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November 20, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
ADAM LEFKOE: Welcome to beautiful Shadow Creek. My name is Adam Lefkoe; I am with Bleacher Report, and of course the Turner family, and I'm thrilled to be hosting this press conference for Capital One's The Match. Going to be very honest with you, I'm a little bit more excited for Friday. November 23rd, you know the time: noon local, 3:00 eastern. I'm going to be hosting the pre-game show that starts at 11:00 local, 2:00 eastern. That is myself, Pat Perez, Charles Barkley, and Samuel L. Jackson. It is going to be awesome.
The main reason it's going to be special, the two golf icons, the reasons we're here today. Historic match; 19 major championships between them; $200 million plus earned, and I only need to say their first names, you know how special this is. It's Tiger and it's Phil. It's a first-of-its-kind pay-pre-view event, match play format, $9 million; winner take all.
But if you know Tiger, and you definitely know Phil, the side action is going to be flowing. Granted, it's going to charity, but that pride cannot be taken back. Both golfers are going to be mic'd. Both caddies are going to be mic'd. When it comes to broadcast production, you're going to see things for the first time in golf that you've never seen happen before. I really want you to hear this from Tiger and Phil, and you're going to hear them in just a second.
First, I would like to turn it over to the main man, the super stud, David Levy, the president of Turner, for some opening remarks.
DAVID LEVY: I don't think I've ever been called a stud before, let alone super stud. Thanks, Adam. Thanksgiving in Las Vegas. That's always been on my Bucket List, and now I can check this one off. At Turner and across all Warner Media, we're thankful to be a part of this event between these two icons. I am sure all of us can't wait for them to tee it off this Friday.
An event of this nature does not happen without a number of key stakeholders, and on behalf of my colleagues, I want it acknowledge and thank you a few individuals. It took a tremendous amount of vision, collaboration, and creativity to make this historic match a reality.
So first I would like to thank Mark Steinberg and the entire XL Sports Management team. Steve Lao and everyone at Lagard√É¬®re Sports; Jay Monahan, the PGA TOUR commissioner; Monty Montgomery, our MGM partner; and all our friends at CAA; of course, John Stankey, Warner Media CEO, as well as all of my colleagues that helped put this together at the Warner Media family.
In addition, I would like to acknowledge my Turner sports team who are away from their families this week to help bring this event to life. They really truly are the best in the business. This event has captured the imagination and interest of so many. I would also like to thank our title sponsor, Capital One, and our associates and sponsors Audi and AT&T.
Okay, Tiger and Phil. Need I say more? We all know the history between these two champions and also the competitive flair they both have, and that's why we believe in this event will be one for the ages.
It's also the very reason Turner and Warner Media wanted to be a part of the match. This event is a first of its kind, worldwide distribution agreement for Turner and the newly formed Warner Media. It will be offered live on pay-per-view this Friday, coming from outlets Turner BR Live, AT&T DIRECTV, and AT&T Universe, as well as a number of other cable, satellite, and tel-co companies.
Before we bring out or two competitors, let's take a look at our two great champions.
(Video shown. )
DAVID LEVY: Everyone, it's my pleaser to introduce two golfers that combined have 19 majors between the two of them. Ladies and gentlemen, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. (Applause.) (Photo opportunity.)
ADAM LEFKOE: How you guys doing? I heard about you guys a lot recently. Welcoming. Tiger, Phil, I'm just curious. I am going to start you guys off here. How did we get to this moment? Either of you want to take the credit? How did we get to this spectacle?
PHIL MICKELSON: I guess it was some conversations that took place right after I won Mexico. The very following week, he likes to show me up in everything eh does, and he's out leading at Valspar, and the conversation kind of took it there.
We were originally going to partner up. I know that we wanted to and would like to have a chance to partner up again in the Ryder Cup and show that we can play well together. There was of maybe doing that and having a partnership with some younger guys.
When it was brought or talked about amongst Levy and some of the television guys, they really wanted us to go head and head, which I always enjoy going head to head. I haven't had great success, but I always enjoy it. It kind of took off from there.
