We’re so excited to talk about The Match II that this intro paragraph is over.

News and updates

  • Yesterday at a soggy Medalist Golf Club, Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning took on Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in The Match: Champions for Charity. It was a well-executed piece of entertainment, and it raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief. Recap below.
  • Professional golfers from foreign countries have been cleared for travel to the United States by the Department of Homeland Security. If they so choose, international PGA and LPGA Tour players may return this summer for competition. Full Story from Brentley Romine
  • The PGA Tour is “highly encouraging” members to use its chartered flights when play resumes two weeks from now. The planes will keep middle seats open and require passengers to wear face masks. Still, with only 114 seats available on each flight, there will inevitably be players and caddies looking for other modes of transportation. Full Story from Rex Hoggard

The Storylines

What we liked/disliked: The Match II

After a 45-minute rain delay, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady put on a show at Medalist. Tiger and Peyton held on for a well-deserved 1-up victory in the dark, but (apologies for what we’re about to say) the viewers were the real winners.

Seriously, the format worked, the banter worked, the telecast worked, and the quality of the golf alternated between charmingly bad and surprisingly good. Let’s break it all down…

Liked: Format and fundraising – The biggest differences between Match I and Match II were the team concept and the charitable focus. Brady and Manning shouldered some of the conversational load, which allowed Tiger and Phil to relax and be themselves. Everyone, including the broadcast team, seemed to be having fun. Whereas the commentary for the 2018 match centered on the $9-million prize, yesterday’s event felt freer and less forced, and it contributed to a great cause.

Liked: Golf – For the first several holes, Tom Brady’s play was entertainingly putrid. He had a two-way miss going, and his short game was a mixture of chili dips and hosel-adjacency. As the internet skewering reached its peak, the new Bucs QB holed out from the 7th fairway. And when he picked his ball out of the cup, his pants split. I mean, golf.

Liked: Phil Mickelson’s short-game lessons – On the 2nd hole, Phil faced a tricky chip shot, and on-course commentator Justin Thomas asked him about his thought process. Phil never turns down such an opportunity. He discussed the grain and slickness of the grass in front of him, described what kind of shot he wanted to hit and why, and executed it almost perfectly. Awesome.

Liked: Tiger’s game – Tiger Woods was locked in at his home course. He striped it off the tee, made a great up-and-down from a bunker on the 9th hole, and carried himself with confidence. The time off appears to have done him some good. Let’s hope he has a healthy summer.

Disliked: Gimme selection – Something was fishy about the putts given in the middle stretch of the match. Tiger and Peyton were 3 up at the turn and started giving Phil and Tom some longish putts for halves. As a result, Phil and Tom stayed just 2 down. Then on the 14th hole, Manning had to putt a three-footer. He missed, narrowing the margin to one hole. On No. 17, Tom Brady left a lag at least five feet short, and Phil just picked it up. The obvious intention was to make sure the match reached the 18th hole, and it felt contrived.

Liked: Manning’s wit – We expected Peyton to bring the lighthearted vibes, and he delivered. His easygoing presence allowed the dynamic between players to feel more organic than it did in the first match. It was four guys having fun rather than two superstars cashing in.

Disliked: Bumping Barkley – With darkness falling, Charles Barkley wasn’t able to play the 18th as the fifth member of the group. Instead, TNT filmed him hacking his way up the hole earlier and played the tape after the match. While we enjoyed the battle down the stretch, it would have been fun to see Chuck interact with Tiger, Phil, Manning, and Brady. Next time.

Liked: Alternate shot – The modified alternate-shot format on the back nine suited Phil’s talents and enabled him and Brady to make their charge. The best-ball nine was good, too—it really highlighted the contrast between the pros’ and the ams’ games—but seeing the teams work together was a lot of fun. And things started moving quicker, too.

LOVED: The telecast – Turner Sports nailed it. Brian Anderson, Trevor Immelman, and Amanda Balionis provided enough commentary but were never intrusive. Charles Barkley and Justin Thomas, who played off each other well, offered both comic relief and genuine insight. JT was particularly good; he seemed strikingly at ease for a first-time on-course reporter. Above all, the broadcast team kept their mouths shut when the players were talking. It appears that, between the 2018 match and this one, the network listened, learned, and improved. Imagine that!

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Shotgun Start: “This one’s for you, Workday!”

A smiling Brendan and Andy hop on the horn and chat about all things Match II in what was a great day for golf in the spotlight. They review the all four players, the broadcast, Medalist, and the prospects for more of these in the future. How did this capture such a wide swath of the sports world’s attention and have what seemed to be a unanimous approval rating? Tom Brady’s struggles are explored with great depth and revelry. They debate his worst shot and also marvel at his hole-out birdie in the midst of what seemed to be his worst stretch. Andy argues Tiger’s play wasn’t as good as the breathless reactions on Twitter and elsewhere were making it out to be. There’s also an argument made that Peyton outplayed Phil through the front nine. Justin Thomas’s work is praised as well as Charles Barkley’s and they ponder what this should mean, if anything, for the traditional broadcast. Does the success of this Match give the PGL any newfound juice and appeal as some sort of stripped down professional product? They close with apologies about the hats and promise more coming soon. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Coffee Monday

The comedown from the match at Medalist hit us like a ton of bricks. If you’re suffering this morning, make sure to stock up on the Shotgun Start Blend from Bixby Coffee! Get your bag today!