Before the business story engulfs The Match—if the across-the-board refunds haven’t already done so—let’s consider how the promises of a groundbreaking event played out.
Alan Shipnuck at Golf.com says The Match was sold as a spectacle and merely delivered two guys playing golf, which was good enough for many of us to be entertained but a failure based on the marketing message.
It was an exercise in cognitive dissonance. The announcers wouldn’t stop raving about Shadow Creek’s aesthetics but my eyes kept going to the aeration holes on the greens. There was breathless talk about the use of the world’s largest drone for beauty shots but its buzzing was so loud it was a distraction on nearly every shot on the opening holes. I was excited to have the players mic’d up, until Phil’s heavy mouth-breathing and Tiger’s snotty sniffles hijacked the broadcast.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo says The Match was worse than Caddyshack 2.
There were a few side bets that should have been fun, but this event was so over-marketed and over-sold that it was nearly impossible to believe either was laying their own money on the line. Someone else was going to pick up the closest-to-the-pin bets. On the back nine and the playoff – yes, it went 22 holes — no one bet anything. It was like they were over budget or all the other bets were pre-planned.
The Forecaddie on Turner taking the brunt of the financial losses, not the narrative they were hoping for or the one AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had in mind when they spent $85 billion on Time Warner.
Dave Shedloski at GolfDigest.com suggested the event went well, with the pay issues caused by overwhelming demand.
WarnerMedia’s B/R Live platform was so inundated with subscribers who waited until the last minute to log in that it had to offer the program free for a limited time until the traffic jam subsided. “We are very encouraged by the initial subscriber numbers,” a smiling Turner President David Levy said as Mickelson and Woods made the turn.
AP’s story on the streaming issues said 500 people were “on hold” at one point trying to get help paying. What that means isn’t clear.
But as Darren Rovell notes, all of those Turner meetings to determine the price for The Match were one giant waste of time after the mass-refund.
Jason Sobel lamented the flashing of cash and also the announce team talking over the sound.
The bigger problem is that the announcing team stepped all over the stars of the show throughout the day.
The whole benefit of Tiger and Phil being mic’d up is that we get to hear their conversations with each other, with their caddies and with the fans. Instead, it felt like every time they opened their mouths, one of the commentators would speak over them.
Rex Hoggard on the PGA Tour helping to undermine The Match by limiting the number of side challenges, which had moments and were for charity. Too many bad cooks in this kitchen!
The playoff hole took a few punches over at Golf.com where the Confidential gang saw plenty of positives too.
Berhow: The drone shots for some of the putts were pretty cool. The banter disappointed (shocker), and deciding this whole thing from a putting green (with teed up golf balls!) to a green just 93 yards away seemed very anticlimactic. Although maybe that ending was strangely fitting.
Kerr-Dineen: The much-hyped “trash talk” was painfully awkward and wholly underwhelming. I was a bit disappointed by the overall on-course commentary, too. It was a bit too straight-and-narrow for the event; I’d have liked to see Barkley more involved in the play-by-play. What was better than I expected? Probably the playoff. Wedging it off a green to another green with $9 million on the line? Bonkers.
Dan Kilbridge on the celebrity scene just outside the ropes. That continued Saturday with a pro-am where Tiger and Phil attended. Lucky them!
John Strege considered the telecast and noted that much of the great sound we heard was natural, inside-the-ropes commentary from the legends taking part.
When Woods chipped in for birdie from the fringe to square the match at 17, he could be heard saying to caddie Joe LaCava, “just like old times, Joey.”
Moments later, Mickelson said to Woods, “I’ve been watching that for 20 years. I didn’t need to watch that now.”
Yet even with a match coming down to the final hole and what evolved into a farcical playoff (teeing it from the putting green in the dark) with $9 million at stake, it was not especially riveting, given the mediocrity from two of the best in history and the time it took them to underperform.
Finally, Dan Kilbridge on the celebrity scene just outside the ropes. That continued Saturday with a pro-am where Tiger and Phil attended after the previous night’s Topgolf after party. Talk about evidence they were both paid the same rate!