ADAM LEFKOE: The rivalry I think is what's so special. It's not just that you're both so accomplished and great, there is a history of it.
Can you reflect on the rivalry and what it's meant to each of you over the years?
TIGER WOODS: Well, we've gone at it for over two decades. We've had our moments where either it's been in regular tour events or major championships, World Golf Championships, we've gone toe to toe with each other. I've always enjoyed knowing the fact that I was going against Phil over these years, because I knew that he was going to be tough. He's going to pull off shots that no one has ever seen before. I would have to somehow figure out a way to somehow get the job done.
I've always enjoyed it through the years. I know it's been a little bit jaded towards my side, so hence I'm really liking it. Over the years it's really been a lot of fun for me.
PHIL MICKELSON: Tiger is six years younger than I am, even though he doesn't look it. (Laughter.) He would come along and always break every little record. So I might have had some junior records throughout Southern California; he would come along and break those. I would go to college, have a nice record there. He would come along and win those. I win a U.S. Amateur; he wins three.
Shadow Creek I shot the course record in '92 or '93; shot 61. He comes a long few years later, breaks it at 60. Seemed to be a theme.
But Friday you got to do it simultaneously. You can't come long later, you know. It's my chance after losing so many majors to you and so many tournaments to get a little something back.
ADAM LEFKOE: What we witnessed this season, especially the TOUR Championship and that mob on 18, which was a sight, and I think we all felt that. It was nostalgic but also eye opening at the same time. To factor this into it, but also what you just experienced, the story of your career, where do you feel like you are right now? Can you put that into perspective for us?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you know, it was an amazing start to my career; the last couple years have been very difficult. Most people already know what I've gone through and been struggling physically.
To finally piece it together and give myself a chance to win at the TOUR Championship and to feel that I held off two of the best players in the world, to be able to do that when I hadn't done it for five plus years, to do it like that and to do it in basically my last stroke play event of the season, it just meant a lot.
This whole year has been trending towards that. Phil was alluding to earlier that he had won in Mexico, and then Tampa, all of a sudden here I am with a chance to win. I finished second, but if I look back on it now in hindsight, I just think it would have been probably too soon to win.
Now to have put it together and have won the TOUR Championship, it just ended the season perfectly.
ADAM LEFKOE: Phil, I think the thing that excited me the most about the 24/7 is you're an under competitor, and every time I see you be interviewed you talk about you hate loosing. I can see how intense you're taking this. I know that they prepared Shadow Creek for you and you played a round. Do you feel like you have a leg up? Do you feel like you might know this course better than Tiger in a way?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that this is has been a very good thing for me, this match, because the last month when I was -- as I shut things down, I'd been grinding, working out every day, working on my game every day, this has been a great thing in the off-season going into next year.
But to keep my game sharp and to have a unique opportunity to do something that I've had a hard time doing in my career, which is get a leg up on Tiger in anything, even if's a one-day event like this. To have the opportunity to go head to head and to win is just -- it's great to win the nine million. I just don't want to lose to him and give him the satisfaction, because the bragging rights are what's going to be even worse than the money.
Every time I see you, you know, I want to be able to rub it in. I don't want it to be rubbed in. I wanted to sit is the champion's locker room in Augusta and talk smack. I want that.
TIGER WOODS: As opposed to?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well...
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. (Laughter.)
ADAM LEFKOE: I was going to say I wonder what the rent was. Tiger says he's been living in your head for two decades. I wasn't sure if that was affordable or...
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, there is a lot of empty space up there. You know, there has been moments though. I mean, there has been moments like -- and granted I'm going to be stretching here, but like the 2012 AT&T where I ended up shooting 64 to your 75. There have been some moments. I like to dwell on those.
I know you're going to bring up big picture. I get that. I know you're going to bring up Masters and things like that. I have to pick where -- my spots. I've got to be careful.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hear you. U.S. Opens.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, those too. So have fun. But Friday is my chance to have some fun.
