2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Cruise Control
Harry How/Getty Images for The Match
Woods cruises to victory.
Trash talk among friends — and rivals — is fun when the result is still in doubt. Once there’s some separation, though, it just feels like the winner is needlessly pouring it on.
That probably explains why you didn’t hear anything else from Woods in relation to the bet after that exchange on the 10th tee. Mickelson had attempted to goad him into the wager before the round and get his playing partner thinking about something other than winning the Masters. It was a good idea, but it’s clearly failing.
Minutes after Tiger asks about the second-place check on the 10th tee, he drills a 3-wood down the right side, stiffs an approach to 10 feet and holes the birdie putt, extending his lead.
At this point, any spectator who’d been elsewhere on the golf course suddenly materializes, everyone wanting to catch a glimpse of history.
If last year’s victory was among the most dramatic of Woods’ many major titles, this one has all the tension of his 2006 PGA Championship win at Medinah, a five-stroke snoozer.
The final eight holes are the epitome of how Tiger used to win majors back in the day — he’d get the lead, then just eliminate any mistakes, giving the rest of the field the Heisman. He makes birdie on the two par-5s — the 13th and 15th holes — and neatly makes par on everything else.
In the end, it’s a three-stroke victory to tie Jack Nicklaus as the all-time leader in Masters wins.
If there is any bad blood between Woods and Mickelson, they do a tremendous job of disguising it. Hats removed, Phil walks toward the champion with hand extended, then pulls it back when Tiger tries to shake it and gives him a hug instead. When the commotion finally dies down, Mickelson says to the crowd, loud enough for everyone to hear, “Anyone have change for $9 million?”
During his green jacket ceremony on the practice green, Woods is asked about the bet.
“Yeah, I took some money off Phil today, too,” he says, “but that’s not for me. A bunch of kids at my learning centers are going to be big Mickelson fans after this donation.”