An Inside Look At Phil’s Northern Trust Tuesday Money Match

It all started with an outgoing Tour pro bored on a long flight and ended with an inside look at one of the most talked-about secrets on the PGA Tour.

“Have some time left on a long flight and I’m bored. Let’s do a little Q&A. Ask away in the comments and I’ll let it rip,” Harry Higgs tweeted after missing the cut at the 3M Open at the end of July. ‘

A question came in about Higgs participating in The Match series, the made-for-TV-exhibitions headed up by Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. In a sense, Higgs threw down the gauntlet.

Naturally, Mickelson responded that he was game for money match, and the planning began. Mickelson invited Higgs out to play on Tuesday of WGC-St. Jude Invitational, but there was one problem: Higgs hadn’t qualified for the limited-field event. 

Instead, the date was set for Tuesday of The Northern Trust, this week’s first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

“Of course, I knew he wasn’t in Memphis,” Mickelson said on Tuesday. “I wouldn’t be dropping those lines if I didn’t know. It’s like a lawyer, you don’t ask a question you don’t already know the answer to.”

The teams were set: Higgs and Keith Mitchell vs. Mickelson and Joel Dahmen; the stakes: unknown, but expected to be high.

As the match neared, the trash talk continued and rolled over onto the first tee where Phil fired an opening salvo by identifying his ball with his personal logo, made famous by his first of six major championship victories.

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“I’m hitting a Callaway with a jumping me on it,” Mickelson said. “It’s from when I won the Masters. What are you guys using?”

From there, it was on with Mickelson providing a hole-by-hole running commentary.

“So, we lost 1.5 of the original bet,” Higgs said after the match. “It stung because it has to go from my pocket to someone else’s pocket, but it was reasonable. I ran my big mouth and a Hall of Famer put me in my place,”

“We had the outcome we were all expecting and we were hoping for,” Mickelson said. “The key was to win in a way that’s not so dominant that they believe they can’t win and they come back for more and I think they are. They actually want more.”

No rematch is scheduled… yet, but from the sounds of things — and the fervor with which the match was followed on social media — a Higgs/Mickelson made-for-TV match could generate some eyeballs.