ADAM LEFKOE: We've heard about Phil's preparation. Curious, Tiger, what has your preparation been?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, after the Ryder Cup I shut it down for about three, four weeks and started to basically work on my body and try to get it stronger again. I've gotten it to that point. I started back practicing, playing, and started to grind and getting into golf again.
I was really looking forward to the break, but I'm really looking forward to getting back to playing again. I missed competing, and to be able to go against Phil like this gets my juices flowing for sure.
ADAM LEFKOE: When we all watch golf on television, we live for the moments where the mic picks up something you say. Now that you're both going to be mic'd up and the caddies are going to be mic'd up, what are we going to hear? What are we going to gain from this experience?
TIGER WOODS: I think for me it's the player interaction, but also more the caddie-player interaction that the fans normally aren't privy to. There are a lot of things like Joey and I talk about going from green to -- sorry, from tee box to the fairway, where the flag is, what am I thinking about as far as leaving it.
We start roaming through situations like that, and we do that all the time. It's something that I think the fans are going to enjoy. The little snide things that for me -- the people who know me, who have played against me and have gotten to know me and played a lot of rounds with me, the little snide comments I make under my breath where...
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah. I know those.
TIGER WOODS: Either over the ball or just in earshot so only the player would know. I think those are the things they're going to enjoy.
PHIL MICKELSON: With you being mic'd too, because yours is very quiet kind of under your breath, understated little jabs. The fact that you're going to be mic'd, you won't miss those as a viewer.
I think the cutaways where normal telecasts cuts us away to commercials, I think that's really the advantage that we have. By getting rid of the commercials and putting it on pay-per-view the fans get to see and experience something they never get to see and experience, which is those conversations you're talking about with the player and the caddie, with each player walking down the fairway, some of the challenges that we might have on the course.
It's like a Tuesday practice round for a significant stake that makes us uncomfortable, but with the same type of banter that we're used to that most fans aren't privy to. I think most people back home -- I think the FOMO is real. The fear of missing out is real. They're going to be missing out on a lot that they're missing in a regular telecast, and this is the only chance, and it's a unique chance to experience it.
ADAM LEFKOE: The side actions are the other aspect I think I am very excited about, because when I think of Phil Mickelson, I can on imagine playing a round with you and what you're going to lay down, the action is just going to throw me off my game. How strategic have you been in plotting what you're going to do with Tiger? And I'm curious, Tiger, are you having these side actions ready to go for this event?
TIGER WOODS: For me, I have a couple in which I know that I'll probably place in spots, but I think it's also the ebb and flow and how the match goes. If Phil is in a situation which I feel like he needs to feel a little bit more heat or he needs -- I can make him a little bit uncomfortable, make him think about what I just said, yeah, I'll drop one on him.
I think that is going to be the fun par, trying to figure out where I can gain an advantage either through strategy or just timing.
PHIL MICKELSON: So I've thought a lot about this, and there are spots out on the course that are some great spots for a little challenge. The challenges are coming directly out of our pockets, okay? I feel like 1st hole is a great hole for me. In fact, I'm willing to risk $100,000 to say I birdie the 1st hole. That's how good I feel heading into this match. You don't have to take it. You don't have to take it at all.
TIGER WOODS: No. Hold on, hold on.
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm going to throw that out there.
TIGER WOODS: So you think you can make birdie on the 1st hole?
PHIL MICKELSON: I know I'm going to make birdies on the 1st hole.
TIGER WOODS: Double it.
PHIL MICKELSON: Did you see how I baited him like that? Yes! Yes! 200 says I birdie the 1st hole.
TIGER WOODS: All right. There is water down the left. He likes to lose his golf balls to the left. It's that little flair out that he hits.
PHIL MICKELSON: See, here is what you're missing.
TIGER WOODS: These are things he hasn't really though about.
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm going to hit a 2-iron in the fairway, and I'm a great short iron player. In fact, one the best.
TIGER WOODS: If I hits his 2-iron hot, which he sometimes does, it right and hot and he'll be up against that tree and he's blocked out, so he can't spin the ball coming into that flag. Yeah.
