It’s. About. Time. Capital One's The Match features a once-in-a-lifetime, head-to-head, 18-hole duel between 14-time major championship winner Tiger Woods and five-time major championship winner Phil Mickelson. The two golf icons will be competing for a winner-take-all $9 million prize on the Friday after Thanksgiving at the prestigious Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tune in on Nov. 23, 2018, at 2 p.m. EST, LIVE on DIRECTV Pay-Per-View.
To gear up for this historic match, let’s take a look at Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson over the years to see how their skills and stats stack up.
The Ones That Count
Golf was forever changed when Woods won his first major at the 1997 Masters. Over the next decade, he would go on to win 14 majors during the greatest run for a player in golf history. His greatest accomplishment was holding the title of all four majors at the same time from 2000 to 2001, giving birth to the term “Tiger Slam.” He has not won a major since 2008, but his promising 2018 season gives hope to ending his major drought in the near future.
At a certain point in Mickelson’s career, some thought he was cursed never to win a major, finishing in the top five at majors a total of eight times before finally breaking through at the 2004 Masters. He would go on to win four more majors over the next nine years, with his most recent being a breakthrough at The Open Championship in 2013. His final major task, other than beating Tiger in Vegas, is claiming his first PGA Championship victory to put an exclamation point on his already illustrious career.
The Desert Golf Oasis
The Shadow Creek Golf Course, one of the country's most exclusive golf destinations, has earned perennial top course rankings by Golf Week and Golf Digest; it’s even designated as the best golf course in the world in a Robb Report's "Best of the Best" issue. Designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio, Shadow Creek is located in the middle of the Nevada desert on the outskirts of Las Vegas, transporting golfers into a green paradise filled with rolling terrain, glistening brooks and ponds, lush gardens, and mature trees.
Now, let's take a look at the course itself. Shadow Creek is beautiful to behold, but it is long with a lot of challenging water hazards, strategically placed bunkers, and a plethora of undulating greens. Tiger definitely has the leg up when it comes to the course length, specifically on the long par 5s. His biggest challenge will be staying out of the water, as the aggressive lines he takes can sometimes get him into trouble. Around the greens, while Tiger had better scrambling stats in 2018, Phil definitely has a better short game. Phil is a magician out of the sand, thought to have maybe the best hands in golf history, and his clutch short game always shows up in big moments.
Both golfers have had very different paths to stardom. A young Phil Mickelson got his first victory on the PGA Tour in 1991 while he was still a sophomore in college, followed by his first win as a pro just two years later. However, despite his best efforts and some tour victories, it would take Phil another 11 years to get his first major win at Augusta in 2004. It was a slow build for Mickelson to become a household name, but once he won that first major, his career really took off. Today, you can’t hear or say the name “Phil” without thinking of Lefty, or his famous backward shot.
Woods, on the other hand, burst onto the scene in 1996, won his first major in 1997, and would go on to collect eight major titles and 34 total PGA Tour wins before the age of 27. You know the rest of the story – the Nike deal, the commercials, the video game, the fist pump, and all the injuries. It’s taken Tiger a while to get back to the golf pinnacle, but after years of doubt, it looks like he’s got some Sunday – and Friday – drama left in him.
Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs Phil
Tiger Woods. Phil Mickelson. Two of the greatest to ever play the game. One of the greatest sports rivalries of all time. What’s at stake? Oh, only $9 million and a lifetime of bragging rights. Don’t miss it. Order now and tune in on the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 23, 2018, at 2 p.m. EST, LIVE on DIRECTV Pay-Per-View.
- Brown, P. (2018, June 13). Phil Mickelson 20.jpg [Phil Mickelson at the 2018 US Open]. Retrieved October 24, 2018, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phil_Mickelson_20.jpg
- Hipps, T. (2009, July 1). Tiger Woods - AT&T National tournament 2009 [PHOTO CAPTION: AT&T National tournament host Tiger Woods, the top-ranked golfer in the world with 14 major victories on his resume, competes in the third annual Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am on July 1 at Congressional Country Club. He dedicates the tournament to the men and women of the U.S. military. (Photo by Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs)]. Retrieved October 24, 2018, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/36196762@N04/5009694154
- Public Domain Image Tiger Woods On Golf Course [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2018, from https://www.dreamstime.com/tiger-woods-golf-course-public-domain-image-free-83009062
- Brown, P. (2018, June 11). Tiger Woods 2018 US Open 26 [Tiger Woods at the 2018 US Open]. Retrieved October 24, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tiger_Woods_2018_US_Open_26.jpg
The images we used in our visualizations have been edited from their original forms, which is
allowed under Creative Commons licensing.