The Match with Tiger and Phil was a surreal experience with celebrity cast

The Match with Tiger and Phil was a surreal experience with celebrity cast

PGA Tour

The Match with Tiger and Phil was a surreal experience with celebrity cast

LAS VEGAS – The Match with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson was a made-for-TV spectacle. For those on property at Shadow Creek Golf Club, it was nothing short of surreal.

Yes, there were stunning on-course visuals – Mickelson beating Woods head-to-head from close up amid bright green grass and autumn leaves in the middle of the desert.

And it was a cool touch that people in attendance got to walk the fairways and surround each green.  It had a club championship feel to it in that sense. Difference being, this gallery included an amazing random assortment of athletes, celebrities and corporate partners.

Recognizable faces were popping up everywhere well before The Match teed off, at which point the crowd of roughly 1,000 were sipping cocktails and eating breakfast pastries near the first tee.

Actors Ben Stiller and Norm Macdonald were deep in conversation on the balcony off the pro shop. Former Chicago Cubs teammates Kris Bryant and Dexter Fowler were laughing together on the driving range.

Former NFL star Reggie Bush, LPGA icon Michelle Wie, golf personality Paige Spiranac and other celebs of varying recognizability were loving the action.

“I’m surprised they haven’t done this (before). This is super cool,” said Bryant, the Cubs’ all-star third baseman. “I’ve never been to a golf event in person before, so this will be super fun. I’ve played the course probably four times so I don’t want to say I know it but I recognize some of the holes.”

The booze was flowing all afternoon, accessible via stationary bars set up around property and employees delivering to the fairways with cart buckets full of beer. Spicy chicken sandwiches and margaritas were waiting for spectators at a pop-up table off the 12th green. Cigar smoke hung in the atmosphere and for those in attendance it felt like a huge outdoor cocktail party.

Wie and friends followed enthusiastically, stopping often to take pictures with fans or chat up others in attendance. Charles Barkley caught up with her at one point and they talked about plans for the night.

“What’s up with all ya’ll with the blonde hair thing?” Barkley asked before they parted ways.

Wie said she wasn’t sure if she’d like to play in a similar event down the road, but she could see it catching on.

“For sure,” Wie said. “Maybe a JT vs. Rickie kind of thing, or Brooks vs. Dustin. … Just being here, being in the environment, seeing how excited everyone is – it’s so amazing to see the impact golf has on every one of these lives. When you’re watching these people play, I know I remember watching Tiger at the Masters and finally seeing it up close is a really cool experience. My friends are really excited, so I get excited about that.”

Fowler, an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals and former all-star selection for the Cubs, has gotten to know some of the big names in golf during spring training in Jupiter, Fla. He took his dad to the Tour Championship in Atlanta earlier this fall and has grown close with several guys on Tour.

“I got a lot of boys down there,” Fowler said of his time in Jupiter. “JT’s my guy. I know Brooks, DJ and Rickie and all those dudes.”

He walked every hole Friday and stayed until the very end, watching the sudden-death playoff near the green. Like seemingly everyone else lucky enough to check it out from Vegas, Fowler was soaking it up every step of the way.

“This is unbelievable,” Fowler said. “You can’t beat it.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home