Our golf expert Ben Coley answers all the key questions ahead of The Match: Champions for Charity, featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and friends.
Yes, really. And less of that attitude, please - this one is for charity, the money going towards COVID-19 relief efforts.
Sure, it would've been preferable for the four players to have simply put their hands down the back of the sofa (I bet Phil has an especially garish sofa), but they've earned the right to play.
Remember, these are four truly great sportsmen. The audience will be huge, especially as this one isn't Pay-Per-View.
I mean it really does underline how obscene the first one was, but you can ask no more of anyone - Tiger Woods included - than to learn from their mistakes.
Wait... there are four of them now?
Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Two of the finest golfers of all time with two NFL players who must have been very, very good, because I have heard of them.
OJ Simpson, Ben Wiesberger (I think that's his name), Colin Kaepernick, Dan Marino, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning... and... is it... Eli Manning? Yes, these are the best American Football players in history. They simply must be. Simpson and Marino are probably the two best ones because they've been in films: Marino in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Simpson in The Naked Gun. And the news.
As for golf, Manning plays off six-ish and Brady off eight, apparently. Both are clearly decent amateurs. Wait! I've heard of another NFL player: Tony Romo. Although only because he sometimes plays in professional golf tournaments.
Remind me, what happened the first time?
I really don't know the details, because like all sound-thinking people I did not watch it. Phil definitely won. '$9 million and a diamond-studded belt' according to Golf Digest. That will go well with the sofa, or perhaps even cover the cost of a new one.
Further reading reveals that Mickelson won after 22 holes, the 18-hole match having gone the distance and beyond. Remember that nine-hole play-off when Raphael Jacquelin won the Spanish Open? Or when Bernd Wiesberger and Benjamin Hebert managed to drag out their turgid play-off on that day when every other sport was showing off? The Match was like that, but worse. Everyone wanted it over.
In the end, Mickelson emerged triumphant and, while the money and the belt were both welcome, there was little doubt as to where he saw the real worth of this victory: bragging rights. "I will not ever let you live this one down," he teased. "I will bring it up every time I see you. I will wear this belt buckle every time I see you." That last claim will be put to the test on Sunday.
Already I can tell there's going to be some great banter
Going to be? Try 'there has already been', except they call it 'trash talk' in the United States of America. You can watch it all below, but in case you happen not to be a psychopath, allow me to summarise:
1) Brady is handsome, isn't he? Manning looks like Matthew Macfadyen's character in Succession (one of the great television characters of this century) after he's been told to lay low for a while.
2) Phil's very first entry into the conversation is 'This is the trophy for The Match, I don't know if you know what this looks like, Tiger.' Or words to that effect - I'm not watching it again. Just an example of the laughs they're having.
3) Tiger's reply is to grab his Green Jacket. Surely, he should've gone for the US Open trophy. Opportunity missed. Still, at least we can't see his trousers. Statistically, Tiger has awful taste in trousers.
4) Phil did a swear! Here we go lads.
5) Tiger has a border collie! He's changed.
6) Manning says 'you never know what you're gonna get', blissfully unaware he's doing so in precisely the same metre as Forest Gump from the film Forrest Gump. Except he's not talking about chocolates, he's talking about the weather in Denver.
7) I think the presenter thinks this is funnier than I think it is. Glass houses, you might say.
8) Wait, someone just made a joke about an arrest. I briefly thought it was to do with Tiger's DUI, which would've been... edgy. I don't think it was, though. Something about football.
9) Eight minutes in, Manning mentions the cause. Bravo sir.
10) Tiger delivers a really solid, 7/10 gag on 09:50. As Manning (he's a talker, our Manning) says he and Brady have a poor record together, Woods chimes in: 'Phil and I can relate to that, too!' Take that, Hal.
11) In fairness, the actual event cannot be any worse than this. That's what paying brand agencies can do for you. They know how the game is played.
12) Three out of four middle-aged men are wearing baseball caps indoors. Never lose sight of the real problem.
13) Manning hasn't done Zoom before, or else he's intentionally sabotaging this. Jesse Armstrong could write a brilliant Zoom scene, I'm sure.
14) Fourteen minutes in, the presenter brings it back to charity. Tiger describes sport as 'the ultimate reality show' (clearly, he didn't watch Fame Academy or early-years Big Brother) and is taking this far more seriously than the other three.
15) Quite a nice bit from Manning here about the power of sport. It's overplayed (see: polling) but he's summed things up eloquently. Someone, somewhere, will benefit from this. It won't be me, mind.
16) Brady's turn. If he has a golf spirit animal, it's Nick Watney. You'll have to take my word for that. I like both of them, anyway. Less sure about Manning. That's the brilliance of the character Tom Wambsgans, you see.
17) Here goes Manning again. I can see how the The Match is going to go. Never thought I'd say this, but can I hear more from Tiger please?
18) On balance, that wasn't quite as awful as I had feared, especially as Phil closes it out nicely. Still, 'Four icons, one place, one time' is a truly terrible tagline.
Go on then, give me more information please
Knew I could convince you. TV coverage in the UK comes via CNN (Sky channel 506). It's also on at 8pm on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, apparently. I must confess I'm a little bit worried about what 'truTV' might usually broadcast. I bet it has the suffix '-gate'.
Format-wise, it's best-ball on the front-nine (i.e. all four players play each hole, and the best score wins it for their team). On the back-nine, it's modified alternate shot: all four tee-off, then each team selects their preferred ball, and alternates from there.
In terms of levelling the playing field, the two NFL players get three shots each on the front-nine, at holes three, six, and eight. Given that Manning reportedly plays to around six and Brady to eight, they probably ought to be getting a couple of shots more from the professionals.
There will also be a set of on-course challenges to raise additional charitable funds, apparently. Something else to look forward to.
Should I bet on it?
No. Certainly not with any veneer of seriousness.
Where can I donate?
I've tried to find that out, without success. If you manage to watch, I'm sure there will be details. In the meantime, having poked fun at what is undeniably a positive thing, I really must share some links.
In the UK, the Red Cross have partnered with the National Emergencies Trust to raise money. Donate here. Also consider Unicef, who pledge to help children during this unprecedented crisis. Donate here.
Now, for The Match. While you're watching, don't forget to press mute and instead listen to the genuinely wonderful interview with Rory McIlroy. Had to get his name in here somewhere, didn't I?
More golf from Sporting Life
- Behind the data: Major expectations
- Talking Golf: Sarah Stirk
- Talking Golf: Nick Dougherty
- Talking Golf: Richard Kaufman
- Talking Golf: Sean Martin
- Shocks of the decade: 20-11
- Shocks of the decade: 10-1
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