The Match is very much on.
A day after an announcement confirming that Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning would play a televised golf match to benefit the COVID-19 relief effort—officially called The Match: Champions for Charity— Woods spoke in further detail about the event, which is scheduled for some time in May.
While he stopped short of giving a date, location or format for the match, Woods did confirm that it will be two-man teams, and that he and the two-time Super Bowl champion Manning will play against Mickelson and Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the Patriots before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March.
“It’s gonna be Peyton and I against Tom and Phil, and we’re gonna have a great time doing it,” Woods told our Henni Zuel. “All the money and proceeds are going to go to all the COVID relief efforts. We haven’t decided exactly what charities we’re going to be donating the money to, but we’re gonna be divying it out to a lot of different causes.”
Don’t mistake the benevolent nature of the event as reason to believe there won’t be trash talk. When you bring together legends as accomplished as this foursome—who have combined to win eight Super Bowls and 20 major championships—there will always be trash talk. And it’s already started in one very star-studded group text.
“There has been a little bit of trash talk already, a little bit of banter back and forth,” Woods said. “Whether it’s ‘I might need extra caddies to carry my Super Bowls,’ because he has more Super Bowls than my partner. Or, ‘I’ve got more majors than Phil, so I’m gonna have to have a truck come up to the first tee and U-Haul it out.
“We’ve had banter back and forth, and it’s been fantastic. But it’s typical us, it’s what we do. We like to give out the needle, and to give out the needle you gotta be able to take it. It’s been fun, and it’ll be like that when we play, when we compete. There will be banter back and forth, but it won’t be as rough as what we have in our text exchange.”
This will be the second time in that last three years that Woods and Mickelson have faced off in a made-for-TV exhibition. Mickelson beat Woods in extra holes to win The Match, and take $9 million off his longtime rival-turned-buddy, in November 2018 at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.
That face-off was about promoted largely as a lucrative gambling event—the broadcast featured live odds and challenges for extra cash—and was met with mixed reviews. This, Woods said, will strike a different tone.
“Yes, we’re gonna have a great time,” Woods said. “But at the end of the day, you have to understand why we’re coming together. We’re coming together to help other people.
“This is different than what Phil and I did two years ago, playing our match in Vegas. That was he and I just having a great time, trying to showcase golf in a different way. We’re coming together to showcase golf in a different way, but it’s about charity. That’s the reason why we’re all doing this.”
Both players will need to receive clearance from the PGA Tour for the event to go forward, which was also the case for The Match in Las Vegas. Should they get that approval, the event will be broadcast live on TNT and will help fill a sports void caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The PGA Tour has not held an event since the Players Championship was canceled on March 13, though the Tour did announce last week that it plans to resume on June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.