- Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson's $9 million match has been promoted like a superfight. Keeping in that vein, here's a tale-of-the-tape-style preview.
It’s a head-to-head matchup with millions of dollars at stake. It’s in Las Vegas. There was a pre-event press conference with an awkward staredown. HBO gave it the 24/7 treatment.
All this goes to say: The Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson match has been promoted like a boxing superfight.
Keeping in that vein, let’s preview Friday’s $9 million matchup with a boxing-style, tale-of-the-tape preview.
Tiger Woods: 6’1’’
Phil Mickelson: 6’3’’
Woods: 185 pounds
Mickelson: 200 pounds
I'm not buying either of these totals. Tiger's probably closer to 205, while Mickelson's gotta be pushing 220.
Age has been a favorite talking point for The Match’s detractors. Woods and Mickelson are both closer to the end of their careers than the beginning—Mickelson will be eligible for the senior tour in 573 days—but both had resurgent seasons that included a win.
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Estimated Net Worth
Woods: $740 million
Mickelson: $375 million
These two have been the sport’s highest earners for two decades. Woods is on track to become a billionaire and might already be there had he not had a costly divorce.
Current World Ranking
It’s been a remarkable rise in the rankings for Woods, who began 2018 ranked outside the top 600. Mickelson dropped as low as 49th earlier this year but responded with a streak of T5-T2-T6-1 to get back into the top 20.
PGA Tour Wins
Woods is second all-time, and Mickelson is ninth. Woods is just two short of tying Sam Snead’s record of 82, while Lefty is two behind Walter Hagen for eighth.
Tiger is famously four behind Jack Nickalus’ record of 18, and he hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. Mickelson’s last major came at the 2013 British Open, and he’s tied with five other players for 14th all time.
Woods: $115.5 million
Mickelson: $88.3 Million
Lowest PGA Tour Round
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Woods: 2018 Tour Championship (September)
Mickelson: 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship (March)
Both players ended winless droughts of five-plus years.
Woods: 16/18 cuts, seven top 10s, three top fives, one win, $5,443,841 in earnings
Mickelson: 21/24 cuts, six top 10s, three top fives, one win, $4,595,187 in earnings
Mickelson had the stronger start to the season, winning in March and holding a top-three spot in the FedEx Cup standings until the U.S. Open. Woods caught fire in the summer, contending in the year’s final two majors (including a solo second at the PGA Championship) and winning the Tour Championship. Both players struggled mightily at the Ryder Cup—Woods went 0-4 and lost to Jon Rahm in singles, while Mickelson went 0-2 and lost to Francesco Molinari to give the Europeans the clinching point to win—and both looked fatigued doing so. The good news: they’ve both had two months to rest up and prepare for this.
Match Play Singles Record
Woods is a three-time winner of the WGC Match Play event. Woods is 4-2-2 in Ryder Cup singles matches, while Mickelson is 8-6-1.
When the two have been paired together, Woods has shot the lower round 18 times, Mickelson has shot the lower round 15 times, and they have tied four times. The most recent time they were paired together was the Players Championship in May, where Woods shot 72-71 to Mickelson’s 79-73.
While Woods and Mickelson have undoubtedly been the best players of their generation, the two haven’t gone toe-to-toe down the stretch of a major championship too many times. The closest instance was the 2001 Masters, where Tiger and Phil played in the final group together. Woods entered the day looking for his fourth straight major championship, the “Tiger Slam,” and got it done by firing a final-round 68 to win by two. Mickelson would finish in third, three shots back. The next year at the U.S. Open, Mickelson finished second to Woods, one of a record six runner-up finishes for Lefty at the Open. When Mickelson won his first major in 2004 at the Masters, Woods finished in a tie for third, three shots back.
The best “duel” between the two—meaning both were playing together and playing lights out—came at the 2005 Ford Championship at Doral. Tiger fired a final-round 66 to finish at 24-under and beat Mickelson, who shot 69, by a single shot. The win saw Woods retake the world No. 1 ranking from Vijay Singh.