Medalist Golf Club, Hobe Sound, FL—May 24, 2020
“The Match: Champions for Charity,” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady almost did not come off. Torrential rains in South Florida inundated the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, just north of Jupiter on the Atlantic Coast. Fortunately, the weather eased and the made for TV exhibition event kicked off. Tiger and Peyton were teamed against Phil and Tom.
The match played to benefit various Covid-19 relief charities guaranteed to raise at least $10 million dollars. Individual challenges throughout the match sent funds to player’s charities and bids on live auctions raised the total charitable donations.
The front nine was played in a “best ball” format with each player hitting their own ball and the better score of the two players recorded for the team. The golf professionals teed off from the back tees while the amateurs moved up to tees with 400 yards less distance over the 18 holes.
The rain was a factor all afternoon as players dodged intermittent showers that turned to downpours.
1st Hole 399 Yard Par 4
Off the 1st Tee, Tiger was the only player to find the fairway. The other three drove left of the sand trap lining the first hole. Mickelson was able to make the green in regulation out of the hazard. Tiger’s shot barely held the putting surface, no closer to the hole than Phil. Two putts for par by the professional golfers and the match started all-square.
2nd Hole 508 Yard Par 4
Tiger and Peyton both were on the green in two, Phil was over the back of the green but chipped close to the hole for a gimme. Payton two-putted for the par and the match remained tied.
3rd Hole 551 Yard Par 5
This hole was the long-drive competition for Tiger and Phil, while the quarterbacks each received a handicap stroke. Phil missed the fairway and Tiger bombed a drive down the middle to win the contest. Both Super Bowl winners needed more than a stroke to be competitive. Tiger overshot the green in two but got up and down to win the hole with a birdie. Woods and Manning 1 up.
4th Hole 184 Yard Par 3
Television color analyst, former NBA player Charles Barkley told Tom Brady he would personally donate $50,000 if the NFL great could hit the green with his tee shot. Brady, in the midst of a terrible round, failed badly. Peyton hit the green and made birdie to put Woods and Manning 2 up.
5th Hole 382 Yard Par 4
The 5th hole was designated to be played with a single club. Woods selected a 4-iron, Mickelson went with a 6-iron. PGA Professional Brooks Koepka one-upped Barkley by promising to donate $100,000 if Brady could par any hole on the front nine. The single club proved to be a challenge as bogies halved the hole. Woods and Manning still 2 up.
6th Hole 480 Yard Par 4
Tiger has not missed a fairway yet placing the ball in a good position to attack the 6th hole. Peyton follows suit, while Phil and Tom continue to struggle. All four golfers miss the green but have it surrounded. Tiger makes par with a tap in while Peyton adds to their lead with a net 3. Brady has still not parred a hole. Woods and Manning 3 up.
7th Hole 513 Yard Par 5
Again, only Tiger in the fairway and his 2nd shot reaches the green. Phil comes up just short out of a fairway sand trap. Tom Brady hits his 4th shot onto the green and it finds its way into the hole for a birdie costing Brooks Koepka $100 grand. Phil’s 3rd hits the pin but does not go in. Tiger misses his eagle putt when it lips out of the hole. Woods and Manning still 3 up.
8th Hole 171 Yard Par 3
A hole-in-one by a player on this par three is worth $25 million to their charity. Charles Barkley again challenges Brady to hit the green and take his $50,000 donation. Despite the great shot from the fairway into the hole on the 7th, Charles’s money is safe as Brady misses again. Phil and Peyton hit the green as Mickelson comes within 78 inches if the hole. Peyton makes par which results in a net 2, Phil sinks his birdie putt to halve the hole. Woods and Manning 3 up heading to the 9th.
9th Hole 468 Yard Par 4
Tiger and Phil stay in the fairway off the tee. Tiger’s 2nd catches the long sand trap to the right of the green, Phil is just short of the fringe in front of the green, but his putt drifts just left and he has to settle for par. Tiger gets up and down to halve the hole. At the end of the best ball segment, Woods and Manning close out the front nine 3 up.
