There had been whispers of such a tournament for months. In a sports-starved society amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, four of the most high-profile competitors across any sport are facing off for your entertainment, and to raise money for coronavirus relief. Bucs quarterback Tom Brady will pair off with former Arizona State Sun Devil Phil Mickelson and take on former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods, who needs no qualifier on May 24 for "The Match: Champions for Charity" golf tournament, another iteration of Capital One's "The Match" series at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, just outside of Palm Beach.
An accompanying $10 million donation to COVID-19 relief efforts was announced last week by Turner Sports, TNT will broadcast the tournament. The funding will go toward efforts like DirectRelief.org, which equips frontline workers with medical supplies, as well as the American Red Cross. It also includes a partnership with the Fanatics "All-In Challenge" for which both Brady and Manning are already participants. Brady's prize package of tickets to his first game as a Buccaneer, as well as the jersey off his back and dinner, fetched a challenge-high $800,000 at auction. Manning also auctioned off the opportunity to play golf with both him and his brother, Eli. The two with their accompanying Hall of Fame partners, will play a full 18-hole match with the first nine holes in a best-ball format and the back nine in a modified alternate-shot format at Medalist.
"Speaking for myself and the way the other three have engaged in some behind-the-scenes conversations about what our opportunity to do good is," Brady started. "I think that's at the core of what I think The Match is all about. I know it wasn't like that last year and as it played into this year, everybody felt like this was a moment in time to use the exposure that we can get for doing great things in communities that are really in need."
And while it may be for charity, with these four, you can bet the trash talk has already started. In fact, Brady may have kicked it off with this tweet.
Though Brady lamented his golf game is currently somewhere between 'piss-poor' and 'pitiful' after focusing most of his efforts this offseason on football and learning a new playbook, the foursome joked on a Zoom call with Bleacher Report. Mickelson suspects Brady is just being modest, and the lack of expectations could turn out to be a good thing.
"I have confidence in Tom," said Mickelson." I've seen him play some of his best golf when he wasn't expecting to play well. Sometimes expectations get in the way of performing well and so going in here to a foreign site on their home course without his A-game, would lead anyone to think that we wouldn't have much of a chance and I think we might even lull these two to sleep a little bit. We might even let them win a hole or two and get up early, try to lull them to sleep and then finish strong."
"I've been studying a lot of film and filming Peyton's rounds the last couple weeks, so I feel like I at least have a head start on that," Brady joked. "Part of it is the preparation and that gives you a lot of confidence. I feel like in two weeks when we actually start, I'm going to be prepared. I know what I'm going against and hopefully after Phil and I win, they don't go trying to change the rules on us or send the tapes into the NFL, I don't know if Peyton can still do that now that he's retired and try to change some of the rules to make it easier the next time."
Brady and Manning have actually played together as partners on the golf course many times before, according to Manning, so Brady has in fact, seen the two-time Super Bowl Champion play on the green.
"The last time we played, we got beat by an 84-year-old and a 77-year old," Manning admitted. "Like closed out on 15."
Brady shook his head in agreement. "Badly," he added.
"I've had some disappointing defeats, Tom hasn't had that many at all, but that was a tough one for both of us," Manning continued. "We're each kind of upgrading with our partners this time playing with Tiger and Phil."
The upgrade will also be in the impact this game will have on the community. "The Match" originally took place last year between Mickelson and Woods, with Mickelson taking home the trophy and purse. This time, it's all about raising money for relief efforts with various other challenges along the course implemented to raise additional money.
This comes after Brady's individual efforts for coronavirus relief that include a donation of 750,000 meals to Feeding Tampa Bay as well as an additional 750,000 to the Boston Food Bank from him and his wife, Gisele, along with his participation in an online charity poker tournament that raised millions for Feeding America.
Live coverage of "The Match" will be available on TNT, TBS and truTV. Each player will have open mics and be able to communicate with each other and broadcast commentators throughout the entire game, according to an article on PGATour.com. Additional digital coverage will be available on Bleacher Report and House of Highlights.