In November 2018, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods faced-off in one of the most lucrative head-to-head match play golf events in the history of the sport. The Match: Tiger Vs Phil was staged in Las Vegas, USA, with a prize purse of US$9 million for the winner. The event was eventually broadcast for free to golf fans worldwide, resulting in a major spectacle. As most fans of big Phil will know, Mickelson eventually prevailed, brushing Tiger aside in their 22nd and fourth playoff hole.
Now it appears the duo are preparing to return to the fairways for The Match round two. This time, it will all be in the name of charity. The Match: Champions for Charity will see Mickelson and Woods lock horns but this time in a pro-am format. Mickelson is set to team up with NFL quarterback legend Tom Brady, with Tiger Woods partnered by fellow NFL quarterback icon Peyton Manning. The showdown, which will see the quartet collectively donate $10 million towards the COVID-19 relief efforts in the US, is to be staged at the Medalist Golf Club in Florida’s Hobe South.
With the event scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend of Sunday May 24, it has already captured the imagination of the sportsbooks, with the likes of Fanduel and 888sport running golf markets on The Match action, giving the Woods/Manning pairing early favoritism. The competition is also due to be broadcast across TBS and TNT throughout, which should certainly ramp up the interest.
The match play will consist of 18 holes – unless a playoff is required – with nine holes of best ball and nine holes of modified alternate shot play. The playful trash talking has already begun between messrs Mickelson and Woods. Phil took part in an online advertisement for The Match: Champions for Charity by showcasing the trophy he won against Woods in the original event in 2018.
According to golf odds expert Jeff Sherman, the volume of wagers likely to be placed on this year’s The Match: Champions for Charity could be four times the amount staked on the original version of The Match. Sherman said that the previous event yielded volumes akin to a “good NBA game”, but this time around the betting interest is likely to be heightened given the current lack of professional sport on offer.
Sherman also delved deeper into the golfing talents of both Brady and Manning, who are no mugs around a golf course. Sherman believes Brady plays off an eight handicap, while Manning plays off a six handicap, which probably explains why the Woods/Manning duo have been given the slight edge over Mickelson/Brady in the betting markets.
Both Brady and Manning have also partaken in a spot of trash talking in the build up to the match. Brady has joked that he is “happy” to be facing Peyton Manning and not his brother, Eli. Meanwhile Manning has intimated that the choice of venue for the event plays into Brady’s hands and that it would have been better to be staged somewhere that people “don’t like him” such as Indianapolis and Denver. Either way it promises to be a fun sporting spectacle that will provide a much-needed form of escapism for fans in these difficult times.