PHIL MICKELSON: And that's how I was able to bait you. (Laughter.) Yeah, 1st hole. $200,000 I birdie.
TIGER WOODS: Done.
ADAM LEFKOE: So that's official. $200,000 1st hole birdie. Wow.
PHIL MICKELSON: Part of it is strategic though, because you've got to get them to accept it. You see how I subtly slid that in. I didn't know how I was going to do that, but I think I found the way.
ADAM LEFKOE: Congratulations.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you.
ADAM LEFKOE: The perfect time to turn the questions over to you guys. I am going to turn it over to John Bush of the PGA. He's going to facilitate questions.
JOHN BUSH: We'll take some questions.
Q. I would like both your comments on the odds established by the local sports books for this. Tiger is basically 2-1 favorite.
TIGER WOODS: As it should be.
Q. How do you feel about that?
TIGER WOODS: I'm sorry. What are you saying? (Laughter.)
Q. How do you feel about the odds and how accurate they may be?
TIGER WOODS: I think they're about right.
PHIL MICKELSON: So strategically what happens her in Vegas, and I don't need to tell you, is the smart money tries to fudge the line and then they load up. Now that it's right where they want it, the line will come significantly down.
Q. Question for both Phil and Tiger. Can you assure everybody that's going to be watching on Friday that the loser of this match will not receive one dollar of the $9 million, and this money is not going to be shared upon the two of you in any way, shape, or form?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. That's how it is originally scripted and that's how we've done the deal.
PHIL MICKELSON: If I win though I might give him a few grand because he's earned it. That's just me. I'm like that.
Anyway, go ahead. (Laughter.)
Q. Your relationship has evolved substantially over the years. As you sit there now today, what's one thing that both of you admire about each other most and the one thing that really annoys you most about each other?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the one for me, the thing I've always admired about Phil is just the way he's able to compete and pull off shots that nobody would be is willing to take without hesitation. The shot that he played at -- we all know the shot he played at 13 from Augusta from the pine straw. I've seen so many of those shots in person. I've been there with him when he's tried to pull them off and he's pulled them off. He does things like that.
Over the years what's annoyed me most is losing to him.
Q. Phil, you mentioned talking trash to Tiger back in the day. What do you remember about that practice round from '98 where you reportedly won a few hundred bucks off Tiger and left a photocopy of the hundred dollar bill in his locker?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's the only time in the last 20 years that I seem to have won in those matches. It's been very rare. I've had to capitalize and take advantage of those moments.
It's been an incredible opportunity for me to play my career against him, but also been incredibly difficult. I oftentimes wonder what my career would be had he not come along, and I think it could go either way. He's brought out the best of me at times, and it's also been very intimidating and difficult to compete against his level of play.
That practice round was three or four holes. It wasn't a full round. I got lucky. I'm not the best guy to lose to. I tend to kind of rub it in and so forth. Friday, if and when I win, I will continue to rub it in a lot worse than I did in '98. A lot worse. And I'll take it if I don't.
TIGER WOODS: I know you do, trust me.
PHIL MICKELSON: I know. I know. Yeah.
Q. For both Tiger and Phil, there has been so many great spectacles in Las Vegas over the years. This is a unusual unique sports spectacles. Where would this rank in your minds and, how was Shadow Creek picked to host this deal?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know how we would compare to those. In golf you tend to play this typical stroke play, 150 guys you play the course. This is totally different. This has the element of the match play, of head to head, so there is this bigger amount of pressure or intensity between the two because it's a direct conflict.
Whereas on a stroke play event you go out and randomly play the course and try not to play against your opponent so much. This is the exact opposite. This is me versus him, winner take all, and it's got a very unique, special feel that golf very rarely has ever had, if ever.
So I don't know how it compares to those other sports. In golf it's unique and different.
TIGER WOODS: Agreed. This is very different than anything golf has ever done in the past. That's one of the unique things about it. We're able to showcase our sport in such a different light and all the different technologies we're going to be bringing to this event, and doing it differently than any other golfing event has ever been done. That's the exciting thing for not only myself and Phil, but I think for all the viewers that are going to watch.
Q. This is already a unique event and a unique venue. You guys are already having some fun. Is there a chance that this could become an annual things in other great golf courses around the world?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm hopeful that it's received well. I'm hopeful that we provide a glimpse into the future of what sports watching is all about. I'm hoping with our partnership with TNT and Bleacher Report that we're having on -- and MGM -- having on-screen live odds with the potential for viewer to be able to wager, with the opportunity to hear banter and being mic'd.
We're hopeful that this provides an insight into the sport that is a glimpse into the future where people want more. If that happens, great. We very well could have some more. If people don't like it or want it, then it's probably a one and done. I think it's a unique, special opportunity to see sides of athletes and sports performance you've been craving as a viewer and haven't had a chance to see. I think it's going to be well received.
Q. This is for both of you. Hypothetically after Friday is all said and done and you guys both decided to throw in the towel and never play competitively again, what would you say would be Phil's legacy to the game, and Phil what would you say would be Tiger's legacy for the game?
PHIL MICKELSON: Mine is easy: Greatest of all-time. That's an easy one for me. I've seen him do things with a golf ball that's never been done. The performance in the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach is the single greatest performance in the history of the game golf, and possibly all of sports.
He continued to play at that level for a number of years. The greatest of all-time is an easy slogan for me with Tiger.
TIGER WOODS: For me he's one of the greatest players that ever picked up a golf club. To go against him for all these years and see what he's done, he's done it for so long. He's been at the elite level for such a long period of time. There is no-fall offs with Phil's game. The fact that he's able to win so many golf tournaments for over two decades is a testament to how good he really is.
We all know when we play sports there is going to come a point in time -- I'm unfortunately a living example of this -- is that you're going to have injuries and moments where you can't play. You can't tee it up. For me, you can't tee is up, you can't compete.
Well, Phil hasn't done that. He's been consistent. He's been at the elite level for over two decades. That doesn't happen overnight. That doesn't happen very often. But for me, I've been bearing witness to all of this, and it's just amazing in how good and consistent he's been for such a long period of time.
PHIL MICKELSON: Can we just take a moment and appreciate what a nice thing you just said about me? (Laughter.) I don't ever remember you saying such a nice thing. Thank you.
TIGER WOODS: He said if that was the last round of golf we ever played.
PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, yeah. Just going to enjoy that moment. Did anybody get that on film? I would like this sent to me if that's all right.
Q. Kind of on the heels of that, Phil, you talked about on the HBO special how it took you a little while to get accustomed to Tiger when he exploded on the scene 20+ years ago, but then were able to realize what he meant for you and other golfers. What do you think you meant during your career to other golfers? And Tiger, what do you think Phil's game meant to others?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know. That is hard for me to answer as far as what I've done. I just know in 1997 when Tiger came along, won the Masters, he turned pro in '96, and the game took on a whole different meteoric rise. The purses started to climb and the TV ratings started to climb and the golf was on the front page of the USA Today. It was a whole different revelation for the sport on what he's done.
I never imagined when I first started playing that golf would get to this level of relevancy in the world of sports and be so well-known and have the athletes be so well-known. I still, as I look back, can't believe what's happened with him coming along. It was noticeable when he was away for a few years and he comes back and plays so well this year at the British Open, the PGA Championship, and finally winning the TOUR Championship.
You saw the reaction. He brings out an emotion in people that this sport craves, and we very appreciative of that.
Q. For both of you, Phil, knowing your Arizona State days, you mentioned during the HBO special that while you don't dance very much, you may bust out a certain dance move if you do emerge victorious over Tiger. For you, Tiger, how willing are you to accept that, or have you been practicing any sort of special celebration?
TIGER WOODS: Have you not seen what I'm -- I'm not dancing. There is no chance. That's not the happening.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's intimidating with a guy with my moves. I understand that.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, but I would love to see him do anything.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah. The possibility of me doing the worm, it's possible. It's improbably, but possible.
