THE PHIL-TIGER $9M ‘MATCH’ A CRASS FARCE

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA [email protected]

I’M SURE I wasn’t alone in stay­ing up late on Fri­day night, to ob­serve that cu­ri­ous Ve­gas non­sense dubbed ‘The Match’.

Truth be told, I fell asleep af­ter about eight holes, and lit­er­ally woke up with the whole thing un­der lights, and Phil Mick­el­son sud­denly hav­ing a four-footer to beat Tiger Woods and walk into the desert with $9-mil­lion.

Amer­ica be­ing Amer­ica, the cash was right there, too. Just in case you didn’t be­lieve they had it.

The amounts of money alone were vast. $200 000 for a birdie on the first hole. A mil­lion bucks for a hole-out from the fair­way. It was a crass show of the haves and the have nots. Ve­gas is Floyd May­weather coun­try; an end­less and un­apolo­getic pa­rade of flash and wads of cash. Of course, May­weather was in­volved in the hype for a Thanks­giv­ing match-play hit and gig­gle be­tween two ri­vals whose an­i­mos­ity has worn off with age.

If this was Woods against Ser­gio Gar­cia, and they were set­tling their dif­fer­ences, there might have been more of a sense of this be­ing a con­test.

In­stead, the play­ers shadow-boxed. Mic’ed up, they shared awk­ward plat­i­tudes about Sa­muel L Jack­son and the weather. And the course. And kids be­ing away from home.

And ‘nice shot’.

It wasn’t a con­test. Not a fight, or a scrap or even a shootout. This was a pub­lic view­ing of two dads play­ing golf, and al­low­ing Big Brother a close-up view.

Sadly, even golf has dipped into the re­al­ity TV realm now. It’s ridicu­lous. Try as they might, both leg­ends couldn’t re­ally be both­ered to shift through the gears and find their best form.

They have been sit­ting at home for a month, and prob­a­bly stuffed them­selves full of turkey on the Thurs­day. This wasn’t se­ri­ous. It wasn’t sin­cere.

It was a very pub­lic ‘stuff you’ to those who squeal about the ob­scene amounts golfers earn for hit­ting a lit­tle ball around.

One mil­lion dol­lars for a tour­na­ment win? Ten mil­lion for the FedEx Cup?

How about $9-mil­lion be­tween mates, just to em­pha­sise how vast the chasm is be­tween those on the bread­line – and the tigers who dic­tate the food chain.

There were all sorts of celebri­ties roped in to bring some sort of stardust into this whole farce. Sa­muel L Jack­son and Charles Barkley had a run­ning skit of hack­ing golfers. It was all rather try-hard.

Per­haps it made more sense in Amer­ica. Af­ter all, Thanks­giv­ing is their thing. Their tra­di­tion, and their an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of all things stars and stripes.

Per­haps, then, it makes ab­so­lute sense to pa­rade their two age­ing stars, pay them money they don’t need, and let the world watch on as of it was a price fight down the strip at the MGM Grand.

This was as te­dious as May­weather against Conor McGre­gor. It wasn’t real sport, be­cause it didn’t re­ally mat­ter to any of the com­bat­ants.

May­weather made sure he didn’t lose. Be­cause of pride.

Mick­el­son made sure he was the vic­tor. Be­cause of pride.

In the real world, McGre­gor be­came richer than he had ever dreamed. And, of course, in the real golf­ing world, Mick­el­son can only dream of match­ing Tiger’s haul.

In the real world, Tiger Woods doesn’t mut­ter ‘dammit’ when he misses his tar­get by 60 feet. He swears, and broad­cast­ers wince. That is the tell.

The Match was such a farce it might as well have been scripted. Who knows, it might have been ...

The only way it could have been more vul­gar was of Don­ald Trump him­self was on hand to hand over the loot, and tell all of us how won­der­ful his Amer­ica is.

And that if he re­ally, re­ally, re­ally tried, he could prob­a­bly best both play­ers. But he has a coun­try to em­bar­rass.

Ac­tu­ally, that would have been kinda fit­ting.

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