Woods vs. Mickleson: ‘The Match’ & other Thanksgiving Throwdown ideas

Sporting contests on 'Turkey Day' go back all the way to the first Thanksgiving, as seen here in a painting depicting halftime of the Pilgrims vs. Indians/Shirts vs. Skins touch football game.
Sporting contests on ‘Turkey Day’ go back all the way to the first Thanksgiving, as seen here in a painting depicting halftime of the Pilgrims vs. Indians/Shirts vs. Skins touch football game.

Shouldn’t we be too busy counting our blessings to watch pay-per-view TV?

Have you placed  your bet on who will win (pause for dramatic effect) “The Match”? I’m sure you’re familiar with “The Match”, unless of course case you’ve been living under a rock, or you spent most of your weekend fixing your kitchen sink again, like I did. (My 3 year-old’s comment on the situation: “What’re you doing Daddy? Fixin’ the sink? You already fixed it! Silly Daddy!)

“The Match” (it’s better if you read it in an imaginary deep voice), features golf’s two biggest names — Tiger Woods and Phil Mickleson — squaring off against each other mono a mono in a Turkey Day pay-per-view feature for the nice sum of $9 million. (Why wasn’t it $10 million? Because eight figures would be just ridiculous.)

What’s the right price for this particular pay-per-view event? The media moguls behind “The Match” should bear in mind that most people will be busy on Thanksgiving Day closely conversing with their loved ones, counting their blessings and certainly not vegging out in front of the TV.

Ha ha! Americans will really be busy scheming out their Black Friday shopping spree, watching football on TV, and trying to throw little pieces of popcorn in Grandpa’s mouth after he falls asleep on the recliner. Still, it’s not like Thanksgiving is a dry spell for sports, so the price should be reasonable. Regardless, this whole idea of one-on-one, pay-per-view contests has intrigued me. It got me thinking of other Thanksgiving Throwdowns I’d like to see.

Lebron vs. MJ

Let’s finally settle the debate: Who’s the greatest of all time — Lebron James or Michael Jordan? Of course, Lebron has the advantage of relative youth over Michael. To make the match fair, Lebron could age 20 years in a few days. A day standing in line at the BMV, another 24 hours of constant political ads, and finally a couple days staying at a nursing home, a place where they’ve developed technology to suck the vitality out of patients almost instantaneously, and Lebron will be virtually middle-aged and a fair fight for MJ.

Bryce Harper vs. Clay Matthews

Here’s a cross-sport contest. How could Harper, the 2018 Home Run Derby champ, and Matthews, Greenbay’s star linebacker, compete? Why, with a hair-brushing contest of course.

This one has potential to reach non-traditional sports fans. It could be broadcast on Bravo for wealthy suburban housewives, or Nickelodeon or Disney for pre-teen girls. Imagine Matthews and Harper staring in mirrors intently, applying their eye black before reaching for their brushes. Harper’s brush could have pine tar on the handle. TRESemmé could sponsor. Ooh lala!

Jim Nantz vs. 5-hour energy

Thanksgiving, with its feast of carbs and tryptophan, is one of the best days of the year for knocking out a nap. (I write “knockout” like taking a nap is something productive, like “knocking out those quarterly reports”.)Add Jim Nantz to the mix, and staying awake for the full day is near impossible.Don’t misunderstand me; it’s not that Nantz is boring. Quite the contrary. He’s engaging and makes anything feel important.

But he’s got such a smooth cadence and calming presence that it’s hard not to be induced into a pleasant, dream-like state when he’s waxing eloquently. The only true match for Jim Nantz on Turkey Day might be an energy drink. You can guzzle all the wake-up chemicals you want; my money’s on Nantz. Send his silky voice out over a living room full of overly-stuffed males, and you’ll see a group of grown men sleeping with big smiles on their faces, maybe kicking their legs a little and whimpering softly, like a litter full of recently-fed puppies.

Media bigwigs would be wise to consider these

While the media executives are trying to decide on a price for the real “Match” between Woods and Mickleson, I hope they’ll consider my ideas here.

The only risk is drawing too big of an audience the first year, and setting the expectations too high for the next Thanksgiving. While I may not place any money on “The Match”, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

This column was originally published in the Republic-Monitor on August 30, 2018. See more golf columns here.

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