Turner Streams Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson Match for Free After Technical Difficulties
The event was billed as golf's first pay-per-view broadcast, but it was marred by issues, with some viewers unable to view it on their televisions after paying $19.99.
Golf fans were able to watch a free match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on Friday. The event was touted as golf's first pay-per-view broadcast, but it was marred by technical difficulties, with some viewers unable to view it on their televisions after paying $19.99.
Turner and Bleacher Report representatives later sent out links on social media allowing people to view it for free on their computers and mobile devices.
There were over 500 people on hold online waiting for assistance during one point.
"We experienced some technical issues on B/R Live that temporarily impacted user access to The Match. We've taken a number of steps to resolve the matter, with our main priority being the delivery of content to those that have purchased the PPV event," Turner spokeswoman Tareia Williams said in an emailed statement.
According to ESPN, the issue was with the platform's purchasing mechanism, which made it hard for fans to purchase the match. Per the report, it is unclear if Turner users who had paid in advance will get credited for the match. Other carriers who charged for the event — including Xfinity, DIRECTV and AT&T — were not impacted by the technical issues.
Only 700 invited guests were allowed to watch the event at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. The match was billed as a chance for viewers to watch an untraditional golf broadcast as both golfers and their caddies were mic'd up. It also featured live odds from MGM resorts and a drone was used for live shots.
Mickelson birdied the fourth playoff hole to beat Woods in their $9 million made-for-TV match.
Mickelson made a four-foot birdie putt on a specially set up 93-yard, par-3. The match finished in the dark with lights set up around the hole.
Mickelson was one up after 16 holes, but Woods tied it with a birdie from the fringe of the green on the par-3 17th hole. Both birdied the par-5 18th and then parred the first playoff hole before it went to the par-3 extra hole that they kept playing until there was a winner.
Woods went into the day having completed a successful season in September that saw him win the Tour Championship, his 80th career PGA Tour title. Meanwhile, Mickelson took home his first win in five years at the Mexico Championship in March. Woods is ranked 13th in the world and Mickelson is ranked 27th.