Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods ‘mic’d up’ money grab is on

On a day Phil Mickelson joined Twitter, details of the ballyhooed Thanksgiving weekend match between him and Tiger Woods emerged.

Mickelson launched a Twitter account shortly before teeing off in his pro-am round for the Northern Trust on Wednesday afternoon and by the time he finished the round he had more than 53,000 followers.

One person who’s not yet following Mickelson is Woods. Though by the time Mickelson finished his pro-am round, Woods had tweeted an image of the match stating, “It’s on.’’

Interestingly, in the image, Woods was swinging a left-handed driver — perhaps a tweak of the left-handed Mickelson.

“For many years, he’s gotten the better of me, but that Friday night it’s going to be the easiest $10 mil ($9 million) I’ve ever made,’’ Mickelson said with a big smile.

Asked about prematch smack talk, Mickelson said, “I’m OK at it. I’m not opposed to it at all. But we have plenty of time to do that, and I’ve got to be careful because I’m hoping we are teammates in the Ryder Cup and I don’t want to cause a stir yet. But in the first week of October, it will start to heat up.’’

WarnerMedia’s Turner division made the announcement Wednesday that the match will be hosted by MGM Resorts International and held Thanksgiving weekend at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. The winner will walk away with $9 million, winner take all.

It will be a pay-per-view event with, according to Mickelson, the players and caddies mic’d up and with the players making side bets during the match involving closest to the pin, long drive, up-and-downs and putting.

HBO Sports, like it does leading up to big boxing matches, will televise a 24/7 show involving the two players.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bring golf to the masses in prime time during a period where we don’t have much going on in the world of golf,’’ Mickelson said. “It allows us to be a little bit more real, if you will. We’re going to be mic’d up. We think there will be some pretty good interest, but we’re also trying to present it in a way that you don’t get to see with normal TV.

“The idea is not just to have this great match but to have this interactive experience so fans can seem something they’ve never seen in televised golf before.’’

Dustin Johnson, the Northern Trust defending champion, is one of three players who’s won three times on Tour this season. This is the third consecutive year that Johnson, who has 19 career wins, has won at least three tournaments. He, too, has won at least one tournament in each of the last 11 years.

Asked if he ever takes winning for granted, Johnson said, “I’ve always said it’s very hard to win on Tour. There’s so many guys. Every guy in the field legitimately has a chance to win. That’s why it’s so hard to win out here on Tour. And it doesn’t matter what week you’re playing, what tournament it is, it’s difficult to win.’’

Johnson and Brooks Koepka have more in common than their ungodly length off the tee. Both possess an expressionless look on the golf course that suggests nothing bothers them. Both contend that’s not the case.

“I’m fired up all the time; I just don’t let you guys [reporters] see it,’’ Johnson said. “I’ve got a lot of fire running inside of me and there’s a lot of things I want to do that I haven’t done. So, that keeps pushing me.’’

Said Koepka: “It probably looks like I could care less, but sometimes I do run hot and I can be excited. I just won’t show it to anybody because I don’t want anybody to know.’’

The 12th hole at Ridgewood could be a subplot to the tournament this week. It’s a 291-yard, risk-reward par-4 that will tempt players to try to drive the small green.

“[On Wednesday], I went for it but probably during the tournament I’m not going to,’’ Johnson said. “There’s nowhere good to hit it except on the green, and it’s not very easy — that green’s not very big. So I’ll probably lay up most of the days. You never know, but most likely I’ll lay up.’’

Koepka said that whatever he does he wants to avoid hitting it to the left of the green, which is trouble.

“It needs to be short right,’’ he said. “You can get up-and-down from anywhere short right. I’m not necessarily trying to hit the green. I think we hit 3-wood [Wednesday] and came up maybe 10 yards short, and that to me is fine. You’ve always got a shot from short right.”

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