Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are world-famous golfers, whose faces far exceed the limits of the golfing world, which together account for 123 PGA titles, including 19 in Grand Slam, and more than 200 million dollars of earnings.
An aura and a fortune that does not prevent them from taking part from time to time in highly paid exhibitions organized for primetime television.
Between 1999 and 2005, and in 2012, Woods, then at the top of his game, faced his compatriot David Duval, the Spaniard Sergio Garcia or teamed with the Swedish Annika Sörenstam or with the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
But never with nine million dollars (7.9 million euros) at stake and a presentation by former basketball player Charles Barkley and actor Samuel L. Jackson, as in the duel they will be the main ones protagonists this Friday in Las Vegas, in a pompously duel dubbed "The Match".
Donations donated to charitable causes
To spice things up and justify the $ 19.99 US viewers will have to pay for the race, Woods and Mickelson will be equipped with microphones that will allow them to hear their conversations and other (friendly) provocations, and challenge themselves.
Will they dispute the $ 200,000 bet by the eldest of the two golfers on the birdie he should make on the first hole of the course, Shadow Creek? "I do not want to lose to him and hear him remind me all year long, it's even more important than money," said Mickelson.
"I've been fighting for a long time, I missed the competition, especially playing against Phil," said Woods, who, like his opponent, will donate at the end of the event to charities.
"It's a TV show, we're going to see things we'll never see on a Sunday at a PGA tournament," said Tiger Woods' agent Mark Steinberg. This does not prevent some voices from judging this kind of anachronistic exhibition, such as those between former champion Bobby Riggs and 1970s tennis stars such as Margaret Court and Billie Jean King.
Justin Thomas: "0% chance for me to pay to watch them"
"If it had been 15 years ago, it would have been great, but now it's a bit off the mark," said former world No. 1 and current 7th Rory McIlroy. "I really love Tiger and Phil, but there is 0% chance that I pay to watch them, I will watch football," said Justin Thomas, 4th in the world.
Woods, 42, and Mickelson, 48, are, it's true, no longer the law on the greens of the professional circuit: their last victory in Grand Slam dates respectively to 2008 and 2013, as an eternity.
But they continue to enthuse golf fans, in the United States in any case, with their iron and putts, but also their personality apart.
Not to mention that in 2018 Woods succeeded in a thunderous – and, for many observers, unthinkable– return to the fore after four disastrous years enamelled including four back operations. Gone for golf, the "Tiger" has returned to 13th place worldwide and put an end to a scarcity of five years by winning the Tour Championship in September.
This is what convinced the audiovisual giant Turner to organize a great show on a course in Las Vegas, the world's capital of the game, after Thanksgiving, in the middle of a holiday season for the United States.