The Match: Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson will provide high stakes, big bets

Fifteen miles from the Las Vegas Strip, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, rivals for more than two decades, will go head-to-head Friday in a high-stakes duel in the desert.

Billed as The Match, the two best players of their generation face off on an 18-hole gem with a huge pot of cash up for grabs. Woods has gotten the better of Mickelson during their storied careers but that will mean little in this one-day showdown with millions of dollars on the line.

The match begins at 3 p.m. ET.

Who’s playing: Tiger Woods (14 major championship titles, 80 PGA Tour victories) vs. Phil Mickelson (5 majors, 43 PGA Tour victories). Each won a tournament this year — Woods, 42, took home the championship hardware at The Tour Championship; Mickelson, 48, won the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. Those were the first wins since 2013 for both players.

Where are they playing: Shadow Creek Golf Course, a man-made marvel in the Mojave Desert that is as challenging as it is beautiful. The course, a par-72 that can tip out at 7,560 yards, features many risk-reward holes, a stout collection of par-3s and long par-4s with doglegs.

What’s the purse: A winner-take-all $9 million. It’s not the players’ money. Instead, sponsors put up the cash.

What’s the format: Match play. Each hole is basically a tournament, as a player earns a point if he beats his opponent on the hole. The winner is the player with the most points at the end of play, which could be on the 10th hole if a player wins the first nine holes.

What might we see as side bets: Woods and Mickelson will raise the stakes as they will be making plenty of wagers throughout the match, with the winnings going to charity. Among the expected bets will be long drive and closest-to-the-pin contests. The players also will likely propose money challenges on putts and up-and-downs. The bets will likely be in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 per wager.

What other highlights will be offered: Both Woods and Mickelson will be mic’d during the match. With no commercial breaks, there will be plenty of airtime to fill, and these two will certainly break out the needle. Their caddies Joe LaCava (Tiger) and Tim Mickelson (younger brother of Phil) will be mic’d.

What’s special about the production: Drone coverage will create eye-popping aerial views of each shot, as well as highlight the golf course. The one-hour pregame show will feature Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson and Pat Perez. Ernie Johnson of TNT’s NBA coverage fame, will serve as the play-by-play announcer alongside Peter Jacobsen and Darren Clarke. Natalie Gulbis and Shane Bacon will be the reporters on the ground.

How to watch: The telecast will be available on pay per view for $19.99 and can be accessed through major cable providers including DirecTV, AT&T, U-Verse, Comcast and Verizon. Those watching in 4K need to pay $10 more. Bleacher Report’s social media platforms will provide some pre-match viewing for free.

First lawsuit filed in horrific New York limo accident that killed 20

ALBANY – The operators of a limousine that crashed and killed 20 people in upstate New York last month “acted with reckless indifference to the health and safety of others,” a lawsuit Monday contended.

The lawsuit filed by the parents of one of the victims, Amanda Rivenburg, was the first civil case brought in the horrific accident Oct. 6 on a rural road in Schoharie outside Albany.

Seventeen passengers in the limousine owned by Prestige Limousine were killed when the vehicle crashed into an embankment in the afternoon as the friends and family members were on their way to a brewery in Cooperstown to celebrate a 30th birthday.

The driver and two bystanders where the limo crashed were also killed in the accident, which was the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. in nine years.

The defendants “intentionally failed to act knowing that their conduct will probably result in injury and/or death,” the lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Albany, contends.

The lawsuit is important to start to allow lawyers to investigate the circumstances of the crash, the lawyer for the Rivenburgs, whose daughter was 29, said.

In particular, there are questions not only about Prestige Limousine’s actions, but about the state’s potential role, including whether the intersection where the crash occurred was safe, said Salvatore Ferlazzo, the family’s attorney.

“We’re doing an investigation to see the role of the state of New York and the way this road was designed and constructed,” Ferlazzo said.

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“And we would like to have the subpoena power when you file a suit to make sure we can preserve evidence and preserve the items that are part of the criminal process.”

The defendants in the lawsuit are Shahed Hussain, the owner of Prestige Limousine, and his son, Nauman Hussain, who was charged days after the crash with one count of criminally negligent homicide.

