It’s been impossible to ignore all the hype heading into Friday’s “The Match: Tiger vs. Phil,” set for 3 p.m. ET on pay-per-view.
But many golf fans and even Tiger Woods’ and Phil Mickelson’s fellow pro golfers are not buying it — not the hype, not the concept, and not the PPV match itself.
PGA star Rory McIlroy told USA Today Tuesday he didn’t plan to watch the event.
“Look, if they had done it 15 years ago, it would have been great,” McIlroy said. “But nowadays, it’s missed the mark a little bit.”
British golfer Eddie Pepperell, who has three European Tour wins and finished T6 in The Open Championship this year, tweeted Wednesday that the $19.99 pay-per-view match is, “everything golf shouldn’t be doing right now. One man earning $9 Million isn’t attractive. This putrid attempt at attention will turn out to be futile for everyone. Pathetic.”
Pepperell doubled down on his comments Thursday, saying, “Tiger vs Phil is like Mayweather vs McGregor. Except on their day, there are 100 golfers who *could* beat Tiger/Phil. Not true of Boxing. When fewer people swallow bigger portions of the pie, inequality beckons. Not saying this is right or wrong, only that debt will f— us all.”
Pepperell also noted, “I think whoever wins between Tiger and Phil should put the $9 Million towards America’s National Debt so it comes down to $21,777,841,457,810. (at time of writing).”
Minjee Lee, the No. 2 money winner on the LPGA Tour in 2018, told the New York Times she thinks Woods vs. Mickelson is “going to be a great match.” When someone informed her the event cost $19.99 on pay-per-view, Lee said, “I didn’t know that. Maybe I’ll just follow it on Twitter or something.”
This is uncharted territory for golf, embracing the PPV model. Some have criticized the boxing/MMA-style marketing surrounding the event.
I mean. What. The. Actual. pic.twitter.com/E1t3R0FeDu
— Georgie Bingham (@georgiebingham) November 21, 2018
Others lament the fact that, while both Woods and Mickelson are still talented players, and still quite popular, they’re 42 and 48, respectively, and past their prime.
Yet other critics are concerned that the match could set a precedent for future golf events. The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal wrote, “Tiger vs. Phil” is testing the waters. If it’s a hit, you can be sure there will be other pay-per-view challenges. Basketball one-on-one. Challenge races. Skills competitions.
“It’s not a huge leap from there to paying to see the Masters, and the price may be a lot higher than $19.99. Maybe not next year or the next, but down the road.”
USA Today writer Christine Brennan wrote, “With legal sports gambling coming in this country in a big way, and soon, perhaps this is what all golf broadcasts will look like someday.”
Brennan said she’s not going to watch the event, and she doesn’t know anyone who plans to watch.
“In a holiday weekend overflowing with real, meaningful sports events, faux golf is out of place,” Brennan wrote. “Look at the trade-off you’ll be making if you watch: while either Tiger or Phil will make $9 million in the winner-take-all match, you’ll give up four hours of your life that you’ll never get back.”