Los Angeles: Phil Mickelson sank a four-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole to pocket $9 million and beat Tiger Woods in an exhibition clash Friday between two of golf’s greatest rivals.
Mickelson and Woods sparred over 22 rounds of match-play golf in front of an invitation-only gallery of 700 people at the Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas.
Mickelson clinched the victory with a short putt after Woods’ tee shot landed on the green but he left his six-foot birdie putt short.
“What a match it was,” Mickelson said. “My heart can’t take much more.”
Mickelson had several putts to win earlier in the match that failed to drop, but he made no mistake on the final go at the par-three, 93-yard hole for the winner-take-all triumph.
The match lasted five hours and finished in darkness as organisers had to use flood lights to illuminate the green on the final hole.
While both the 48-year-old Mickelson and the 42-year-old Woods are past their prime, Friday’s meeting between the 19-time major winners still provided some entertaining golf.
But since their heyday in the late 1990s and early 2000s, however, both Woods and Mickelson have been in steady decline.
While they both recorded victories on the PGA Tour in 2018, it has been five years since Mickelson won a major, while Woods hasn’t hoisted a major since 2008.
Woods had to console himself with making the shot of the match on the 17th when he nailed a long birdie chip shot from the back of the green to stay alive in the match.
“Just like old times,” Woods said after celebrating with a familiar fist pump. “I needed it. He had a chance to close out so I needed something special to happen.”
Mickelson walked up the fairway knowing that if he made birdie and Woods made par the cash grab would be his.
“He does this crap to me all the time — for 20 years” said Mickelson. “Tiger is the greatest of all time.”
With the invite-only gallery in attendance, golf fans were forced to watch the exhibition via a $19.99 pay per view televised format.
The duo both wore microphones and they filled time in the early going with plenty of verbal banter back and forth, but Mickelson admitted struggling to find enough to say as the match wore on.— AFP