Manning and Woods Prevail Against Brady and Mickelson in Charity Contest

The second version of “The Match” – a charity event designed to raise funds by pitting individual golfing superstars against one another in a matchplay scenario – went off with a bang. The Match: Champions for Charity, was played a little differently to the first version which saw Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods lock horns head-to-head. This time around, both Mickelson and Woods had amateur partners – former NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. This pro-am setting was staged at the home golf club of Tiger Woods, the Medalist Golf Club in Florida.

It was an event that was stripped right back to the bare bones, with all players having to drive their own golf buggies with not a single caddie insight. The structure of “The Match 2: Champions for Charity” was a matchplay-style competition. The front nine holes was described as a “best ball” competition, with both teams taking the best score from each pairing. However, the back nine was an “alternating shot” competition, with all four players teeing off and each team then selecting their preferred shot from the lie of both balls and alternating shots from this position.

Mickelson, Brady, Manning, and Woods all agreed before the event to equally donate towards the $10 million charity purse, which will be shared across global relief efforts. As the action unfolded, it was clear that Brady and Manning were no rabbits with a golf club in their hand rather than a football. Tom Brady wowed the millions of golf and NFL fans watching worldwide by managing to hole a “miracle” 110-yard pitch from the fairway to the delight of the commentators. The ball pitched perfectly onto the green and held up, spinning backward into the hole.

Brady steals the show at the seventh hole

Remarkably, the 42-year-old will be donning his gridiron gear for yet another NFL season in 2020/21, after agreeing a new deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady’s arrival has already seen a huge uptake in NFL futures bets for those wishing to take a longer view on the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl prospects with Brady at quarterback. His ability to hole an incredible pitch from the fairway further served to underline the view that Brady is simply a great sportsman and can put his mind to anything he wishes to achieve. Brady’s sporting fairytale has seen ESPN seek to encourage him to partake in a documentary of his glittering NFL career, conducted in a similar fashion to the ‘Last Dance’ show celebrating the career of NBA icon Michael Jordan.

Despite Brady’s heroics on the 7th hole, he and Mickelson found themselves three holes down going into the back nine and the alternating shot holes. On the 11th hole, Phil Mickelson’s booming tee shot set up a perfect opportunity for Brady to hole an eagle putt to cut the Woods/Manning lead to just two holes. The pressure – and the inclement weather – appeared to affect the Woods/Manning team more so than Mickelson/Brady, as Manning allowed a gimme put to slip past the hole on the 14th and allow Mickelson/Brady to move to within one hole with four to play.

Team Mickelson/Brady unable to complete “Great Escape” comeback

Pixabay

On the penultimate hole, both Woods and Mickelson found the green from the tee to create instant birdie putt opportunities for Manning and Brady. Manning watched his putt slide to the right of the flag, leaving Brady with a chance to hole out and level the contest going into the final hole. However, the tension proved too much for Brady as he pushed it well beyond the pin, halving the hole in the process.

As the 18th hole commences, both amateurs have relatively solid fairway shots thanks to solid drives from Woods and Mickelson. Unfortunately for Brady, his approach shot falls more than six yards short of the green and Manning sees his effort land perfectly onto the green. Mickelson’s chip leaves their ball two feet short of the pin, handing Woods/Manning two bites at the cherry to hole their putt. Woods almost achieved it first time, falling a millimeter short, with Mickelson/Brady conceding defeat and handing bragging rights to Team Woods/Manning, with Woods proving his fitness after recent back troubles. Despite the disappointing weather on the back nine, it was still a hugely engaging sporting spectacle and one which managed to lift the doom and gloom at least for a few hours.

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