10th Hole 478 Yard Par 4
The format now changes to a “modified alternate shot.” All players tee off and each team chooses the ball they want to play, players alternate shots until the ball is holed out. With the amateurs gaining a 76-yard advantage on this hole, Peyton hits the weeds, and Tom puts it in the fairway. Manning hits the green with shot two and it runs just off the back edge. Using Brady’s drive, Phil’s 2nd is pin high but down a slight embankment. Both teams are up and down for par. Woods and Manning 3 up.
11th Hole 330 Yard Par 4
Peyton hits his drive into the trees, so Tiger lays up with an iron to the fairway. Brady’s drive finds the short grass allowing Phil to go for the green on a reachable driving hole. His shot hits three feet from the pin and rolls to the back edge. Brady’s put rolls in for the eagle, negating a fine 2nd shot within feet of the cup from Manning. The comeback is on. Woods and Manning 2 up.
12th Hole 183 Yard Par 3
Tiger and Phil surround the pin while the football players miss the green. Manning’s birdie putt slides by the hole, while Brady’s lips out missing a chance to cut the lead by another hole. Woods and Manning 2 up.
13th Hole 631 Yard Par 5
Tiger and Phil bomb drives down the fairway. From 60 yards closer to the hole, Tom hits it out of play while Peyton gives his team a choice with one in the fairway. Tiger takes Peyton’s drive and puts the shot in the bunker right of the green. Tom hitting Phil’s drive leaves them with a middle of the fairway approach to the green.
Unfortunately, Phil’s shot bounces left of the green. However, Peyton cannot negotiate the sand trap, he flies the green and now both teams face and up and down attempt at par. The sky opens up in one of the hardest showers of the day. Tiger’s chip leaves Peyton a 10-foot putt for par and he misses. Phil can now win the hole with a putt just a few inches shorter. His putt slides by and another opportunity goes awry. Woods and Manning 2 up.
14th Hole 322 Yard Par 4
The rain lets up some, but the green is not reachable from the tee. So, all players lay up looking for good positions in the fairway. Phil hits Tom’s drive pin high, Peyton can only get Tiger’s drive to a landing spot left of the green where Tiger will have to negotiate a chip over the sand trap. Which he does perfectly within a few feet of the hole. The putt is not conceded as Manning will have to roll it in for par. He lips out while Phil’s short par putt is given. Things tighten up, Woods and Manning 1 up.
15th Hole 476 yard Par 4
The 15th is the amateur long drive hole. Brady wins, outdriving Manning by 1 yard. Phil and Tiger put their team’s 2nd shots on the green where the quarterbacks will have a putt off. Brady runs his long putt well past the hole, while Manning cozies up a gimme. Phil saves par to keep the match close. Woods and Manning 1 up with 3 holes to play.
16th Hole 183 Yard Par 3
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson agrees to donate 100,000 meals to Covid-19 relief for every shot within 12 feet. Brady, Manning, and Mickelson all cash in earning 300,000 meals. With Manning’s shot settling 17 inches from the cup. Phil knocks in a 6 footer for par to stay within reach. Woods and Manning remain 1 up.
17th Hole 538 Yard Par 5
The footballers only have a 36-yard advantage on this par 5, so they end up hitting both 2nd shots. Leaving the pros to attack the green. From virtually the same distance the professionals will have a chip-off, Phil has a better approach angle. Neither can hit it close to the hole. No birdies so the hole is halved. Woods and Manning 1 up with 1 to play.
18th Hole 446 Yard Par 4
Tiger and Phil find the fairway forcing Peyton and Tom to hit the 2nd shot to the green. Brady leaves his shot just short of the green, while Manning drops his on the putting surface. It will take some real Mickelson magic to extend the match. His pitch checks up just short of the hole. Tiger’s putt lags into gimmie range to secure the win.
While Mickelson made some clutch putts, Tiger was clearly the player of the match, consistently making the shots he and his team needed for the victory.
Over $20 million was raised for coronavirus charities during the course of “The Match.”