TIGER WOODS: Wow. (Smiling.) Really need to play well.
Q. For both of you, this is obviously a competition between the two of you, but it's also a business venture, made possible perhaps by your developing relationship over the years. Do you see any future business endeavors between the two of you, any partnerships in the future you could maybe let us in on?
PHIL MICKELSON: We haven't gotten that far yet. It's fun and games right now. On Friday if it's going to be pretty intense. Friday we're going to -- we will have banter, but the intensity is going to be up a notch. It'll be major-championship intensity, and we haven't quite gotten to the further endeavors.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, as Phil just said, we are focusing on what we're doing here for The Match, but who knows what the future holds? If you would've asked us ten years ago if we would be in this position I think we both would've given a different answer than we're sitting here right in front of you.
Who knows what the future holds for us with our two different accumens for business and what we like and don't like. You never know.
Q. I know it's match play, but I guess a two-part question. What number do you think you're going to have to put up to win this thing, and how many birdies do you think you'll have to make in order to win this match?
TIGER WOODS: I think there is going to be a significant amount of birdies the way the golf course is going to be set up. We're not playing all the tees all the way back. A few up tees, and I think the pins will be in not brutal spots. They'll be on the more accessible side.
So, yes, there is going to have to be birdies made in order to win holes and to be able to win the match. How many under? I don't know what that's going to be because a lot of it is so dependant on -- you can get the golf course set up a certain way, but if you just get a little bit of breeze through here it changes things dramatically.
So under normal conditions like today right now, looking at probably 6-, 7-, 8-, 9-under par winning The Match. Soon as the wind picks up that all changes, and we'll see what happens.
Q. For both of you, we know golf courses around the country, around the world you guys have played in, this venue being very special here in Vegas. For people outside of Las Vegas who don't know Shadow Creek, can you describe what this golf course is like and what the viewers are going to see coming up on Friday?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's one the most unique places if all of golf, right?
PHIL MICKELSON: It is.
TIGER WOODS: To go from a flat piece of property in a flat desert to creating something that you would find in the Carolinas, out in the mountains, I think it's just phenomenal. To be able to create something so utopian like this is a testament to the ownership and what their vision was for this property, and what they've done is just incredible.
PHIL MICKELSON: Utopian, huh? That's that Stanford education. I went to Arizona State, stated so I'm going to simplify it. I think it's beautiful. (Laughter.)
What he's done on this property is spectacular. This course has always rated one of the highest in the world. It's a perfect spot for us. We were able to bring this event to Las Vegas is play it on a world-class golf course. The score will be relevant to conditions and wind and temperature, but I think we both have it in mind that this is a sprint and not a marathon. We're not playing four days; we're playing one. We've got to come out and fire. There is a lot of risk/reward here, a lot of water, a lot of trouble, but there is also a lot of the birdies opportunities.
I think the person that wins is probably going to shoot 7- or 8-under par, but could very well be a lot less based on the conditions.
Q. Did you guys have any input on course setup, and was there any thought to having it called The Match: Phil versus Tiger?
PHIL MICKELSON: That was my first loss. I'm trying to get it back even one-on-one on Friday.
TIGER WOODS: Good one. Very good.
PHIL MICKELSON: We haven't had much input per se on the set p. We want it to be fair for both sides. Whatever the TOUR came up with is great. We are knowledgeable on where the pins are going to be, so that when we practicing we're not wasting our time on the entire golf course. There is only one round, so we have a general idea of where the pins are going to be and where the tees are going to be so that when we practice we're not wasting our time.
Q. You've a attained a high level excellence during your career and maintained it. How do you define the word excellence, and how did you stay motivated to keep there, and, Tiger, get back to it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think he's referring to you because he said excellent.
TIGER WOODS: Well, for me I think excellence is winning. I have done it since, what, '96? Phil has done it since what, '94? No, '92.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, '91.
TIGER WOODS: '91 in Tucson. So to me, that's excellence right there. '91 to 2018 and to be able to have won, that's excellent. That's doing it at a high level for a long period of time.
