Turner set as much as parlay profitable gamble on Tiger vs. Phil into extra PPVs | Golf


Turner Sports activities’ manufacturing of Friday’s match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson was principally a cacophonous, technically challenged mess, however Mickelson’s thrilling sudden-death victory beneath the Las Vegas lights ought to and can make the community strive once more.

The match might additionally grow to be the template for gambling-driven golf and tennis pay-per-view occasions sooner or later as an increasing number of states work to legalize sports activities betting. I can already see the advertisements: “Tiger vs. Phil: The Rematch.”

I had excessive hopes for “The Match,” the $9 million winner-take-all pay-per-view between Tiger and Phil; most of these hopes have been realized.

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This was golf’s first dive into the pay-per-view waters occupied by boxing and combined martial arts. Each gamers have been mic’d up. Woods and Mickelson delivered distinctive entry with on-course trash-talking, gamesmanship and shot technique that we do not see or hear throughout common golf protection. For the first time, golf brazenly embraced the betting that has been a part of the game since its starting.

Approach too typically, nonetheless, Turner’s telecast was a babble of indecipherable voices that left my ears ringing. Too many occasions, announcers drowned out the perfect moments. I saved urging them throughout the five-hour occasion to simply shut up, for Pete’s sake.

If one thing is value doing, although, then it is value overdoing in at the moment’s sports activities media world, particularly when viewers are being charged $19.99. Turner threw the whole lot however the kitchen sink at this occasion, however generally, much less is extra.

On gap No. 3, for instance, I overheard heard Mickelson telling his caddie he was a split-second away from conceding a key putt earlier than Woods missed it, however we could not hear that as a result of anchor Ernie Johnson was introducing a pre-taped business for Capital One.

On gap No. 4, I used to be dying to listen to what Woods was telling his caddie about his awful sidehill lie. As a substitute, we obtained actor (and Capital One endorser) Samuel L. Jackson speaking about his personal golf experiences. 

Because the pair got here as much as No. 11, a driveable, 284-yard par-4, I’d have liked to listen to what the gamers and caddies have been speaking about as they stood on the tee. As a substitute, Johnson knowledgeable us that ex-TBS analyst John Smoltz made the one ace on the opening. We additionally noticed this revealing stat on-screen: “Tiger made 1% extra birdies than Phil in the pc simulation.”

Did you say “1 p.c in a pc simulation”? Cease the presses.

So as to add to the disorienting din, there have been frequent plugs for sponsors Capital One, AT&T and MGM, reside updates on odds and betting, and the sound of drones buzzing overhead. 

MGM’s unique Shadow Creek Golf Course resort was portrayed as a modern-day Backyard of Eden. We did not hear concerning the $500 greens payment for most people or the truth that gamers have to indicate up in a limousine, based on Golf Digest. A lot for weekend hackers having fun with this miracle within the desert.

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To Turner’s credit score, it wised up because the telecast wore on. It neatly confirmed replays of unveiling conversations we missed whereas the announcers have been droning on. They have been a number of the finest moments of the day.

In a single replay, we heard Mickelson lament his lack of ability to place a struggling Woods away. As Lefty walked up the 12th fairway, we heard him say to his caddie: “I am unable to preserve letting him dangle in like this. Have to drag away.” Nice stuff.

However, the on-course banter was not as scintillating as we thought it might be. As they walked up the primary fairway, Woods and Mickelson babbled about how “cool” it was for the Hollywood star Jackson to introduce them on the primary tee. Mickelson questioned if he’d be capable of get a video clip for posterity. I believe Turner can deal with that, Phil.

Different occasions, we solely heard the sounds of Woods and Mickelson respiration, groaning, grunting and sniffling as they performed their pictures, or we did not know what precisely they have been speaking about. Mickelson, for instance, talked about utilizing “facet sauce” on one shot. Even the announcers have been flummoxed by that one.

Early on, each contestants, as Charles Barkley famous, performed lots of crappy golf. Ought to we have now been shocked? Mickelson is 48 and Tiger is 42. Give analyst Peter Jacobsen, on mortgage from NBC Sports activities, credit score for his honesty Friday.

After Mickelson issued a $1 million problem for an eagle 2 on the par-Four ninth gap, each butchered their strategy pictures. “I’ve obtained to be sincere with you, Darren,” Jacobsen informed colleague Darren Clarke, “these have been two horrible pictures for these guys.”

SN LIVE BLOG: Gap-by-hole protection of ‘The Match’ 

On the par-3, eighth gap, Jacobsen famous, “Tiger’s putt was dangerous. Phil’s was worse.” 

The 2 pushed a longest-drive problem on No. 14. Why? As a result of they each drove right into a fairway bunker. 

All of that, although, was only a preamble to the hell-raising, 22nd-hole end beneath the lights that introduced again reminiscences of a number of the nice mano-a-mano contests in Sin Metropolis. All of it comes all the way down to competitors, and sports activities followers are going to recollect the ending, not the start, of this match. 

Most of the finest moments surprisingly got here from Woods, probably the most closed, uptight sports activities stars of all time.

I liked watching the large grin on his face as Lefty missed a putt on No. 1 that will have received him a $200,000 facet guess. “That hurts the pocket,” quipped Woods. Johnson might solely chortle. “What’s it they are saying: ‘Each golf shot makes any person comfortable’?”

Woods was his personal finest narrator, muttering beneath his breath after many pictures. Gazing at one awful lie, he stated merely, “That sucks.” Properly put, Tiger.

Nonetheless, I did not really feel like like viewers really obtained the form of sincere, revealing have a look at these two champions within the warmth of competitors that they promised throughout their joint press convention in Sin Metropolis on Tuesday. The place have been the taunts and the F-bombs? 

PGA Tour participant Pat Perez confirmed he has a future on golf TV by succinctly summing up the frustrations of me and different viewers. “I need to hear some extra smack, I need to hear some extra (betting) motion, I need to see some betting, however we additionally must see extra golf pictures,” stated Perez, “some extra good golf pictures.”

MORE: Golfers, followers essential of concept

The ending was nice as Woods and Mickelson battled into additional time, gallantly conceding putts to one another, as darkness descended over the Nevada desert and the floodlights got here on at Shadow Creek. It was nice TV, effectively definitely worth the $19.99 value.

Nonetheless, there’s loads of room for enchancment. 

My recommendation: Lose half the asserting crew subsequent time. Deal with the mic’d-up conversations between the gamers, caddies and followers. Cease speaking over the telecast. Let the gamers be the celebs, not the announcers. Go simpler on the product placements and infomercials.

This occasion had loads of points, particularly on the technical facet, however in the long run, it was rattling entertaining. This was a heavyweight match, with two legends going toe-to-toe. Turner ought to get credit score for playing on the thought and pulling it off. You will notice extra of them sooner or later.

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