Mickelson tames Tiger to win The Match

Phil Mickelson birdied the fourth playoff hole in near-darkness to beat Tiger Woods and win The Match – a made-for-TV match-play contest – and the $9m prize in Las Vegas.

Mickelson birdied the 22nd hole at Shadow Creek to win a low-quality contest which failed to live up to the hype and was eventually decided by little more than a pitch-and-putt competition.

The five-time major winner also recovered from losing a $200,000 side bet on the opening hole by winning three nearest-the-pin contests for a total of $600,000 dollars, with that money reportedly coming from the players themselves and being donated to charity.

“A day like today is not going to take anything away from Tiger’s greatness, he’s the greatest of all time, but to have some smack talk for the next few years means a lot to me because I don’t have much on him,” Mickelson said.

The majority of the play in Vegas was so mediocre that various members of the commentary team were moved to comment. “This is some crappy golf,” said former NBA star Charles Barkley, while former Open champion Darren Clarke conceded after 10 holes: “We need a spark, we need something.”

Mickelson was one up going into the turn after Woods had three-putted the previous hole to make his second bogey of the day, but Woods did at least birdie the 11th and 12th to edge in front for the first time.

Phil Mickelson taps in the winning put to seal his victory.

Mickelson won his third nearest-the-pin contest on the 13th, a victory worth $300,000 dollars, and also converted the birdie putt from nine feet to get back on level terms, before edging in front on the 15th after Woods failed to get up and down from short of the green.

Mickelson took the lead when Woods bogeyed the 15th and the left-hander looked set to have a putt to win the match on the 17th when Woods missed the green with his tee shot. However, Woods chipped in for an unlikely birdie and Mickelson could not match it from 12 feet, meaning the match was all square heading to the 18th.

“You’ve been doing that crap to me for 20 years, I don’t know why I’m surprised now,” Mickelson told Woods, who then surprisingly conceded Mickelson’s putt from three feet to keep the match alive on the 18th having already made his own birdie on the par five.

The players returned to the 18th for the first play-off hole and Woods missed from seven feet for a winning birdie, meaning the makeshift hole from the putting green to the 18th was required.

Mickelson missed from 20 feet for a winning birdie on the first playing of the 93-yard hole and from five feet the second time, but made no mistake from three feet at the third time of asking to finally seal victory.

Only 700 invited guests were allowed to watch the event billed as golf’s first pay-per-view broadcast. It was marred by technical difficulties with viewers unable to view it on their televisions after paying $19.95. Turner and Bleacher Report representatives sent out links on social media allowing people to view it for free on their computers and mobile devices.

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