You’ve heard by now that a legendary showdown is afoot between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. But every pay-per-view show needs a healthy undercard, and golf is teeming with delicious one-on-one possibilities. I’ve compiled my top 25 below.
25. Joel Dahmen (+120) vs. Sung Kang
After all the “cheating” talk from earlier this week, this frosty face-off will be conducted under the watchful eye of a rules official and several overhead slow-mo cameras.
24. Gary Player (-110) vs. Jack Nicklaus
Let’s add 17 3/4 more holes to that annual Augusta National opening tee trash-talking extravaganza, shall we?
With any luck, this match could mean a very literal brawl.
22. Carl Spackler (-200) vs. Mike Davis
A contrast in setup styles to be sure, but these two could talk green(s) all day.
21. Steph Curry (-250) vs. Tony Romo
The sponsor’s exemption showdown, playing for second-sport dominance.
20. Steve Williams (+2000) vs. Bones Mackay
While we’re feeling sentimental about Tiger-Phil, let’s throw their legendary ex-loopers in the mix — though Bones may need to give shots.
19. Harold Varner III (+120) vs. Charles Howell III
The young challenger poses an outside threat to CH3’s position atop the “best III” throne (winner awarded the Davis Love Trophy).
18. Tiger Woods (-10000000) vs. Brandel Chamblee
Brandel will play as the third in the Mickelson/Woods group, mic’d up so that he can add live analysis. Only problem is that it may take even more money to get both Phil and Tiger on board with this plan.
17. Sergio Garcia (even) vs. Sergio Garcia
Really, aren’t golf’s best matches played between the ears?
16. Jeff Knox (-1000) vs. Greg Norman
15. Bubba Watson (-140) vs. Brian Harman
If Lefty’s front and center, only fitting to have a secondary southpaw showdown.
14. Stewart Cink (-220) vs. Tom Watson
A chance at redemption — for Cink, that is. Sometimes losing is the right thing to do, Stew.
13. Anthony Kim (?!) vs. Norman Xiong
What could have been versus what may yet be.
12. Lexi Thompson (+200) vs. Jon Rahm
The ball-marking bash.
This shouldn’t be mesmerizing, but it is: pic.twitter.com/5886fW77TK
— Sean Zak (@Sean_Zak) May 25, 2018
11. Thomas Pieters (+130) vs. Henrik Stenson
The club-snapping clash.
10. Bernhard Langer (-150) vs. Scott McCarron
The anchoring thrash.
9. Dustin Johnson (-120) vs. Brooks Koepka
The strong guys.
8. Tony Finau (-120) vs. Gary Woodland
The long guys.
7. Robert Garrigus vs. Matt Every
The bong guys. (cringes)
6. Bryson DeChambeau (-180) vs. Jim Furyk
The single-plane swing faces down its mortal enemy.
5. Dustin Johnson (-400) vs. Ted Potter Jr.
A repeat of what remains this year’s most compelling showdown, and TP2 is a big ‘dog again this time.
4. Rory McIlroy (-120) vs. Patrick Reed
3. Jordan Spieth (+140) vs. Justin Thomas
(Extremely earnest sportscaster voice:) “It’s not just that these guys are great players; they’re great friends, too.”
2. John Daly (-800) vs. Mike Davis
No carts and no compasses, but plenty of time to talk contrasting approaches to #growingthegame.
1. Donald Trump (-1000) vs. Kim Jong Un
I do not volunteer as scorekeeper.