Well, the HBO 24/7 came out for “The Match” as it’s being billed. It was underwhelming at best. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every second of it, but when I see a Liev Schreiber narrated special or series, I expect to blown away. I guess it appeals to a casual golf fan who may be on the fence about buying the $19.99 pay per view.
It opened up with a scene of Tiger playing in Hobe Sound, FL with his crew, and he was talking through hypothetical side bets with Phil, which was weird because he wasn’t practicing at Shadow Creek in Vegas where the match will be held, but on some course in Florida that I’ll definitely never be rich enough to play. Apparently all of the side bets made on the course will be donated to charity. Tiger hits a 185 yard tee shot and loses the imaginary $1000 closest to the pin bet because his shot landed just off the green.
They did a few back and forth interviews with Tiger and Phil and it was mostly just recapping why they’re both important to the game. It wasn’t particularly informative and a lot of the anecdotes were pretty lame. Phil brings up how he made Tiger jealous by making it known that he ate dinner with Tony Romo, who was Tiger’s playing partner at the Pebble Beach Pro Am. That’s the best we can get? We’re talking about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson here. Tiger has fucked more broads than a bill striking down Roe V. Wade and he was arrested while looking like a zombie with a bloodstream full of drugs that would make Amy Winehouse blush. The entire world has seen both his dick and Lindsay Vonn’s asshole thanks to an iCloud leak from his phone. Phil is a well known degenerate who has been said to move millions in bets and was named in a fucking insider trading case. Considering the kind of horsepower these guys have, a story about eating dinner with Tony Romo is the best we get?
The best part about 24/7, Hard Knocks, and shows like that is the side stuff that you would never know unless HBO gave us an inside look. It’s how we know that William Hayes doesn’t believe in dinosaurs. It’s how we know Antonio Cromartie doesn’t know all of his kids names. We really got none of that from Tiger or Phil.
Apparently the golfers and caddies will all be mic’ed up during the match, which is awesome, and one of the spiciest moments of the episode came when Phil said, “will there be swearing? Shit, yeah.” Hilarious moment because it just came across so forced. I’ve heard these guys swear in ways that are colorful enough to paint the Sistine Chapel, but this was so corny, it hurt.
By no means did this change how excited I am for “the match.” For those who don’t remember, this event is sort of a callback to the Thanksgiving skins games that were played from 1983-2008. It used to be a 4-man event and usually featured Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and other legends of the game. I love that it’s being played for $9 million. It’s an incredibly cocky number. They couldn’t round up to the $10 million and they didn’t want to play for a piddly $1 million, just a weird number that feels like you held in a sneeze.
The 24/7 did a great job of managing my expectations. I’d love to see some insane displays of opulence and degenerate behavior. Picture Phil walking out like Kenny Powers in a bedazzled Mizzen+Main shirt, already 4 gin and tonics deep while Amy Mickelson cheers him on in her old Lakers girl outfit. Then Tiger comes out with his goatee ripping and tells Phil to smell his fingers. I’m painfully aware that’s not going to happen, but at $19.99, this is a pay-per-view that will surely be worth it.