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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Golf

TV ratings for ‘The Match’ set new cable record

Whatever you think of the entertainment value of “The Match,” it’s pretty clear that it was a huge ratings winner for TNT.

Sunday’s charity golf match pitted Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. It attracted 5.8 million viewers, and according to TNT, that’s a new cable record for a golf telecast.

Pairing two of the most well-known golfers in the world with two of the most iconic quarterbacks of their generation and having them play golf is a big ratings win when the rest of the sports world is shut down. It got plenty of people talking and was entertaining in its own way, particularly the banter between the competitors.

Perhaps people wanted to see Tom Brady look human, which he did for much of the first half of the round. Ultimately, he got the last laugh, even if he and Mickelson lost by a stroke.

Video: Justin Thomas calls Charles Barkley a ‘fat a–‘ on live TV

There was plenty of friendly trash talk exchanged during “The Match” on Sunday, but the best of it did not come from the golfers. Believe it or not, Justin Thomas may have taken that honor.

Thomas joined the TNT broadcast as a special guest analyst for the charity match that pitted Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Charles Barkley was also part of the production, and Thomas and Barkley had a hilarious exchange at one point when Chuck said he wasn’t impressed by a beautiful bunker shot from Woods.

“I don’t know what y’all are so excited about,” Barkley said of the shot. “He’s a golf pro. You don’t see me get excited when a guy dunks a ball.”

Thomas, who of course is also a pro golfer, couldn’t let it slide. He fired back at Barkley by telling Sir Charles he would “love to see your fat a– try to dunk a ball right now.”

We originally thought Manning might win the award for best smack talker with the way he heckled Brady on the driving range, but Thomas came out of nowhere when he roasted Barkley. We didn’t know J.T. had that in him.

Video: Tom Brady holes out with incredible shot, splits his pants

Tom Brady played miserable golf for six-plus holes during “The Match” on Sunday, but the four-time Super Bowl MVP came roaring back just as many people were giving up on him.

After spraying the ball all over the course and looking completely overmatched, Brady holed out for birdie with an incredible approach shot on the 7th. The shot didn’t look lucky either. It took two hops on the green and spun beautifully into the hole.

How excited was Brady? So excited that he appeared to split his pants right down the seam while bending over the retrieve his ball from the cup.

Brady had quickly become a laughing stock before dunking that shot. At one point during the TNT broadcast, Charles Barkley offered to donate $50,000 to charity if Brady hit a green on a par-3. Brady missed badly. Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka then said he would donate $100,000 if Brady made a par on the front nine, and the chances of that happening looked slim for a while.

Koepka was happy to put up the $100K after Brady’s amazing shot, and he offered the 42-year-old a chance to double it.

Brady was so bad for the first several holes that even Sean Payton ruthlessly trolled him on social media. The hole out for birdie could not have come at a better time. Apparently it is unwise to count Brady out even on the golf course.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Peyton Manning hilariously explains why he didn’t wear red with Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is famous for wearing red on Sundays, and he did so during Sunday’s “The Match” charity game. His partner, Peyton Manning, did not.

Manning, it turns out, had a good reason to avoid the black and red look. He said during an interview that he was asked if he wanted to match with Woods, but declined for a simple reason: he couldn’t be seen wearing Georgia colors.

Manning, of course, is one of the most famous alumni of Tennessee, an SEC rival. No chance is he going to be caught on national television in Georgia’s black and red.

The former Colts and Broncos quarterback has delivered some of the more memorable lines of the match. This is just another.

Weather delay pushes back ‘The Match’ by nearly an hour

The highly-anticipated charity match pitting Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady was all set to go Sunday, but the Florida weather wasn’t cooperating.

“The Match” was set to tee off at 3 p.m., but heavy rain at the Medalist Golf Club meant the match had to be delayed. It was not a light rain either, and there was no chance of playing through the significant downpour.

Mickelson finally teed off at 3:49 after a lengthy delay. However, the threat of rain is expected to continue throughout the afternoon. If the weather were to force a postponement, the foursome will try to play again on Monday.

The problem is that the forecast isn’t much better Monday. According to weather.com, the chance of rain on the Florida coast Monday is 100 percent, with locally heavy downpours.

Even though we don’t quite know when things will be able to get started, it hasn’t stopped the friendly banter between Brady and Manning.

Phil Mickelson shares hilarious strategy for winning ‘The Match’

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson was as confident as ever heading into the second installment of “The Match” on Sunday, and you will understand why when you hear the complicated yet fantastic formula he came up with for him and Tom Brady to defeat Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning.

Not long before Mickelson, Brady, Manning and Woods teed it up at Medalist Golf Club, lefty shared a video explaining the key to victory. He said it will be crucial to hit “bombs” and “hellacious seeds.” Only Phil can explain the rest.

With professional sports on hiatus, the star-studded match has been one of the most highly anticipated events of the year for fans. The trash talk has also been phenomenal, which was to be expected. If Phil and Brady can hit “bombs” and “hellacious seeds,” they’re going to be very tough to beat.

NASCAR, golf return in some fashion and give fans a welcome show

We are nearing two months or more of a shutdown and lockdown intended to flatten the curve amid the coronavirus pandemic, and various local governments are beginning to ease restrictions. Accordingly, we are starting to see a limited return of live televised sports.

On Sunday, NASCAR returned to competition with the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway, which was won by Kevin Harvick. The event lacked fans, included a limit on staff and team members, and involved temperature checks.

Watching the race without fans made it seem more like a practice, but the stakes being real reminded viewers that the event counted.

The biggest takeaway from the event was the positive psychological effect it had on the participants, and likely the fans as well.

“I was up this morning at 6 a.m., pacing around my porch trying to decide when I was going to leave. I was excited to get back in the car,” Harvick said.

NASCAR executive Steve O’Donnell shared a similar thought, though he noted the lack of fans left a void.

“As far as the vibe in the garage area, I think everyone’s spirits were really, really high,” O’Donnell said. “They all knew the effort that this took collectively to pull this off. This was not easy, but everybody came together in a real spirit of collaboration. It was odd just with limited number of people here and when you look up into the stands, you certainly miss the fans, that vibe, that energy.”

The race also marked the returns of Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman. This was Newman’s first race since his big crash at the Daytona 500 in February.

The press box was spaced out to follow social distancing protocol, providing for a weird sight.

The PGA Tour is set to return to competition in June, but on Sunday, fans got to see some of their favorite players in action.

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson teamed up to face Matthew Wolff and Rickie Fowler in a charity event called the TaylorMade Driving Relief at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida.

Players carried their own bags to limit the amount of people involved, the announcers were 200 miles away, and Mike Tirico hosted the event from his home office. The players wore microphones, but more talking from them would have been nice to liven up the program.

All together, over $5 million was raised in the skins game.

“It was an awesome day,” McIlroy said. “It was nice to get back on the golf course and get back to some sort of normalcy.”

Sports on TV probably won’t feel completely normal until fans are present, but for now, we are making the best of situations. Athletes being able to participate in events in some fashion is a good step, and having something to watch is a positive development for fans.

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