Showdown at Shadow Creek
The 23rd of November 2018, a date we have been waiting for, and it’s not because of Thanksgiving, at least not for golf enthusiasts. The 23rd of November is the date of “The Match”, where we will see 2 of the best golfers in the world; Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson going head-to-head at Shadow Creek, Las Vegas in hopes to win the prize of a whopping $9 million alongside much more important, bragging rights.
“The Match” will take place on Shadow Creek Golf Course, an 18-hole, 6910m/7560 yards long golf course located in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The course was designed by a well-known golf course architect who has designed over 120 golf courses, out of which he has more courses ranked top 100 in the US than any other architect. The Shadow Creek course is really a work of art, from its design to its features, which include lakes, waterfalls, over 200 varieties of trees, rolling hillsides, flowing rock bed streams and numerous exotic birds that make the place so much more spectacular. I could go on and on about the course itself, however, let’s rather focus on the real stars of the show; Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
At this course, we will see Tiger Woods the name we all know playing head-to-head with five-time Major Champion Phil Mickelson in a match that will not only be interesting to watch because we will be able to see 2 of spectacular athletes, but we will also have a chance to see 2 of the biggest rivals in the sport going toe-to-toe to prove who is the best.
Tiger Woods, a name that does not need an introduction, but deserves one nonetheless. Where do we start with him… One of the most popular athletes of the 21st century, among the most successful golfers of all time, the best-paid athlete in the world for several years, a 17 Guinness World Record holder and Masters champion at 21 years! In his career, he won 140 events,14 Majors, was PGA player of the year for 11 years, won 9 Vardon Trophies, 9 Bryon Nelson Awards and won 2 FedEx Cups…These are only a few of his accomplishments throughout his career. I could go on and on with his achievements, but I’ll spare you the reading. We can all agree Woods will go down in history as one of the most successful athletes in the history of golf, or any sport for that matter, still he is not nearly as good now as he was years ago. He hasn’t won any Major from 2014-2017. Some might disagree, as he did end up 2nd in 2018 FedEx Cup, and placed 2nd in PGA Championship. He seemingly found his rhythm, just not the same as he had years ago.
Phil Mickelson, also known as “Lefty”, Philip Alfred Mickelson is beside Tiger Woods considered the best golfer in the world. He has won 43 events on the PGA Tour, which includes 5 Majors, 3 Masters, PGA Championship and an Open Championship. Mickelson is one of 16 golf players in the history of the sport to win at least 3 of 4 Majors. He won every major except U.S. Open, where he finished 2nd for 6 times. It’s a record, however a record with a bitter taste to it. The event/match itself is an interesting one from many perspectives. The players will not only play for $9 million, which will go to the winner but will also “spice up” the match with side-bets. One of those was already placed; with Mickelson prepared to risk $100,000 to hit a birdie on the first hole.
The conversation between Woods and Mickelson went as followed: Phil: “I feel like the first hole is a great hole for me, and I believe… in fact I’m willing to risk $100,000 that says I birdie the first hole. So that’s how good I feel heading into this match” Woods: “So you think you can make birdie on the first hole?” “I know I’m going to make birdie on the first hole,” the confident Mickelson said. “Double it,” Woods responded.
So here we go, we have a $200,00 bet between the players at the first hole. We will most likely see many more side bets from these two players, just to make the match that much more interesting for viewers and of course for both players. The rivalry between them is really interesting, in a way they don’t hate each other, but rather respect one another… well in their own way. As Mickelson stated, Woods was always better than him, every record he managed to achieve, Woods came and broke it. The following statement sums up why Mickelson wants this match to happen: “This is a unique opportunity to do something that I’ve had a hard time doing, which is to get a leg up on Tiger even if it’s just one day.” “It’s great to win the $9 million, but I just don’t want to lose to him. The bragging rights are the thing. I want to be able to rub it in; I don’t want it to be rubbed in. I want to sit in the champions locker room at Augusta and talk smack.” This event on its own does not seem like a World Cup finals in soccer, NBA Finals or 2 of the best boxers going against each other in the ring although it just might get just as much attention, and rightfully so. The match basically just comes down to 2 friends playing golf, while having fun and of course want to win the bragging rights (as well as the $9 million).
As for who will win.. Despite the fact that Tiger Woods has more than 2x as much wins compared to Phil Mickelson, that does not show a clear picture of how this match will go. This match is probably the most important match of Phil Mickelson career, not because of $9 million, neither because he will add another win to his record, but because he will have a chance to defeat Tiger Woods, in whose shadow Phil had to stand for too long.
Comparing the odds, Tiger Woods is priced around 1.49, whereas Phil Mickelson has odds of 2.719 offered to win. Betting on Phil Mickelson seems more reasonable for us, as it represents value (50/50 event). Also, the fact that Phil is more familiar with Shadow Creek, makes this bet much more attractive.
Prediction: Phil Mickelson to win
Odds: 2.719 Pinnacle