Some of the more interesting developments in the lead-up to The Match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson has been the duo discussing their relationship with each other throughout their 20-plus year careers. In the HBO Sports 24-7 show about The Match that aired this week, Tiger and Phil dismissed any dislike for each other, saying that narrative was overblown by the media. We don't entirely buy that.
The smack talk between the two, however, has been natural since Tiger and Phil played a practice round together at the Masters, which we now know came after negotiations were in place to finalize this match. And in May, Tiger started the smack talking off right by offering some playful banter, saying "first of all, big picture," when responding to about Phil's comments about a potential high-stakes match, after his then-recent win at the WGC-Mexico.
The most recent entry of smack talk came courtesy of Tiger Woods on TNT's NBA show on Thursday night. Tiger was asked by Ernie Johnson, who we found out will be doing the play-by-play for "The Match" at Shadow Creek, whether he can get in Phil's head during the $9 million match with potentially large side bets on the line.
It was a brilliant setup by Ernie, one of the best announcers of our time. And Tiger played into it brilliantly.
The seven-minute bit on TNT to preview "The Match," which will be broadcast on Turner Sports' B/R Live streaming service, was pretty good, and worth watching in its entirety. Charles Barkley, who will also be involved in the broadcast, needles Tiger (and Jordan Spieth) about his hair.
Tiger might've just mic-dropped all the pre-match smack talk there will be with Phil. But don't worry—the banter will be flying early and often at Shadow Creek on Nov. 23 at 3 p.m. (eastern), if the lead-up to the match is an indication.