Hopefully, The Match itself is better than the pre-tournament press conference.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are set to take on Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas on Saturday evening under the lights at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Florida. On Wednesday, a Zoom call with all four players failed to create the hype often associated with a boxing match; this was more of a meeting of a mutual admiration society—with a few subtle digs.
“If you told myself and JT in 2012 when we were in college that we’d be playing against these two in a match, that would be a really, really cool thing,” Spieth said. “We want to win it because of how much these guys inspired us.”
If you wanted trash talk and bulletin-board material ahead of the 12-hole match, it was sorely lacking from this gabfest. When asked to name the best trash talker of the bunch, McIlroy jumped in and said, “I know who thinks he is the best trash talker, JT.”
That may be the case, but Thomas has done battle with Tiger enough to know that he and Spieth are at a significant disadvantage against Woods and McIlroy in terms of on-course achievements.
“It’s kind of hard to trash talk them,” Thomas said. “I feel like on the first tee Jordan and I just need to get it out in the open that, OK, you guys have more majors than us, you have more FedEx Cups than us, you both have an airplane and we don’t, let’s just get that out in the open that way we don’t get it used against us in our match.”
“They’re both quick and witty,” Spieth added. “I was saying to Justin that we might have to take the nice guy route, which isn’t normal for us in these type of matches.”