Phil “Baits” Tiger Into Making $200k Bet

While the buildup and hype machines have been working overtime in the weeks and months previous, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were together for the first time since the Ryder Cup on Tuesday in Las Vegas to meet with the assembled media, share some thoughts on The Match and even begin making side bets.

For more than 40 minutes, Tiger and Phil joined Bleacher Report host Adam Lefkoe on stage at Shadow Creek Golf Course, but the highlight of the press junket came about 15 minutes into the Q&A. 

Lefkoe asked both competitors about their strategy as it pertains to the side bets; were there spots on the course they’ve already designated for wagers or will it be more of an impulsive feel?

Woods answered first saying that he would be more of a feel bettor, taking advantage of situations that he felt would ratchet up the heat on Mickelson. Phil, on the other hand, said he has already picked a few spots, including the very first hole. 

“So I’ve thought a lot about this. There are spots out on the course that are some great spots for a little challenge and the challenges are coming directly out of our pockets, okay?” Mickelson said. “And I feel like the first hole is a great hole for me. And I believe, in fact, I’m willing to risk $100,000 that says I birdie the first hole. So 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 — but I’m going to throw that out there.”

Woods took stock of the hole in his mind before responding. “So you think you can make birdie on the first hole?” he asked.

“I know I’m going to make birdie on the first hole,” Mickelson responded.

“Double it,” Woods said.

Whether or not Mickelson saw the rebuttal coming, after the initial response, he went directly into showman mode, turning to the assembled media and saying, “Did you see how I baited him like that? Yes!”

Phil accepted the bet, which allowed Tiger to launch into the various reasons why Phil wouldn’t birdie the first, which included the issue of a water hazard down the left side of the fairway as well as a big tree on the right that would block him out, negating any spin he would normally like impart upon the ball. 

The rest of the press tour went off without a hitch and included a few needles among the meeting of the mutual admiration society in which the two players praised one another for their skill and stature in the game.

The full broadcast of the press conference can be seen here. The press conference begins at the 11:30 mark of the video.

The Match will take place on Friday, with a pregame show beginning at 2 p.m. EST with balls in the air at 3 p.m. You can order the pay-per-view through Bleacher Report’s B/R Live or anywhere else PPV viewing is available.