This is not a suggestion, people. This is a command. You need to watch The Match: Champions for Charity on Sunday, because it’s going to be good. Really good. We know, we know, the first match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson received mixed reviews. But this one will be different, and in a very good way.
Woods teams up with Peyton Manning to take on Mickelson and Tom Brady at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, which will be broadcast live on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN. They’ll play at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., where Woods is a member. Here’s why you should watch.
1. The competition
Tiger and Manning vs. Phil and Brady. Two golfing legends and two football legends. This is for charity, but these are also four of the most competitive athletes we’ve seen in the last 25 years. They won’t want to lose. Moreover, they won’t want to be embarrassed on national TV.
2. The format
Let’s be honest, 18 holes of a fourball would be boring. Nine holes of it? We’ll take it, especially since the back nine, in this writer’s opinion, will be a lot more fun with a modified alternate shot. The simmering pressure of an alternate shot for Average Joes like Manning and Brady — dealing with the anxiety of potentially letting your parter down — will be real. And the results might be fascinating. (Give us at least a shank or two, please?)
3. The challenges
There will be a handful of these, although not all of them have been announced yet. There’s already been reports of one that sounds like a lot of fun. According to Yahoo Sports, all four golfers will play the par-4 5th hole with one club, a la a one-club challenge.
4. The betting
FanDuel said betting for last Sunday’s Seminole skins match was “nearly double that of a normal PGA Tour event.” That’s nuts, and proves people are eager to throw down a few bucks on live sports. This Sunday, an event with even bigger stars that will almost certainly bring in a bigger audience, should easily see a betting increase from last Sunday.
5. It’s for a good cause
A total of $10 million will be donated to Covid-19 relief via WarnerMedia and the four golfers, and additional funds for charity will be raised through the on-course challenges.
6. The broadcast team
Brian Anderson will host the broadcast with Trevor Immelman and Charles Barkley as analysts. Sir Charles was entertaining when he called the first match between Tiger and Phil, so he should add a nice change of pace this time around too. Justin Thomas and Amanda Balionis will be the on-course reporters. Here’s hoping Thomas, a Medalist member who knows Tiger and Phil well, shares some fun and useful insight. Balionis, a friend of GOLF.com, has been a mainstay on TNT and CBS golf telecasts over the last couple of years.
7. The course
Medalist is an exclusive club that many pro golfers call home. It’s also a place few fans have seen, both inside the gates and on the course. Now we’ll get that chance. Greg Norman founded the club in 1995 and co-designed the course with Pete Dye. It was renovated by Bobby Weed five years ago. Oh, and it’s hard. Good luck, Peyton and Tom.
8. The members
Few clubs, if any, have more pros as members than Medalist, which includes Woods, Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and more than a dozen others. And like noted above, the typical golf fan doesn’t get a glimpse of Medalist very often. If nothing else, it’s a cool experience to see a place that some of the best in the world choose to call their home course.
9. Tiger Woods
No need to elaborate.
10. Phil Mickelson
11. Tom Brady
Even Patriots fans will watch. And perhaps cry. He has an 8.1 handicap index.
12. Peyton Manning
The Augusta National member holds a 6.4 handicap index and loves to antagonize. This should be a perfect setting for him.
13. It WILL be better than the first match
The Las Vegas Shadow Creek match between Tiger and Phil was a trial run of sorts. What went well? What didn’t? Organizers and producers have had lots of time to mull, so it’s safe to say this one will come back better because of it.
14. The entertainment
The original Tiger-Phil match had lots of forced trash talk that didn’t come off as genuine or enjoyable. But throw in guys like Manning and Brady, both known to stir things up themselves, and it makes it easy for the entire group to loosen up. All of the pressure won’t be on Tiger and Phil anymore, and that should make the entire show better in general. Plus, no baseball. No basketball. No hockey, etc. Every sports fan you follow on social media will be locked into this match, or at least they should be. It will be fun to follow along, discuss what’s going on, praise a fun element or rip it to shreds. Everything is better when we can do it together, no? But let’s not forget — golf is back, on TV, for the second straight Sunday. Just like the glory days two or three months ago, right? Let’s enjoy.
15. What else is there to watch?
Good point. See you on Sunday.