Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on The Match

In part one of this interview, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson talk about their upcoming duel in the deserts of Las Vegas called The Match with Hines Ward.

Posted: Nov 23, 2018 11:04 AM
Updated: Nov 23, 2018 11:04 AM

The side bets, the trash talking, and plans for a celebratory "worm" dance are in full swing as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson gear up for their much-hyped $9 million duel in the desert.

The two old foes, now good friends, will clash Friday in an 18-hole head-to-head, dubbed "The Match," at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, Nevada.

And the pair, who have 19 majors between them, have already upped the ante by wagering a separate $200,000 out of their own pockets -- to benefit each other's chosen charities -- on whether Mickelson will birdie the first hole.

"The tough thing was getting him to bite," said Mickelson, who first proposed a $100,000 bet, talking to CNN World Sport's Hines Ward in Las Vegas.

"Not only did he take it, he doubled it. He doubled it, are you kidding me? That's awesome. I can't believe it."

Woods, who won the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship in September for his first victory in five years, said the challenges would be "escalating."

"We're trying to get in each other's heads," added the 42-year-old.

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READ: How the world reacted to Woods' comeback victory

'Bragging rights'

Former world No.1 Woods has always had the upper hand over his compatriot throughout their illustrious careers, and had won eight of his 14 majors before Mickelson clinched his first in 2004.

Woods has 80 PGA Tour wins -- the second highest of all time -- to Mickelson's 43, and is widely expected to prevail at Shadow Creek after his remarkable return to form.

An impressive comeback season culminated in the Tour Championship win following a fourth major back surgery in April 2017.

Mickelson staged a renaissance of his own this year with a first win since his British Open triumph in 2013, and is adamant he can take down his former nemesis.

"The bragging rights that will go on for months and years after this will be just as valuable [as money]," said Mickelson. "Because if I'm able to come out on top I am the worst guy to lose to. I'll find a way to make sure you never forget."

"He's that guy," said Woods.

"That makes me a fun guy to beat," fired back Mickelson.

'Smack talk'

The two players will wear microphones for the match, meaning those stumping up the $19.99 to watch on pay-per-view in the US will be able to hear their interactions on the course.

"You know Tiger is an underrated smack talker," said Mickelson, 48. "He doesn't get the credit for his smack talk because he does it so understated and he does it under his breath so nobody else can hear other than you.

"That funny side of him is going to come out."

READ: Cheyenne Woods on being Tiger's niece

The pair were known to have a frosty relationship in their competitive heyday, but involvement in the US Ryder Cup task force, Presidents Cups and Mickelson's support through Woods' injuries have bonded them in recent years.

At a news conference in Las Vegas to promote "The Match," they stood face to face like boxers before a prize fight but dissolved into giggles seconds later.

With both players having tasted success again this year, Mickelson predicted a "phenomenal" 2019. When asked who will win the next major between them, the left hander pointed to the next major on the calendar, the Masters in April.

"It's at Augusta, we've both had success there," he laughed.

Woods, a four-time Masters champion, added: "I mean, there's seven coats [green jackets] between us.

"But I have more."

"You see the subtlety?" said Mickelson. "He pays a compliment and then he throws a dig."

If he wins, Mickelson is already planning a repeat of his "worm" dance routine that lit up social media earlier this season in an advert for his clothing sponsor.

"It's very possible that I might do the worm across the green," he said. "I'm not sure how it's all going to play out because I don't want to rub it in too early but that could come out."

Woods said he was safe given Mickelson vowed only to perform it if he wins, but he admits he is under "pressure" to come out on top to avoid seeing the worm.

"How he responds to that pressure. That's the real question," said Mickelson.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
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Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
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Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
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Union602894
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Alcorn5669101
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George496879
Scott472898
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Simpson4446116
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Wayne439772
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Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
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Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
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Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
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