One of the tentpoles of The Match, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson’s winner-take-all (not-so) pay-per-view event, was supposed to be the plethora of side action and in-round betting between the two superstars.
“We’re going to have multiple side challenges that are going to be in the six to seven figures that will be coming out of our own pockets,” Mickelson said at The Match press conference on Tuesday of last week. “This event needs to be for a number that makes us nervous and makes us uncomfortable, and it definitely is. Because of that, I think both the nine million that we’re playing for along with the hundreds of thousands and ultimately a million or two that we’re playing for in side challenges throughout the match, I think it’s enough for us both to feel uncomfortable and to feel the pressure.”
However, a report from GolfChannel.com’s Rex Hoggard states that those “challenges” were limited by the PGA Tour.
“Sources close to the event said the Tour limited the number of challenges between Woods and Mickelson,” Hoggard wrote. “In the end, the side action totaled $800,000 and went to various charities.”
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) November 25, 2018
With The Match being a PGA Tour-coordinated event, the Tour’s gambling rules were loosely applied to the $9 million head-to-head matchup. Tour policy states that players are not allowed to “gamble or play cards on the premises where a PGA Tour cosponsored or coordinated tournament is being played.”
Yet, a Tour spokesman told Hoggard that the side challenges were not considered “bets” because the proceeds of said challenges went to the respective players’ charities.
The restrictions resulted in only five side challenges being made. Woods won $200,000 when Mickelson missed a birdie putt on the opening hole, but Phil made his money back and then some by repeatedly hitting inside Woods on closest to the pin challenges on the par-3s.