It almost happened on July 3 in Las Vegas, but golf stars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson say they are still committed to pulling off a $10 million winner-take-all, one-on-one, 18-hole golf match.
Negations reportedly stalled on the concept last month when the golfers and a major TV network could not agree on the particulars for a TV special, according to Golf magazine.
Apparently, the golfers are still committed to the idea and are looking for ways to seal the deal. While representatives for Tiger Woods did not comment on the story, Mickelson said on Thursday, “We’re working on a different date. I thought it was done for the 3rd, but obviously, it wasn’t.”
The idea stemmed from a practice round the two players undertook last April during the Masters tournament. The two were also paired at this year’s Players tournament sparking Mickelson to ruminate about a one-on-one game between the two.
“The excitement that’s been going on around here, it gets me thinking: Why don’t we just bypass all the ancillary stuff of a tournament and just go head-to-head and just have kind of a high-stakes, winner-take-all match,” Mickelson said in May. “Now, I don’t know if he wants a piece of me, but I just think it would be something that would be really fun for us to do, and I think there would be a lot of interest in it if we just went straight to the final round.”
The negotiations for such a match had already begun by May, so Woods responded to Mickelson’s suggestion saying, “I’m definitely not against that. We’ll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable.”
The two famed names had an early rivalry, but by 2015 Mickelson offered a helping hand to Woods and since then the two have become more friendly. And while they continue to playfully trash talk each other, Mickelson has had to admit that Woods has the upper hand.
“The tough thing is that he has the trump card: his career record. OK?” Mickelson has said according to Golf. “Whether it’s 14 majors, 79 wins, however many players of the year awards, FedEx Cups, the whole deal. He owns all the trump cards. So I have to be very careful and strategic in my smack talk, because if I lay something down, in comes a trump card, you know, and then shuts me right up.”
Perhaps mirroring the relationship that Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer built after years of intense rivalry, Woods and Mickelson could realize some lucrative deals by joining teams instead of working against each other, and this possible TV special could be a major first step.
Mickelson, at least, has publicly said that they have “turned the corner” in their relationship. And that could be just as good for golf as for Woods and Mickelson.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.