I would not be interested in a challenge match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on TV for $10 million if the sponsors put up the purse (“Woods-Mickelson duel needs reality check,” July 9). I would be interested if Woods and Mickelson put up their own money. And there’s some interesting historical precedent.
In 1889, professional Willie Dunn Jr. of Musselburgh, Scotland, offered to take on any comer in a match for £100, a considerable sum at the time. The winner’s prize in the 1889 British Open was £8 and a gold medal. Dunn’s challenge was accepted by Andra Kirkaldy of St. Andrews. The match was scheduled over four courses, Musselburgh, Prestwick, Troon and St. Andrews, with 36 holes played over each course.
Kirkaldy was asked if he was nervous playing for that much of his own money and responded, “What was there to be nervous about? Nervous men should never back themselves. It would be like picking their own pockets. I never gave the crowd a thought, and the money only made me stick to the lead when it came my way.”
Kirkaldy won the match at the fourth course, St. Andrews, in front of a home gallery estimated at 16,000.
So, let’s see whether Woods and Mickelson really want to put something on the line for a true match. It would be something worth watching.
(Fischer, a retired attorney, is a golf historian who is a past president of the Golf Collectors Society and a longtime member of the USGA’s Museum and Library Committee.)
An alternative to Woods-Mickelson match
If you throw in Runnalph Junuh and play at Colleton River Plantation (watch “The Legend of Bagger Vance”) and you made everyone dress like Payne Stewart, you might have something. Otherwise, having Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods play a match for someone else’s money isn’t that appealing.
Tiger isn’t Tiger anymore, and I couldn’t care less that Mickelson did a number at the U.S. Open. It just seems as though someone is trying to exploit two guys who are, for the most part, just your average touring pros.
Come to think of it, I couldn’t think of two guys or gals whom I would sit and watch play golf for four hours. If we’re throwing that out there, why not have a two-person scramble? Two male and two female pros going at it: Jordan Spieth and Lexi Thompson vs. Justin Thomas and Jessica Korda.
Hot-mic all four players for the entire round. The men play from the men’s tees, and the women play from the women’s tees, in a better-ball format. Ask every course that supports and sponsors The First Tee program to have the kids submit a photo with as many people as possible wearing a First Tee shirt and hat and see who wins and where the game would be played. Out of that winner, have a raffle to see which kids get to caddie for the pros.
I would watch that.
Kenneth C. Taylor
Fort Worth, Texas
Doubling down on the big match
I'd like to see a match-play event with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods betting their own money ($10,000 a hole?), with carry-overs and double up if 2 down.
How about a side bet for greenies on par 3s? Maybe some more sides.
France doesn’t deserve Ryder Cup
It is difficult to understand how France was selected for this year’s Ryder Cup match (“Woods, Mickelson don’t merit Ryder nods yet,” July 10).
Far be it from me to understand why the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe thought that they should allow this financial windfall to land in a country which doesn't give a hoot about golf, but my instincts tell me that there is indeed an ulterior motive. As long as the Ryder Cup is contested between the U.S. and Europe, there are other European countries that deserve to host the competition far more than France.
Once again, we observe that it is usually the governing bodies who are responsible for golf’s biggest gaffes. The fans would provide the best input before a decision of this kind is made. Why they are not consulted via a simple online poll is beyond my understanding.
Oh, well, C'est la vie.
Hawkins got it right
I finally can say that I actually agree with John Hawkins (“Woods, Mickelson don’t merit Ryder nods yet,” July 10).
Neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson has played well enough to deserve a Ryder Cup berth. I hope that U.S. captain Jim Furyk doesn't fall into the good-old-boy club and give them spots just based on past performance.
Poetic justice for Mickelson
Regarding Phil Mickelson and his latest errors on the course, Shakespeare said it best: “The evil men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
In other words, screw up once and no one ever forgets.
Francis “Frank” Stellitano
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