For two of the world’s wealthiest athletes, a seven-figure windfall might not even get the heart pumping.
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The rivalry between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, once among golf's most intense, is now more chilled than charged but TV executives are gambling the aging icons can still generate enough heat to turn a winner-take-all $9 million showdown into a must-see event. Much like the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather championship boxing fight, the Woods vs. Mickelson 18-hole duel in Las Vegas scheduled for the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend in November is one that will unfold with both men well past their prime.With two of the most intriguing and successful golfers of their generation boasting 19 major titles between them, the pay-per-view spectacle will ultimately be a referendum on just how popular the 42-year-old Woods and 48-year-old Mickelson are and, by extension, how much appeal their sport still has.Forbes last year rated Woods as the second-highest-paid athlete of all time with $1.7 billion in career earnings, second only to basketball's Michael Jordan, while Mickelson slotted in at No. 6 on $815 million.To make a truly compelling spectacle, there needs to be a good guy and a bad guy and neither Mickelson nor Woods have seized on the villain or hero's role.Mickelson and Woods paired together in the final round of a major would need no hype to drive ratings through the roof.
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