Phil Mickelson clinched the jackpot Friday in Las Vegas. the American beat his illustrious compatriot Tiger Woods in a duel dubbed "The Match" which, as widely anticipated, did not skip the heights of golf.
Despite having five Grand Slam titles to his name and $ 88 million in career gain, Mickelson was shaking like a leaf, by his own admission, at the time of hitting the winning putt, a shot of 1, 30m, synonymous with jackpot.
As night began to fall on the Shadow Creek course, in the heart of the gambling and casino capital of the world, Mickelson pocketed $ 9 million, unheard of for an exhibition. It took "Lefty" to wait for the fourth hole of the playoff to overcome Woods and cut several times his disappointment to miss the victory.
Mickelson, 48, took the best start in the match-play challenge and led from the second hole, but never managed to outrun Woods. The former world No. 1, who was favored by the 700 spectators and invited VIPs after his thunderous return to the fore in 2018 at age 42 after four previous disastrous seasons, briefly passed in the lead in 12, chaining two birdies in a row, but Mickelson again became leader at 15.
Back to the wall, Woods returned to Mickelson's level with a seven-meter putt on the 17th, a rare blow to a disappointing show day.
Even the promise of confidences, discussions and provocations picked up by mics on Woods and Mickelson, proved disappointing. Except for a mockery of Woods after the failure of Mickelson who had bet $ 200,000 he would close the first hole with a birdie ("It hurts the wallet") or the admission that their respective children did not find them "Cools"Nothing very interesting, especially as the two players, fierce competitors, were less and less forthcoming as the denouement approached.
It was not until former basketball player Charles Barkley, who converted TV consultant on a channel of Turner, the organizer of the event, to make a smile by claiming, given the level of the game Woods and Mickelson, that even he, though known to be a poor golfer, could beat them.
Another snub for the organizers, the platform for the payment of 19.99 dollars asked to viewers, soon encountered technical problems, forcing Turner to broadcast the event for free.
"The Match", criticized by some players who regretted that it was too late to decide between two emblematic players of the 2000s, has not revolutionized golf and will not question its hierarchy.
"Tiger remains the greatest golfer of all time, but it will be good to be able to remind him that I beat him"smiled Mickelson. During their duel, Woods and Mickelson also challenged themselves by betting for example a million dollars for the one who would succeed an eagle on the hole 9. Neither won this bet, but they amassed with other challenges 800 $ 000 they will spend on their respective foundation.