Golf fans starved for any sort of live play might soon have something to watch as Phil Mickelson said on Sunday he’s working on a Tiger-Phil Match II. Mickelson said the sequel of 2018’s made-for-television event, “The Match,” is a definite possibility.
The PGA Tour has been on hiatus since The Players Championship became the first of four events canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced last week that four more events have since been canceled. In addition, the Masters and the PGA Championship have both been postponed, and are looking to reschedule in the summer or fall. The first possible PGA Tour event that could be played would be the Charles Schwab Challenge May 17.
On Sunday, Mickelson and Woods were asked on Twitter about the possibility of repeating their original match from November 2018.
“@TigerWoods @PhilMickelson do you think there is a chance you two go play a round mic’d up with one camera guy and just put it out there on a stream for people to watch??” Chris Yurko (@YurkisMaximus) asked.
Much to the surprise of the golf world, Mickelson answered him back. “Working on it,” Mickelson responded.
When someone else pleaded with Mickelson not to toy with golf fans about the possibility, Mickelson replied, “I don’t tease. I’m kinda a sure thing.”
— Chris Yurko (@YurkisMaximus) March 29, 2020
Can a Rematch Happen?
While the public is clamoring for live golf, pulling off a Tiger-Phil Match II could have logistical challenges. The first is finding a location. Many golf courses are among non-essential businesses that governors have ordered to close in several states, including California. Others courses have temporarily shut down voluntarily.
The site of the original exhibition, Shadow Creek Golf Club in Las Vegas, can remain open as Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak permitted certain outdoor spaces exempt from his shutdown order of non-essential businesses. The semi-private course, which is owned by MGM Resorts International, has chosen to close, however.
If a golf course can be found, the second obstacle is that the rematch can’t be the same huge production it was a year and a half ago. Most states have either recommended or ordered that there should be no more than 50 people gathering in one place at a time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Logically there would be no galleries, but these restrictions also apply to all the production personnel required to televise such an event. The problem could be solved with one or two roving cameramen, and a sparse broadcast truck with minimal staff.
Would the Sequel be Better than the Original?
The first Tiger-Phil match was a stilted affair and, at times, the banter between Woods and Mickelson seemed forced. The interactions between the two would have to improve in round two to make the event more watchable.
The golf would also have to be better. Neither Woods nor Mickelson played their best games at Shadow Creek, and it showed. At one point, Charles Barkley, who was an analyst, said, “This is some crappy golf. Y’all know that. I could beat these two guys today.”
Woods hasn’t commented about a second event. He has a fickle back, and might not want to chance getting injured for an exhibition match. Despite the fact the show would be a welcome gift to golf fans, there is an awful lot that has to happen for it to occur.