A few days ago, I saw this very nice reconstruction of a Machairodus giganteus by Peter Hutzler:
More recently, I've been thinking about it, and I'm wondering A) if it would evolve without getting in the way of hunting and B) if it would have a reason to evolve. Obviously, this isn't exactly a mind-bending evolutionary achievement, and could probably happen within a handful of million years.
Since he shows it as being tawny-coloured but without dappled markings, I'm assuming that this is a predator that hunts out on open plains. If so, wouldn't the black face make it easier for prey to spot it? Most modern felids are stealthy hunters (With lions being more like large canids or hyenas ecologically), but I'm not sure how it was for Machairodonts.
The second part of my question is; would it have a reason to evolve? Obviously, if it's a display feature, then it probably could (As long as it didn't hamper hunting ability, as said). But is there anything else it would be useful for? Could it perhaps even aid hunting somehow?
Note that I'm just asking about this evolving in a "big cat" in general, not necessarily a Machairodus or other Machairodontine.
In short; would a black face and throat on a tawny body hamper a big cat's hunting ability prohibitively, and if not, would it have a reason to evolve?