Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in TV charity match as good as real thing
The PGA Tour is set to return in just over two weeks, and it has a tough act to follow.
In the second and final charity match that brought live golf to TV, this exhibition was as entertaining as the real thing.
Woods lagged a long birdie putt close enough that his partner, Peyton Manning, didn’t have to putt. That secured a 1-up victory over Mickelson and Brady in “The Match: Champions for Charity.”
The goal was to raise at least $10 million for COVID-19 relief funds, and online donations sent money climbing toward about twice that much.
This made-for-TV exhibition would have been worth pay-per-view, the model Woods and Mickelson used for a $9 million winner-take-all match in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018 that Mickelson won in a playoff under lights. It felt forced, lacked banter and turned out to free because of technical issues.
Throw in two NFL greats in Brady and Manning, and this allowed viewers to ride along for 18 holes at Medalist Golf Club among four of the biggest stars in sports.
Justin Thomas pitched in as an on-course reporter, bringing a mixture of humor and insight with the right amount of words.
Woods and Manning took the lead on the third hole and never trailed, building a 3-up lead in fourballs on the front nine, with Manning making two birdies (one was a net par).
Brady, whose six Super Bowl titles are more than any NFL quarterback in history, took a beating on social media and in the broadcast booth from Charles Barkley, who twice offered $50,000 of his own money toward charity if Brady just hit the green on a par 3. He missed so far right it would be comparable to a pass that landed three rows into the stands.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton weighed in on Twitter, noting Brady signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay by saying he liked the “Florida” Brady much better.
Brooks Koepka offered $100,000 if Brady could just make a par.
One shot shut everyone up.
Never mind that Brady had to take a penalty drop before getting back to the fairway on the par-5 seventh. With his fourth shot, with Barkley needling him relentlessly, Brady’s shot landed beyond the pin and spun back into the cup.
“Shut your mouth, Chuck,” said Brady, whose microphone piece dangled off the back of his pants.