Ex-UNLV champ could help Phil Mickelson beat Tiger Woods

Updated November 19, 2018 - 11:10 am

Styles make for good boxing bouts and according to former UNLV All-American Jeremy Anderson, that should also be the case with “The Match,” the $9 million winner-take-all, pay-per-view duel between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods at Shadow Creek on Nov. 23.

Anderson, a member of the 1998 UNLV national championship team and a former PGA Tour golfer, played and scouted Shadow Creek on Thursday with Tim Mickelson, brother and caddie of Phil.

“Tiger is more of a tactician when it comes to thinking his way around a course and Phil is more go-for-broke,” Anderson said.

Anderson still lives in Las Vegas but has retired from professional golf. He has known Tim since junior golf and Phil since they met while Anderson was a UNLV senior. Upon turning professional, Anderson signed with Phil’s management company, headed by Steve Loy, at the urging of the Mickelson brothers. Phil also took the young pro under his wing immediately, something Anderson never forgot.

Anderson was asked to help devise a game plan for The Match because he has played Shadow Creek hundreds of times, with a career best of 64 there.

“Shadow Creek is a great course because it gives you a lot of options and I think it will be a good match-play course,” Anderson said. “I think there are some holes that will set up better for Phil because of his right-to-left ball flight, but I think there are some holes that will set up better for Tiger. Tim and I were talking about a few tee shots (holes six, nine, 14, 15, 16 and 18) that they will have the opportunity to take on more aggressive lines because in match play it doesn’t matter. If you make par or eight, it’s only one hole.”

Phil played a few holes at the Tom Fazio-designed course recently while filming HBO’s “24/7,” but according to Tim, hasn’t played a full round at Shadow Creek in many years. Phil does plan to play it Tuesday and Wednesday.

Woods could have an advantage because he shared the pre-renovation course record of 60 with Fred Couples and has played it many times. Woods also hosts Tiger Jam, an annual fundraiser for his foundation, at Shadow Creek.

Tim is intrigued with the broadcast format and advised aspiring golfers to watch.

“Both Phil and Tiger are predicting they will win on the 17th hole,” Tim said. “All I know is that it is going to be fun, exciting and interesting, and it will come down to who has the better day.

“As a former college coach (ASU), I am advising college players I know to watch because Phil and I, and Tiger and (caddie) Joe LaCava, are each going to be mic’d up. I think it will be a terrific opportunity to hear what is said between caddie and player.”

If the match does come down to Tiger and Phil’s predicted finish on the downhill par 3, 17th hole, Anderson told Tim, “if the wind is blowing, don’t even bother throwing up grass to gauge it; just have Phil hit it and hope. If you throw grass up 10 times, the ball will fly a different way than the grass does 10 times.

“Tim agreed and said, ‘there’s a hole in professional golf that every player knows about that shares the same dynamic: the 12th at Augusta.’”

Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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