Tiger and Phil Waste No Time, Place $200K Side Bet on First Hole of ‘The Match’

Nov 23, 2018 08:00 AM EST

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods

  • Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson hosted a joint press conference on Tuesday ahead of their $9 million match (Friday, 3 p.m. ET).
  • The duo wasted no time throwing down the side-action gauntlet: They wagered $200K on whether Phil will birdie hole No. 1 at Shadow Creek.

We knew there’d be side action during “The Match” between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. We just didn’t know it would start three days ahead of the event.

At a Tuesday press conference in Las Vegas, it was Mickelson who lobbed the first wager onto his opponent’s side of the fence.

“I feel like the first hole is a great hole for me,” the lefthander said of the short par-4 opener at host venue Shadow Creek. “I’m willing to risk $100,000 that says I birdie the first hole. That’s how good I feel going into this match.”

He then turned to Woods and explained, “Now, you don’t have to take it…”

Come on, did you really think he’d turn it down?

Instead, Woods answered with a two-word response to get the betting started: “Double it.”

And there we have it: The first in what should be a number of side bets throughout the $9 million match, with the winnings from each of these wagers earmarked toward that player’s charitable foundation.

Of course, Mickelson wasn’t complaining about the extra $100,000 for the bet.

“Do you see how I baited him like that?” he said to the audience. “Yes!”

The trash talk, canned as it may have been throughout the press conference, continued after the deal was brokered.

“There’s water down the left,” Woods explained. “He likes to lose his golf ball to the left, that little flare-out that he hits. He hasn’t really thought about this.”

Mickelson countered: “I’m going to hit a 2-iron in the fairway, I’m a great short iron player – in fact, one of the best.”

The first bet of the week certainly won’t be the last — and it likely won’t be the most expensive, either.

Later in the proceedings, Mickelson referenced there being “millions” in side action at different points during the match.

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