2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Following the Big Cat
Harry How/Getty Images for The Match
Root for Tiger — and only Tiger — the rest of the way.
It took you approximately two seconds to come to this conclusion. Like everyone, you love watching Phil play golf — but come on, Tiger is Tiger. Not only do you have an opportunity to cheer for perhaps the greatest of all-time, you’re cheering for him when he’s on the verge of history.
This ain’t no Thursday morning at the Wyndham Championship. This is the final round of the Masters and he’s Tiger freakin’ Woods. ‘Nuff said.
As soon as you wrapped your mind around this decision, you were all-in.
You went from applauding every well-struck shot and every putt that found the cup for each player to full-on #TeamTiger. You’re hardly alone, either. There are plenty of fans still mindlessly cheering for both players, but there are also those who have taken your side.
And you’ve been willingly abducted by your new cult.
There’s a guy dressed in a full tiger onesie — not a Tiger Woods onesie, but the animal, replete with stripes and a tail. He’s holding hands with a woman whose face is painted like a tiger, including (somehow) real whiskers protruding from her face. Another guy is wearing a XXL red shirt that goes down to his knees, which is necessary because it lists every single one of Woods’ 82 career PGA TOUR titles.
“Right here,” he says, spinning around and trying to point to a section on his, uh, lower back when asked where on the shirt he’ll put this one.
Those are the ringleaders. The hangers-on, like you, include frat boys wearing “Make Tiger Great Again” shirts, middle-aged guys with hats featuring Frank the Headcover and even one dude adorned in a tank-top with Tiger’s mugshot from his DUI arrest, which makes you wonder whether he’s rooting for him or against him.
(“For him, bro!” he says when you ask. “That man is the GOAT!”)
You and your merry band of Tiger misfits are having an absolute blast. You’re not belligerent toward Mickelson or any other player — this is Augusta National, after all — but it’s been fun picking out Phil fans and trash-talking them after every shot.
On the 12th hole, the gallery obviously can’t get close to the tee, but when Tiger stuffs one to six feet, the group — growing with each hole, now at 40 or 50 total — roars together. Like, a literal roar. You later hear the commentators were laughing about it on the telecast before apologizing to viewers, unsure of whether the powers-that-be at Augusta National would approve of their approval.
You keep following and Tiger keeps doing his thing, taking a one-shot lead after a birdie on 15.
On 16, some magic happens. Fans who have been huddled around the green for hours part the sea for you and your new sect. “You guys deserve to see this,” an older man says, while you thank him profusely. You watch as Woods nearly makes an ace, his shot taking the slope on the left side of the green and rolling toward the hole, stopping just a foot shy.
“That would’ve been his first hole-in-one in a sanctioned event since 1998,” you tell the guy in the oversized t-shirt, impressing him with your knowledge.
When Tiger walks off the green, he tosses his ball to a kid sitting near you, but it hits about 12 different pairs of hands and lands directly in your midsection. You look at the ball, with “TIGER” printed on it and consider stowing it away in your pocket, but you decide you’d rather have a little good karma instead. Motioning to the kid amongst the mayhem, you sneak the ball into his hands and watch as he lights up with a huge smile.
Maybe that was all the kismet you need. Woods adds another birdie on 17 and cruises to the victory. You and your new pals go berserk when he closes it out, as your first-ever Masters experience ending with a celebratory hug from a grown man dressed like a tiger.