Regardless of the outcome of the match or the quality of the golf played, Sunday’s charity showdown between Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning and Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady figures to be good fun and a great show.
It is, after all, live golf featuring the biggest stars of this generation in golf and football at a cool golf course, Medalist, that boasts some of the biggest names on the PGA Tour as members … and it’s set to raise some $10 million for COVID-19 relief.
Add to that the curiosity factor of seeing Brady and Manning, out of their sporting element, play golf with Woods and Mickelson, should be pure, raw entertainment.
Some spirited, if salty, banter among the four players, all of whom will be mic’d up for the match.
If there could be one complaint about last Sunday’s COVID-19 relief charity match between Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson playing Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, it was that the mic’d up banter between them fell surprisingly flat.
When Woods and Mickelson faced each other in that mano-a-mano $9 million winner-take-all match in November 2018, the two players were mic’d up, but the back-and-forth was more awkward than entertaining — particularly as Mickelson took the lead on the back nine and Woods, grinding to stay in the match, clammed up.
If the weeks and days leading up to Sunday’s match are any indication, there could be some colorful needling among the players at Medalist.
Mickelson, after all, carries one of the sharpest needles on the PGA Tour, and Manning is highly underrated for his comedic appeal, having successfully hosted “Saturday Night Live’’ back in the day and currently hosts the entertaining “Peyton’s Places” shorts on ESPN.
Woods is more guarded with his barbs, but has an understated way about getting his points across. Of the four participants, Brady probably comes off as the most serious, so his contribution to the banter is less certain.
In an interview with The Post this past week, he was jumping out of his skin over the phone with his smack talk, taunting Woods in particular.
“I’m excited to go to Tiger’s home course,’’ Mickelson said. “He was insistent on us doing this at his home course. He was not happy about losing the first time [in Las Vegas]. And he wants to win badly the second time, so much so that everyone else wanted to play elsewhere and he insisted that we do it at his home course. That just makes me and Tom more motivated to go to his home course and beat him.
“Tiger thinks he has a huge advantage playing there. That’s fine. We’ll take it to him and Peyton, and there will be no excuses. Tom and I are going to go down there and put it to them. We’ll make it so that every time Tiger shows up at his home course, he’ll have a bad memory.”
“We should absolutely be underdogs,’’ he said. “We’re going to be at Tiger’s home course, and you’ve got Peyton [two] shots lower than Tom on his handicap. … So absolutely, they should be favored, but that motivates Tom and I even more. They’ll have no excuses when we dominate them.’’
In a recent TV interview with the four players to promote the event, when Mickelson bragged about his $9 million win in Vegas, Woods got up from his chair and fetched the green jacket from his fifth Masters victory (Mickelson has three) and jokingly used it as a blanket.
Let’s hope for more of that Sunday. Mickelson appears poised to provide it. Hopefully Woods will bring his sharp-tongued A game.
“Phil thrives in the smack-talking repartee,’’ Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee told The Post this past week. “He loves to get the needle in, so I suspect Phil will be the one that needles the most.’’
“Throughout my life watching Tiger, listening to him and even playing against him, I’ve always been amazed at how humble he is,’’ Chamblee said. “He’s never really talked smack. He doesn’t walk around like a peacock, doesn’t big-time players. By all comparisons, he’s been pretty darned humble. Tiger has never needed to needle.’’
Hopefully, Woods and the rest of the players will use the needle generously on Sunday. It’ll only add to what already figures to be a fun watch.
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Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, PGA TOUR
World news – GB – Trash talk would take Woods-Manning vs. Mickelson-Brady to epic level