2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Back and Forth


Harry How/Getty Images for The Match

The trash-talking continues down the stretch.

You’ve always been convinced: If viewers had the option of one channel showing Tiger and Phil battling down the stretch of a major championship and another channel showing Tiger and Phil trash-talking each other, the latter might get better ratings.

If they were mic’d up today, it would be some legendary stuff.

This is everything “The Match” was supposed to be — two guys pulling out the full arsenal of barbs and insults, each one trying to get under the other’s skin. Perhaps it never really happened in Las Vegas because they were mic’d up and therefore reticent to trade any real jabs throughout the round.

It couldn’t be any better today, though.

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On 15, Mickelson pushes his drive way left and Woods asks, “Are you alright? You usually save that one for the last hole.”

On 16, Woods chips one close, but it doesn’t go in, to which Mickelson says, “Aww, do you need all the fans to stomp their feet again, so this one drops in the cup?”

On 17, Woods hits 3-wood off the tee, then reaches around, holding his back as if he’s tweaked it. “You OK?” asks Mickelson. “Yeah,” he responds, “just still hurts from carrying your ass at the 2004 Ryder Cup.”

Later on that hole, when Mickelson makes birdie to grab a one-shot lead, he turns to Woods and recites his take on a line from Happy Gilmore: “Lefty learned how to putt. Uh-oh.”

And on the final hole, when Woods holes a putt of his own to force a playoff between him and Mickelson — the moment most golf fans have waited a generation to witness — Woods doesn’t do his classic fist-pump but instead counters with a Happy line of his own: “Did that go in? I wasn’t watching, did it go in? I didn’t see it, can you tell me if it went in?”

The two of them embark on the first-ever playoff that features two players laughing and spouting insults at each other as the rules official is trying to explain the sudden-death format.

In the end, it’s Tiger who winds up winning, offering a huge note of gratitude to none other than Phil himself. “He helped me stay loose out there today,” he says. “Without all that trash talk, I would’ve been way more nervous.”

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