June 4, 2023

The Greatest Match Never Played

Phil Mickelson is no stranger to making outlandish claims, but on February 2nd, 2023 he unleashed maybe his boldest one up to that point. It started innocently, and somewhat bizarrely enough with a quote tweet from former NFL player Danny Woodhead.

“Flushing It” is (at least partially) right. A LIV vs PGA Ryder Cup-style event would be HUGE right now, especially with Phil and Tiger as the Captains of their respective teams. Maybe not “most watched in history” but certainly on the very, very short list. I would watch the crap out of that event, and based on the rest of #GolfTwitter the rest of the day, I’m not alone. This is the point where Phil joins the fray and lets loose with this doozy.

Oh Phil, honey. You’re a showman at heart, and I know you need to juice your new venture at every opportunity, but woof. What a swing and a miss. Let’s assume this made-up event follows the same format as the actual Ryder Cup; Friday Four Balls, Saturday Foursomes, and Sunday Singles matches. Each match is worth 1 point (1/2 point for ties), and 14.5 points wins the Cup. Not only would the PGA Tour team beat LIV, it would be so bad the Sunday singles matches would essentially be meaningless victory laps for the PGA side. Basically Phil’s, not to mention LIV CEO Greg Norman’s, worst nightmare.

Fellow TGS golf nut Tom Danielson and I decided that even this event wasn’t quite enough, the PGA team was just too good. That’s when we devised an even crazier multi-team, cross-promotional event. Let me introduce our teams.

Team USA

Captain Tiger Woods

  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Will Zalatoris
  • Justin Thomas
  • Tony Finau
  • Max Homa
  • Sam Burns
  • Jordan Speith
  • Cameron Young
  • Billy Horschel

Team LIV

Captain Phil Mickelson

  • Abraham Ancer
  • Paul Casey
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Talor Gooch
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Marc Leishman
  • Joaquin Niemann
  • Louis Ooshuizen
  • Ian Poulter
  • Cam Smith

Team Europe

Captain Luke Donald

  • Rory McIlroy
  • Jon Rahm
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Viktor Hovlan
  • Shane Lowry
  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Tyrell Hatton
  • Sepp Straka
  • Seamus Power
  • Alex Noren
  • Thomas Pieters
  • Adrian Meronk

Team International

Captain Adam Scott

  • Tom Kim
  • Sungjae Im
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Ryan Fox
  • Corey Conners
  • KH Lee
  • Si Woo Kim
  • Mito Pereira
  • Min Woo Lee
  • Mackenzie Hughes
  • Lucas Herbert
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Now we’ve got something that can really fight for most watched in history. Each team has legitimate star power mixed with names that a casual fan might not recognize at first glance. A group like this would bring in eyeballs from every corner of the globe, not just the US and Europe. Now that we have that sorted, all we need is a format. The regular Ryder Cup 3 day schedule doesn’t give us enough time for all 4 teams to play each other, so the first thing we have to do is expand to a 4 day event. Look at us, we’re already making things better by making them bigger!

Next, we shorten each match to only 9 holes. This allows quicker turnaround and more flexibility in scheduling. With more teams, and therefore more matches, we also introduce a new scoring format to help give us more variety in play. We bring in a modified Stableford scoring system where you get points for how well you score on a hole. For example, a par gives you 2 points, a birdie gives you 3, but a bogey is 0 points. After the match the team with the highest “score” wins.

All that’s left to do is put it all together and see what comes out the other side. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the first ever Tailgate Society International Tournament of Championships:

Day 1 Morning

  • USA vs LIV
  • EU vs International

Event

  • Foursomes
  • Foursomes

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 1 Mid-Day

  • USA vs LIV
  • EU vs International

Event

  • Modified Stableford
  • Modified Stableford

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 1 Evening

  • USA vs LIV
  • EU vs International

Event

  • Fourball
  • Fourball

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 2 Morning

  • USA vs International
  • EU vs LIV

Event

  • Foursomes
  • Foursomes

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 2 Mid Day

  • USA vs International
  • EU vs LIV

Event

  • Modified Stableford
  • Modified Stableford

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 2 Evening

  • USA vs International
  • EU vs LIV

Event

  • Fourball
  • Fourball

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 3 Morning

  • USA vs EU
  • International vs LIV

Event

  • Foursomes
  • Foursomes

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 3 Mid Day

  • USA vs EU
  • International vs LIV

Event

  • Modified Stableford
  • Modified Stableford

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 3 Evening

  • USA vs EU
  • International vs LIV

Event

  • Fourball
  • Fourball

Points

  • 4
  • 4

Day 4 Morning

  • USA vs International
  • LIV vs EU

Event

  • Singles Match Play
  • Singles Match Play

Points

  • 6
  • 6

Day 4 Mid Day

  • USA vs EU
  • LIV vs International

Event

  • Singles Match Play
  • Singles Match Play

Points

  • 6
  • 6

Day 4 Evening

  • USA vs LIV
  • EU vs International

Event

  • Foursomes
  • Foursomes

Points

  • 6
  • 6

That’s a lot of golf to cram into 4 days, but holy cow, wouldn’t it be fun to watch? Personally, I think Team Europe comes out on top, but it’s a well-balanced field that would lead to a lot of fireworks. What do you think? Too crazy of a plan, or just plain crazy enough to work?

Muddy Bites banner, with photos of delicious waffle cone tips and Muddy Bites packages on a light blue background - "Muddy Bites Happiness Multiplied" -
Levi Larson 10 Articles
Staff Writer

Levi was born and raised in West Liberty, Iowa. An attender of Iowa State University, and also dabbler at Kirkwood Community College. He's an animal lover, except for cats, and beer fanatic. When Levi isn't watching Iowa State or the Green Bay Packers, you can probably find him either watching or (preferably) playing golf. He also spends a lot of time watching movies and playing video games, but adult life continues to get in the way of both.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: