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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

The Match: Pointless yet Entertaining

The Match was the most pointless pay per view sports event I’ve ever watched. But here’s why it was worth the money.

Golf has never been at the top tier of professional sports viewing, often popular only for a niche group of sports fans that are only around when golf season is in full swing.

The Match, a nine million dollar head to head duel between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, offered golf fans an event that really held no value or importance, but was a promising attempt as to what the sport can become.

It’s already hard to convince sports fans to watch golf. With rounds lasting around four hours, it’s a rather dull sport unless you play it on a fairly regular basis. The Match simply is an attempt to liven up the sport with the help of two of the greatest to ever play.

The Tiger versus Phil rivalry has always been a shining light in the golf world, enthralling fans every time they happen to be paired together. The Match was essentially the same thing, but instead, they were playing for nine million dollars.

That being said, watching the two go back and forth, wagering thousands of dollars on particular shots that benefit charity, was widely entertaining even if you’re not a huge golf fan.

With the addition of mics strapped to Phil and Tiger as well as both of their caddies, listening to the banter between the two was something that needs to be implemented into real tournaments. It added a new layer to the sport that was enjoyable to listen to as it was educational and humorous.

With the ability to listen to what the golfers were saying, it added a layer of enjoyment that proved to provide helpful golf tips as well. For someone who often hacks their way through 18 holes of golf, hearing Tiger and his caddy discuss shot strategies together is something that could actually benefit mediocre golf players.

Despite the glamour and anticipation surrounding the event, it’s easy to glance over the poor logistics that were downplayed by the overall excitement. As enjoyable as it was to listen to everything Tiger, Phil, and co. were saying, the mics often captured too much.

On the 4th hole, for example, the mic attached to Phil picked up absolutely nothing but his heavy breathing as he walked towards the green, making him sound like an out of shape smoker as opposed to a five-time major champion. On top of that, the commentators often talked above the players, completely hindering the purpose of being mic’d up.

The event also proved to be deceitfully too simple, having fans pay $20 for the entire event. Add that to the fact that Bleacher Report lives website offered the event for free as opposed to paying for it on their app, and you have an event that barely qualifies as a pay per view, to begin with.

It begs the question of the legitimacy of the event in the first place and whether it really fits under the realm of golf as well as pay-per-view events.

What made the competition so great was that it didn’t have to meet any expectations or guidelines. It functioned as its own niche in the golf world, filling a gap in a sport that often only excites a very narrow audience. Despite news that this was a “once and a lifetime event,” it’s a new competition that could have immense potential in the future.

Imagine a full on tournament taking place over a handful of days. A rookie matchup like Bryson DeChambeau vs Rickie Fowler, or a legends matchup with John Daly vs Fred Couples.

Event organizers could take it even further: imagine Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, or Aaron Rodgers battling it out over 18 holes. Sports fans wouldn’t be able to reach their credit cards quick enough.

For the fans that did pay for the event, they got their money’s worth; the match took an extra four holes to decide the winner. Tiger flexed his muscles on the 18th with a 40-foot chip in to force the playoff, but it was eventually Mickelson who took the nine million dollar prize thanks to a clutch 12-foot putt.

Regardless of the winner, the event was always going to be destined for success, with both the players earning their fair share of the money and the fans getting an event that lived up to the hype. Despite its flaws, it livened up the sport of golf, hinting towards a new and more engaging future.

– Mikey

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