In the age of cord-cutting and selective viewing of content, I was a bit shocked that anyone would think it was a good idea to put together a $10 million winner-take-all match between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
The first response: Who cares?
The next: How many other matches would I rather watch, starting with the Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote, before a Woods-Mickelson clash?
Let’s be honest: Nothing could get me fired up about watching two multimillionaires yukking it up for a TV audience.
I will be the first to concede that Woods is a needle mover, but that is in an environment when it actually matters.
Mickelson also is a fan favorite, but he is a novice compared with Woods.
So, I thought for a minute and then remembered that some of golf’s best matches – many of them in the “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” TV series – already exist. You can view them on YouTube.
Starting in 1961, Billy Casper played Mário Gonzalez at Gavea Country Club in Rio de Janeiro. It was the beginning of a series that, with one large break from 1970 to 1994, would run until 2003.
Many of the matches were epic:
In 1962, Gary Player faced Peter Thomson at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. That same year, Gene Sarazen met Henry Cotton on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
In 1963, Jack Nicklaus played against Sam Snead at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Also that year, Dow Finsterwald played Peter Alliss at the Tryall Hotel Golf Club in Jamaica.
All told, dozens of Shell matches pitted the game’s top players at some of the world’s best golf courses.
Consider some of these classic matchups: Sam Snead vs. Jimmy Demaret, Billy Casper vs. Doug Sanders, Julius Boros vs. Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman vs. Nick Faldo and perhaps one of the greatest in Arnold Palmer vs. Jack Nicklaus at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1994.
Unfortunately, it seems like the wheels for Mickelson vs. Woods are turning. The match likely will occur, and the participants will not play for their own money.
What is really on the line? In his prime, Woods beat Mickelson consistently. Would this be some sort of payback or revenge?
Both have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in their careers, and they would have no skin in the game, so who really cares?
P.T. Barnum knew that a sucker was born every minute, and that surely would be the case for somebody to stake this match.
Would there be any suckers to watch it?
I still would rather see Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote.
Alex Miceli is the founder and publisher of Morning Read. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @AlexMiceli