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Tiger Woods opens with level-par 71 at Northern Trust as Phil Mickelson exhibition match grabs headlines

11:01 pm, 23rd August 2018

The American duo announced on Wednesday they will play a high-stakes one-off 18-hole contest on Thanksgiving weekend at Shadow Creek Golf Course in November.

Woods and Mickelson engaged in some light-hearted joking over social media about “The Match” and the 14-time major winner defended the event being available solely via pay-per-view.

“How many times have we all purchased fights, whether it’s MMA or boxing, whatever it may be,” Woods said.

“We all purchase those fights.”

Woods believes the duel, which will see two of the sport’s most high-profile figures battling it out, is an exciting prospect for the sport.

“We’re able to showcase golf at a different time and different platforms and I think this will be fun,” added Woods.

“It’s 18-holes, so anybody can win an 18-hole boat race. We’re going to have fun doing something that’s never been done before.”

Making his first start in the playoffs since 2013, Woods mixed two birdies and two bogeys at the Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey to leave him five shots behind the early pacesetters when he finished his round.

The 42-year-old was unable to replicate the golf which saw him finish second in the PGA Championship earlier this month, as he begins the possibility of playing three consecutive tournaments for the first time in more than five years.

Woods sits in 20th spot in the FedEx Cup rankings but his two birdies on an otherwise lacklustre day came at two of the three par-fives with his two dropped shots coming at the second and fifth, during his back nine.

Woods said: “(It was) one of those days where I just kept having the half-club and was never able to fully swing at it and having to hit little softies in there, control my flight, manoeuvre the golf ball.”

Watch the Northern Trust throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. Coverage continues with featured group coverage from 12.30pm on Friday.