After the overwhelming success of the TaylorMade Driving Relief skins match last Sunday, sports fans should have another entertaining golf match this Sunday with a different twist. Officially called The Match, Champions for Charity, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will again face off in a made-for-television match, but this time Woods will be joined by Peyton Manning and Mickelson will be joined by Tom Brady. Two rivalries between the greats of their era will make for plenty of trash talk and an intriguing match from the start.
Last week’s skins match between Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff gained more than 2.35 million viewers and reportedly had more money wagered than any PGA Tour tournament last year outside of the Masters, US Open and Open Championship. With golf’s two most popular names and two of the best quarterbacks of all time teeing it up this week, numbers could be even bigger on Sunday.
How it works
The match will take place on Sunday, May 24 at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida at 3 p.m. ET. TNT, TBS, TruTV and HLN will all broadcast the action live as a part of Turner Sports.
The PGA Tour is helping run the event. Details emerged of the Tour’s lead rules official Slugger White scoping out greens for pin locations when Woods ran into him and jokingly told him to tuck pins in the front-right so Mickelson couldn’t hit his cut shot into greens.
Woods’ influence is all over this match, starting with the course. Medalist is just down the road from his home, and it’s the main course he uses to practice and play when he’s at home.
Greg Norman was originally asked about being in the booth for the match broadcast, but that was shot down – Woods and Norman don’t exactly get along. That spot instead went to active player Justin Thomas … one of Woods’ best friends. Thomas will be joined by Brian Anderson, Charles Barkley, Trevor Immelman and Amanda Balionis in what should be an entertaining broadcast.
The match will be a four-ball format on the front nine, which takes the best score from each duo to determine the hole result. On the back nine they will transition to a modified alternate shot format. That should make for an interesting finish as the quarterbacks will have pressure to perform and put Woods and Mickelson in decent enough spots to score. The match will raise at least $10 million for coronavirus relief efforts, but it’s expected the players will add more stakes during the round to add to the total.
Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning -186, Phil Mickelson/Tom Brady +160 on DraftKings
Woods and Manning are unsurprisingly the favorites with Woods being the higher-ranked player as Mickelson has fallen off a decent amount in the last couple of years. Manning sports around a 6-handicap compared to Brady’s 8, meaning Team Woods has an advantage on paper with both players. But Mickelson always comes to play in high stakes matches as we saw in his win over Woods in the first “Match” late in 2018. In addition, Brady’s swing in videos looks great – much better than Manning’s – so the Tampa Bay quarterback certainly has what it takes to compete on the course.
Medalist Golf Club is one of the hardest courses in the world, ranking second to Kiawah Island on Golf Digest’s America’s 75 toughest courses list. It’s 7,571 yards from the “Tiger Tees,” though you’d have to assume they won’t be playing that yardage with Manning and Brady playing along. A Pete Dye design, Medalist should play difficult and deceiving on approaches and around the greens.
Looking at the course fit and pairings, Woods and Manning -186 is the clear play. Woods has simply been much better than Mickelson in the last two years, and he’s had a nice break to have his body ready. Medalist fits his game along with being his home course. In addition, Manning plays more golf than Brady these days and should be more prepared for this type of event.