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Tiger vs. Phil: Tracking a (Fictional) Skins Game at the U.S. Open

Jun 14, 2018 2:15 PM EDT

A month ago at The Players Championship, Phil Mickelson planted the seed for what would be an epic gambling event against Tiger Woods: “Why don’t we just bypass all the ancillary stuff on a tournament and just go head-to-head and just have kind of a high-stake, winner-take-all match? Now, I don’t know if he wants a piece of me (laughter), but I just think it would be something that would be really fun for us to do, and I think there would be a lot of interest in it if we just went straight to the final round.”

This needs to happen. But until it does, we thought it’d be fun to track how a skins game between the two would play out, using their first-round scores at the U.S. Open.

 

The stakes: $25K per hole

The rules: Winner of the hole wins the money. If there’s a push, money carries over to the next hole.

That’s enough ground rules. Let’s dive into the (fictional) match.

And here are hole-by-hole breakdowns…

Hole 1, Par 4

Tiger: 7 | Phil: 4

What happened: Tiger airmailed the first green and made a mess of getting up and down, settling for a triple. Phil, meanwhile, carded a rare par on his round.

Tally: Tiger down $25K; Phil up $25K

Hole 2, Par 3

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 4

What happened: Phil missed the green on his first shot and had a tough 20-foot putt for par and missed it to bogey. Tiger had an easier par putt but also missed to bogey and start his round +4 after two.

Tally: Tiger down $25K; Phil up $25K

Hole 3, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 5

What happened: Both players hit the fairway off the tee, but Phil’s approach shot landed 75 feet away, which caused him to three-putt. Tiger was able to two-putt and saved par after a solid drive.

Tally: Tiger up $25K; Phil down $25K

Hole 4, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 4

What happened: Tiger still wasn’t on the green after his second shot but on the third put the ball 14 inches away to save par. Phil got on in two and two-putted to get his par.

Tally: Tiger up $25K; Phil down $25K

Hole 5, Par 5

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 4

What happened: Phil birdied the first par-5 to put the pressure on Tiger, who responded with a beautiful 327-yard drive and then drained a pressure putt. They now have two skins carrying over into Hole 6.

Tally: Tiger up $25K; Phil down $25K

Hole 6, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 5

What happened: Phil found the bunker on his second shot and had to get out back onto the fairway. That caused him to bogey, whereas Tiger was able to manage a nice putt for par.

Tally: Tiger up $100K; Phil down $100K

Hole 7, Par 3

Tiger: 3 | Phil: 3

What happened: Phil had a nice shot off the tee but couldn’t capitalize on his birdie putt and ended with a par. Tiger’s shot drifted off the tee, but he got very lucky for it to not fall into the greenside bunker. He two-putted for par.

Tally: Tiger up $100K; Phil down $100K

Hole 8, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 5

What happened: With his second shot, Phil flew it over the green and wasn’t able to get up and down for par. Tiger had a brilliant second shot and missed a very nice look at a birdie from inside 10 feet. He settled for par but won this hole over Phil.

Tally: Tiger up $150K; Phil down $150K

Hole 9, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 4

What happened: Phil had a nice approach shot with his second but missed a 12-foot birdie putt and settled for par. Tiger was in danger of three-putting after two but hit a beautiful lag to get up and down for par.

Tally: Tiger up $150K; Phil down $150K

Hole 10, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 5

What happened: Phil overshot the green on his second shot and couldn’t get up and down for par. Tiger had a difficult third shot as well, sitting 50 feet from the hole, but was able to lag it to within three feet and save par.

Tally: Tiger up $175K; Phil down $175K

Hole 11, Par 3

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 3

What happened: Tiger flew it into the greenside bunker and wasn’t able to get up and down to save par. Phil found the exact same bunker but had a nice out to nine feet from the hole. He drained it to finally take a hole off Tiger.

Tally: Tiger up $150K; Phil down $150K

Hole 12, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 5

What happened: Phil hit his second shot way right but had a nice shot with his third to give himself a 13-foot par putt. He missed to card a bogey. Tiger was 30 feet away after his second but was able to get it to within a foot for a par save.

Tally: Tiger up $175K; Phil down $175K

Hole 13, Par 4

Tiger: 6 | Phil: 5

What happened: Phil’s putter failed him again on this hole, as he three-putted from 22 feet away. Fortunately for him, Tiger four-putted for a double.

Tally: Tiger up $150K; Phil down $150K

Hole 14, Par 4

Tiger: 6 | Phil: 4

What happened: Phil hit a booming drive on the fairway and then stuck his approach to 10 yards from the hole. He was able to two-putt for par. Tiger had another double after skewing his second shot way left, which made him have to lay up with his third.

Tally: Tiger up $125K; Phil down $125K

Hole 15, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 4

What happened: Phil had an easy hole, getting on in two and carding a par. Tiger’s was a little more dramatic, as he missed the green with his second, but he was able to get up and down to tie Phil.

Tally: Tiger up $125K; Phil down $125K

Hole 16, Par 5

Tiger: 5 | Phil: 6

What happened: Phil was tracking for a birdie after two great shots, but he flew his third over the green and couldn’t get up and down to save par. Tiger did exactly that.

Tally: Tiger up $150K; Phil down $150K

Hole 17, Par 3

Tiger: 3 | Phil: 3

What happened: Phil nearly missed the green but was able to turn a long second shot into a par save. Tiger had a long putt and nearly drained it, tapping in for par.

Tally: Tiger up $150K; Phil down $150K

Hole 18, Par 4

Tiger: 4 | Phil: 4

What happened: Both players got up-and-down from around the green for par to push the final two skins.

Tally: Tiger up $150K; Phil down $150K

Credit:

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods

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