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Las Vegas’ Shriners Open on Tiger Woods’, Phil Mickelson’s radar

In a quiet moment in the Shadow Creek locker room a few days prior to their $9 million match, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods both said they contemplated playing in the 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and it could be on their future schedules.

“I was actually close this year to teeing it up and playing (in Vegas) again, but the more I thought about it, I just needed more of a break,” said Woods, whose 1996 Las Vegas Invitational victory was the first on the PGA Tour. He finished tied for 36th in 1997. “I’ve loved playing in this event and I had my first win here when I beat Davis Love III in a playoff.

“I was just talking to Davis about it and he said, ‘Do you remember when I hit driver off the 18th tee? It was a persimmon driver.’ It’s funny how the game has evolved and changed. I would love to play in this event going forward and we’ll see what the future holds.”

Mickelson has played in Las Vegas 12 times, but not since 2005. He finished runner up in 2000.

“I wouldn’t rule it out (playing in Vegas again) because I like the golf course a lot and I think most of it will be what time of year it is,” Mickelson said. “I came close this year. I wanted to get out here and play, but I just wasn’t quite ready.”

In 2019, the Shriners is scheduled for Oct. 3-6.

As for “The Match”, won by Phil Mickelson on the fourth extra hole, the two admitted post-event that there were varying opinions.

“I think that everyone certainly had their way of looking at the match, and everyone was entitled to it,” Woods said. “We were there to play head-to-head and do something that’s never been done before. Lo and behold, there we were going to extra holes and we’re under the lights. You couldn’t have made this event any better than it was.”

Mickelson said it was too soon to discuss future similar events.

“I think we need to wait and see how people liked it or not,” Mickelson said. “This was really fun for me. Some of the most fun I’ve had on a golf course being able to play with you (Tiger), against you, compete, side challenges.

“This was a lot of fun in addition to a lot of pressure. I just know that today was a really special, fun day.”

Junior golf benefit

The Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association Santa Scramble is Dec. 17 at Reflection Bay. Golf and/or lunch reservations are available at SouthernNevadaJuniorGolf.com. Also, for historical records, alumni are asked to contact SNJGA.

Weekly deal

The Southern Nevada Golf Association is offering a round at Golf Summerlin, Las Vegas National and Wildhorse for $89. Also, tee times, gift cards and other prizes are being given away daily Dec. 1 thru Dec. 24 at SNGA.org.

Stars on, off course

Notables at “the Match” included Norm MacDonald, Samuel L. Jackson, Kris Bryant, Michelle Wie, Charles Barkley, Natalie Gulbis, Ben Stiller and Pat Perez.

The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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