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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson could play annual match with celebrity partners

You could come up with a long list of reasons for why “The Match” was such a massive success on Sunday, and a lot of that has to do with all that is going on in the world. Still, having Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson grab a celebrity partner and square off against one another is something that would always draw a big audience, which is why it could become an annual event.

With an average of 5.8 million viewers, Sunday’s match that pitted Woods and Peyton Manning against Mickelson and Tom Brady was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history. It also raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief. Plans are now in the works to do something similar every year, and Mickelson told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times that he already has some thoughts on who could partake in the future.

“I think you could showcase guys like Steph Curry and Michael Jordan or Tony Romo and Patrick Mahomes, who are all good golfers, elite talents and have great personalities,” Mickelson said. “Those personalities are going to come out with this event. Or you could have someone who loves the game and is competitive but is really entertaining like Larry David and Bill Murray. I think that could shine.”

Woods and Mickelson originally agreed to three separate events, according to Markazi. The first was in 2018, when they went head-to-head without partners. Bryan Zuriff, a film and TV producer who thought of the first event, said one of the issues with it was that Tiger and Phil are both pro golfers and stopped talking much down the stretch when their competitive natures took over. Having other athletes or celebrities join them helps with that, though Mickelson isn’t sure anyone will be better in that department than Brady and Manning.

“They were humanized with their golf game yet they were competitive and they were funny and entertaining. They let their sense of humor come out,” Mickelson said. “It’s about finding the right mix of those competitors and I don’t think we could get two better guys than who we had in Peyton and Tom. Going forward that will be the challenge. How do we improve on that?”

While future installments of “The Match” may not draw as many viewers, they would undoubtedly be a success. There are plenty of ways to liven up the broadcast no matter who is playing, and we saw several great examples of that on Sunday. Hopefully Tiger and Phil keep it going.

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