling the payments for the match because that was a complete schmozzle and if I don’t give it to them. Most people will think I will go with the obvious choice (Team Greece) in the World Cup of Golf. I mean they finished +19 and a whopping 42 strokes off the lead, but they weren’t even supposed to play in the tournament. They were a 3rd or 4th alternate and Peter Kamis – the highest ranked Greek player ranked 242nd in the world and he got to pick his partner. I am pretty sure he either picked a close friend or just picked up a stranger on the way to the airport because Alexander Tranacher is ranked 2012th in the world. They shot 87 and 86 in the alternate shot. But you got to think that was too be expected.
So, I am going off the board and giving the thanks for coming out award this week to team Germany. This is a team that features the most successful golfer in the entire tournament – two-time major winner Martin Kaymer. Sure, he has fallen from grace a little bit, but he could pick any German player he wanted. He chose Maximilian Kieffer and they ended up finishing 26th out of 28th and 25 strokes off the lead. But the main reason they get this award is like I said he could have picked any German golfer and he left Bernhard Langer on the table. I don’t care how old Bernhard is, if he is available you beg him to be on that team. That is the move that seals their fate for this illustrious award this week. Come on Martin!
Into the break we go…..
That wraps up the last week of serious golf and what a way to go out. The Tiger and Phil match had some flaws, but it was good for those two to be the guinea pigs because if it was any other two golfers and it went down like it did, that idea would be dead in the water. The World Cup of Golf is what it is, and the big names will likely never all play at the same time. BUT it brought back night golf for a weekend and that is fine by me. Tiger is back in action next week hosting his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.