News & Opinion

Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson Round 2: Is it worth it?

Phil Mickelson Tiger Woods
Phil Mickelson (left) and Tiger Woods will renew their rivalry in a match to benefit coronavirus-relief efforts.

PGA Tour icons, with an assist from 2 NFL legends, will make coronavirus-relief efforts worthwhile, John Hawkins contends, but Mike Purkey counters that the spectacle likely will be another waste of time

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Longtime golf journalists John Hawkins and Mike Purkey, who co-host the weekly Hawk & Purk podcast on MorningRead.com, also discuss and debate the game’s hottest issues in this weekly commentary.

Given how their so-called duel in November 2018 flopped worse than an Argentine soccer player, is there any form of a Tiger-vs.-Phil challenge match worth watching?

Hawk's take: We all live in a yellow submarine, compliments of coronavirus, and with that isolation comes a very good chance that you’ve been spending more time in front of the TV. The amount of crap on the boob tube is both astonishing and exhausting; the deterioration of America’s cultural sensibilities clearly is available in high definition. Using that as my contextual guideline, I’ll watch a foursome of 15 handicaps swatting a little white ball if the competitive element is part of the program.

Woods and Mickelson, plus an insurance salesman (Peyton Manning) and Gisele Bundchen’s husband (Tom Brady)? Sounds like fun. A bit campy under normal circumstances, but normal is nowhere to be found, and if these four high-profile gents can raise a couple of million bucks to help those afflicted by this awful virus, then please, whisk them off to the first tee.

As bad as the 2018 deal was, it wouldn’t have been nearly as unbearable if the televising network (TNT) hadn’t turned it into a Saturday morning cartoon. Our great game never should be compromised in such tacky fashion, especially when the only purpose of such an affair is commercial gain. Watching rich guys get richer is boring, almost loathsome. Seeing four icons gather and use their fame to assist sick folks and contribute to the greater good is television worth watching.

Just do it right, fellas.

Purk’s take: Yes, I know it’s to raise money for coronavirus relief. That doesn’t make The Match Redux between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson any more compelling or any more worth my time. For this match, organizers have added NFL legends Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, which will create a Pebble Beach Pro-Am impersonation. I’d rather watch Tiger and Phil play football. Somebody would get hurt.

When Match 1 was played over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, it was a pay-per-view cooked up by Turner Sports that created legions of skeptics. No way in heaven I was going to pay $19.99 to watch these two. Not even $1.99. The paywall crashed and everyone got a refund, while Turner took a Charles Barkley haircut. The competition was so unexpectedly poor, Turner should have paid viewers to watch.

If raising money for charity is the deal, let the four superstars – who are multimillionaires many times over – whip out something with a lot of zeroes in it from their own accounts. Then, they could chop it as badly as they want and the TV spectacle still will have been worth it.

Will I watch? Probably. There’s nothing else on TV. Will I like it? They’ll have to surprise me.

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