November 21, 2018 12:17 pm

Tonight, We Go Behind The Science Of The Match – Tiger vs Phil

18 holes. 9 million dollars. On Friday, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the two most dominate golfers of the last two decades, will face off against each other for ultimate bragging rights in their rivalry – and a bit of coin. On this episode of Playing with Science, our hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice sit down with neuroscientist and StarTalk All-Stars host Heather Berlin and sports physicist John Eric Goff to investigate what will happen on the course both physically and psychologically.

DIRECTV's graphic for "The Match" between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

To start, Heather takes us inside the brain to find out what’s driving someone to play in an event like this, or as Gary calls it, “high-stakes crazy golf.” If it’s not the money, then what could it be? We also explore the idea that the prize money could have a negative impact on the golfers. Learn why golf is so mentally taxing compared to team sports.

Heather also tells us what parts of the brain are working to control and calm a golfer’s mental state during a high pressure situation. Discover why the downtime between holes and between shots are the times at which a golfer is most mentally vulnerable.

After that, we move right into physics as the “Good Professor” joins our team to break down Shadow Creek Golf Course, the course that will host this epic match. You’ll hear why Phil might have an advantage on the front 9 and why the advantage might switch to Tiger on the back 9.

We get the science behind the slice as Eric tells us how the magnus effect alters the golf ball when it comes off the face of a club to send it in a certain direction. We also get some statistics for Tiger and Phil’s game and Heather explains why, even though statistics are solid, the human element is always unpredictable. Lastly, Eric tells us his favorite hole and we find out why this course isn’t like the usual golf spectacle that we’re used to seeing week in and week out on the PGA Tour.

Please join us tonight for Tiger vs Phil – 18 Holes, $9 Mil right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen