Tiger vs Phil – epic, gladiatorial, major money on the line, and above all else a faltering disappointment.
This was slated to be a high stakes gambling match in addition to the $9M purse. In my opinion, every ‘challenge’ felt forced, and created very little intrigue or excitement. I think the idea of a one on one golf match will always sound better than the execution can live up to, and this proved that for me. The only reason this worked at all is because of the star power involved, and it still fell flat. A big reason was the lack of stellar play. Phil only won holes when Tiger bogeyed, and there were big misses with short irons, missed short putts, and too much scrambling to be excited about. In addition, the lack of pace, intensity, and excitement that we experienced is the critique that non-golf fans have always espoused. Along with those issues, the match ended with a contrived pitch and putt contest in the dark, which served to cheapen what little excitement we were blessed with when Tiger chipped in on 17 to tie the match.
The production itself suffered from a lack of experience with this type of format as well, and the announcers talking over the mic’d up players seemed all too common as a result. I think the whole crew (Barkley, Pat Perez, Darren Clarke, et al) added very little value, except for Ernie Johnson, who I very much enjoy, and who makes a great emcee, in case you haven’t watched the NBA on TNT in the last decade.
In conclusion, I enjoyed this event because I would watch Tiger play anytime. However, I think the event and the format will be short lived, even more so than the big name matches of the early 2000’s. There simply isn’t enough draw, especially if the participants don’t play really well, to be a successful formula.
Let me know your thoughts!