[caption id="attachment_299798" align="alignnone" width="1072"] (Photo: © Getty Images)
Last weekend gave us our first taste of golf since The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach was canceled in March at about the same time we learned there would be no NCAA tournament and all of our lives were going to be dramatically changed instantly. Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Matthew Wolff put on a very entertaining show, but now it is time for the two big kahunas to take center stage.
For the second time, we are getting a match between Tiger and Phil, but this time around they're throwing everyone a curve ball. Both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will be joining the party for 18 holes as we will get a team version of the special event. It all takes place this Sunday afternoon and there is a lot to cover before it gets here at 3 p.m. ET.
1) No Pay-Per-View
Bleacher Report has a streaming service, believe it or not, and that's what you had to go through on Thanksgiving Friday 2018 to watch Phil and Tiger go at it. It cost each television about 20 bones as the two legends played what many thought to be a pretty lame round of golf. This time around, however, you won't need to fork over the extra cash that is better to be used on your drink of choice or a nice little side bet.
Starting at 3 p.m. this Sunday afternoon, Turner is going all in on the coverage. TBS, TNT, TruTv and HLN will all carry the action as play-by-plan man Brian Anderson will be joined by Charles Barkley and two-time PGA Tour winner Trevor Immelman in the booth. Louisville native Justin Thomas
will serve as an on-course analyst alongside Amanda Balionis of CBS.
Doesn't look like this is going to be a rinky-dink production.
Due to the team alignment, you are going to see some different scoring methods as opposed to a typical weekend of watching professional golf. Plus you're adding in that Peyton Manning is playing at a 6 handicap while Tom Brady is rolling with an 8 and that can make things a little wonky. On Sunday, they'll be splitting the format between the front nine and back nine.
The first nine holes will be a "best ball" format, which is essentially playing a hole by default. If Tiger Woods birdies No. 1 while Peyton Manning records a bogey, his team will record the birdie in the scorecard. When the teams make the turn, it will switch to alternate shot and this is where things could get juicy. The teammates (Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning vs. Phil Mickelson/Tom Brady) will alternate shots each hole and should hopefully give us an exciting finish.
On that back nine, both Brady and Manning will be teeing off from a tee box closer to the hole while their handicap will bake into scores on the front nine. This could get a little confusing for the average golf fan, but hopefully the announcing teams will keep everyone up to speed.
3) This Is For Charity
The PGA Tour plans on restarting its season without spectators very soon so things will get a little bit back to normal when it comes to our golf viewing habits. However, this event is not a regular stop on the calendar, so the guys involved are trying to raise some money to go towards a good cause.
Tiger, Lefty, TB12 and Eli's brother will be taking the funds earned from the event and donating them to Coronavirus relief efforts. It is believed that the round of golf could bring in as much as $10 million, and that's good news for everyone.
With beautiful weather projections in the forecast, we are ready to rock and roll at the home course for Tiger Woods just outside Jupiter, Florida.
4) Peyton Is Better than Tom
For a very long time in the NFL, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were the biggest faces in the league and they had plenty of playoff matchups in both Indianapolis and New England. For years in many sports bars and fantasy football drafts across the world, people had the conversation on who was the best signal caller. Over time, Tom Brady built an impeccable resume that is still ongoing and he'll leave the game as the GOAT.
However, Manning may have him on the course.
The handicap is public with Manning having a clear edge and even Brady has admitted that the Tennessee alum is the better club swinger. We'll see if that remains the case when the competitive juices start flowing.
5) Expect Hiccups
Unlike a regular golf viewing experience, there won't be a large quota of shots for the television decision makers to choose from. The viewers will be locked in on one hole at a time and there will be plenty of dead time involved in the broadcast. Turner has experience from Tiger and Phil's first head-to-head contest, but there will still be a few wrinkles to iron out.
Expect crazy stories from Charles Barkley, a few side bets from the very rich competitors and plenty of oddly-timed advertisement readings. It will be a roller coaster ride that will hopefully pay off big in the final three holes.
As horse racing has showed us, the viewing public is starving for stuff to watch and risk money on. Churchill Downs will be running all weekend, but on Sunday you will also be able to make some plays on the golf tournament. With the growth of fantasy and sports gambling becoming less taboo, we've seen golf take a step forward, and The Match will provide plenty of opportunities for gamblers to scratch their itch.
Team Tiger is listed as a -220 favorite which essentially means that you would have to risk $220 to win $100. Team Phil is listed at +175 meaning that a $100 bet would win you $175. On Tiger's home course, he is the heavy favorite and his popularity is likely driving up this number. There could be some hidden value on Phil.
Prop bets have become one of the most popular things about Super Bowl week and every year a ton of people are heavily invested in how long the national anthem will go on. Covers.com is offering a few interesting things to wager on, such as if Tiger Woods will wear a red shirt (Yes: -300, No: +200). You can also bet on if there will be a playoff, and a hole-in-one would pay a very nice +950.
As far as best bets go, I'm rolling with Team Phil to be leading after three holes. There's some big time pressure on both Tiger and Manning due to this being Woods' home course and Peyton being the publicized better golfer. That gives an alley for plucky underdogs Mickelson and Brady to get off to a fast start. Over at Bovada, you can get this at +185 and get your Sunday off to a pretty good start.
On the course, be on the lookout for some side action with all four golfers. Filthy rich millionaires betting on golf is a tale as old as time.