The company’s attorneys at the Wilson Elser law firm declined comment.

The lawsuit doesn’t say what monetary amount is being sought, and if a suit is brought against the state, that would need to be a separate action in the Court of Claims, Ferlazzo said.

The investigation by State Police and the National Highway Safety Board is continuing into the crash.

Records have showed that the limousine failed two state inspections, in March and again in September.

After a Sept. 4 failed inspection, the state affixed a sticker taking the vehicle out of service, the state Department of Transportation said.

But the limo was still operating.

One in five Army generals could not deploy for medical reasons in 2016, data show

WASHINGTON – One in five Army generals could not deploy in 2016 for medical reasons, according to data obtained by USA TODAY, a troubling finding regarding the military’s readiness to fight that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has vowed to fix.

Overdue medical and dental exams were the primary reasons for what the Army refers to as medical readiness in 2016. The medical readiness rate for generals has improved to nearly 85 percent, according to Brig. Gen. Omar Jones, the Army’s top spokesman. Almost all generals, 97.4 percent, can now deploy after taking care of minor issues such as having updated blood tests and dental exams.

“The Army’s top priority is readiness and soldiers are expected to be world-wide deployable to ensure our Army is ready to fight today and in the future,” Jones said. “The data from 2016 does not reflect recent improvements in medical readiness for the Army as a whole and for the general officer corps specifically.”

The data were contained in a June 2017 report on the state of the Army’s general officer corps that was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The study was commissioned after a series of high-profile scandals involving generals and admirals came to light. In 2014, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel created an office to investigate ethical problems among senior leaders. An investigation by USA TODAY last year found that military investigators had documented at least 500 cases of serious misconduct among its generals, admirals and senior civilians, almost half of those instances involving personal or ethical lapses.

One of the most recent cases involved Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets, who was fired for making sexually suggestive comments to women and failing to report suicide attempts among airmen in his command.

Most of the Army’s 2017 report released to USA TODAY was redacted. However, sections that included data on deployability for generals and programs to improve their mental and physical health were included. It noted “Points of Stress” for generals that include combat, deployment, family separation, loss and uncertainty. Another category termed, “Complicators,” listed aging, caring for parents, disease risk and teenagers.

Data for 2016 showed that 83.5 percent of Army soldiers were deemed medically ready to deploy, the lowest rate among the services. The Marine Corps led with 90.2 percent followed by the Navy at 90.1 percent and the Air Force at 88.8 percent. The rate for active-duty, ready-to-deploy generals, not including the Reserve or National Guard, was 79.6 percent. For active-duty soldiers overall, the figure was 84 percent, and the Army’s goal is 85 percent.

The top factors for failing to meet the standard was being overdue for an annual physical or dental exam, a relatively easy fix. The report included a recommendation to “Enforce Wellness” that enables generals to receive the evaluations and treatment they needed and “ensure that they do so.”

To that end, the Army has sent 62 generals to its executive health program at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, Jones said. Over a three-day period, generals receive health-care services and assessments. By the end of 2019, 234 more generals will have been through the program.

Jones noted that gains had been made and are reflected in the medical readiness for generals, which is now 84.7 percent.

Mattis took office in January 2017, and this year served notice that he was making readiness to fight a top priority for the Pentagon.

If troops can’t deploy, Mattis said, others must take their place. The burden of combat and time away from family falls unevenly, he said. Exceptions are made for those wounded in combat or injured in accidents.

“But this is a deployable military,” Mattis told reporters in February. “It’s a lethal military that aligns with our allies and partners. If you can’t go overseas in your combat load – carry a combat load, then obviously someone else has got to go. I want this spread fairly and equitably across the force.”

The report also recommends that generals look after their own “wellness.” It encourages them to take at least one 10-day vacation away from their posts and to get enough sleep.

There’s advice from Gen. John Nicholson, at the time the top commander of troops in Afghanistan. Nicholson uses the “2/3/7” rule. He asks each of his leaders to spend two hours a day alone, eat three meals and sleep for at least seven hours a night.