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm just going to add on Tiger's deal too, on his excellence. He's always played not to the competition but to his own excellence, and that's why he's won so many tournaments by multiple shots, whether it was the Open by 15 or other events by 7 or 8.
The only tournament that compared for me was the Bell South, and that wasn't a major where I won by 13. Those type of moments though, you've done throughout your entire career where you don't worry about -- yeah, it's winning, but you're not playing against the other players. You're playing to your own level of excellence, and you have throughout your career.
So I just felt like after the nice things he said about me I wanted it add that.
Q. (No microphone.)
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. Thank you. I think just playing to your own personal best and bringing out the best in yourself. I think I that is why I'm appreciative of playing in the Tiger Woods era, is because he helped push me to become my best. I started working out with a trainer to elongate my career. Just started working a little bit differently, more efficiently. I think he's brought out the best in me because of my hatred to lose more than even wanting to win. He forced me to work harder.
So playing to, again, my own personal level of excellence throughout my career.
Q. Wouldn't this match be a lot more fun if the nine million was coming out of your pockets?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, we're going to have multiple side challenges that are going to be in to the six to seven figures that will be coming out of our own pockets. Some of that's is very much true.
But this event needs to be for a number that makes us nervous and makes us uncomfortable, and it definitely is. Because of that, I think both the nine million that we're playing for long with the hundreds of thousands and ultimately a million or two that we're playing for in side challenges throughout the match, I think it's enough for us both to feel, be uncomfortable and to feel the pressure.
Q. Would you still doing it if it was coming out of your pockets?
TIGER WOODS: Well there is 200 right on the 1st hole. (Laughter.)
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I mean. I don't I think he caught the first part of that.
TIGER WOODS: No.
Q. Speaking of the nine million, I've had a lot of listeners call in, and they are of the opinion that this thing is more about the money than the game. More about the money than growing the game. What do you say to that?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, this event is designed to be a unique experience for a golf viewer, and to have an insight into what goes on with the players to create a production from drone coverage to on-screen gambling to live mics and interaction.
It's an insight into the game that you're not normally able to see. That's why we've chosen each decision. It's why it's on pay-per-view. We had to eliminate the commercials to have that insight in between shots.
It's why we wanted to -- we had to create the pressure and the tension of a huge event, and we don't have the history of the Masters or major championships, which is why the number had to be so high. That creates an uncomfortable environment for us. Creates pressure.
So when you put all those things together, we've created an experience for the viewer at home that will be totally unique and different. Hopefully your viewers will start to understand and appreciate that and appreciate what we're trying to do for them.
But, look, it's not for everybody. If you feel like you're missing out, you probably are. It's going to be something different that you haven't had before.
Q. Phil, I host a show called Pushing the Odds, which talks a lot about sports gambling. You're clearly aware of what's going to be happening on the screen. From your standpoint, golf and gambling has gone hand in for hand many, many years before we saw the explosion of sports gambling here over the last two years. What's your opinion of the growth of sports gambling with golf being a major focal point?
PHIL MICKELSON: So we won't be aware of what's on the screen and what the live odds are and so forth. We're just going to be doing our challenges amongst each other. I think the ability to have fantasy golf and to have live, real time wagering will only benefit the interest in the game of golf, much like it has in football and the other major sports.
This is a real plus I think for golf to capture a lot of viewerships and a lot of interest that we haven't been able to capture before.
ADAM LEFKOE: I am having people in the audience right now ask if like the great boxing matches, if you guys would faceoff? This can be declined. I'm just saying. $200,000 on the 1st hole.
TIGER WOODS: Want to?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah.
ADAM LEFKOE: Friday, 3:00 Eastern, noon local. These two are going toe to toe. Keep it straight. Keep it straight. The Match, 11:00 local; pre-game show noon local, 3:00 eastern they tee off. It's going down. Again, you can watch this on BR Live and anywhere you can purchase pay-per-view. Tiger woods, Phil Mickelson.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports