We had primetime golf on Monday evening as Max Homa, Lexi Thompson, Rose Zhang and Rory McIlroy competed in a skins game under the lights in West Palm Beach, Florida. Here’s what worked and what didn’t.


Max Homa – Max was predictably brilliant in this setting. His incredible wit and quick comebacks played so well with the booth. He understood the assignment. I hope Max decides to do television when his golf career is over. He’s the best candidate for a network booth role since Phil Mickelson.

Lexi Thompson – I thought she was the breakout star of this exhibition. Lexi’s team has spent years guarding her from anything that resembles a candid moment. They’ve closed the doors on interviews, media opportunities, and occasionally even press conferences after brutal losses. And then you get Lexi out in a golf cart being herself and it’s a home run. She was funny, she was honest, and she fit well into the back-and-forth with the other players. Her team needs to loosen the leash a bit and allow Lexi to be Lexi.

The Park – How fun was that golf course on television? Slopes, angles, and big fairways were great for this style of golf.

Barkley – Charles Barkley remains a national treasure. He’s a Hall of Fame basketball player with comedic timing good enough to consistently land jokes across thousands of hours of live television. Comedians that we love? They spend months working on material. Barkley’s jokes (“you might hit a skunk over there”) are off the cuff, raw, and hilarious.

Mixed-Gender Golf Events – More of these, please!


Time – My god did that thing go on too long! And this is on a Monday night with almost nothing else happening in the world of sports. I saw some smart golf people suggest that the Match would probably be best served as a pre-taped, packaged event, and while that takes away the live betting element and therefore major sponsorship money from sportsbooks, it’s absolutely the way to go moving forward. Edit it down to 90-120 minutes of action.

The Format – We get four of the biggest names in the sport in a mixed-gender competition for the first time in the Match, and they’re playing skins?! Pair these players up, especially if it’s mixed. Who doesn’t want to watch Rory and Lexi talking alternate shot strategy? Skins can and did drag. Team formats, meanwhile, help create a more compelling competitive dynamic.

DJ Khaled – I’d like to preface this by admitting something: DJ Khaled will do more for golf than I ever will. His interest in the game is impactful in a lot of ways. But my goodness, let’s keep him far away from the actual broadcasts. He didn’t add any value, and his presence robbed us of Paul Bissonnette being able to be Paul Bissonnette, which I was excited about.

The One-Club Challenge – I’m all for silliness to break up traditional golf, but the one-club challenge adds to the slog of these types of matches. These are four of the best golfers in the world. You don’t see NBA All-Star weekend have a wrong-handed jumpshot competition, or the NFL forcing quarterbacks to throw blindfolded during the Pro Bowl. Why handcuff the best golfers in the world?

(Image courtesy John Nowak/TNT Sports)

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