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|What||The Match II: Champions for Charity|
|Where||Medalist Golf Club, Hope Sound, FL|
|When||Sunday, 24 May 2020, 3:00 PM TNT, TBS, truTV, HLN|
|How to watch||TNT, TBS, truTV, HLN|
After Phil took down Tiger in the first running of The Match – that one at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas at the end of 2018 – the two lock horns again but this time on the east coast.
And the head-to-head has now become a pairs shootout with Peyton Manning joining Woods and Mickelson teaming up with Tom Brady.
The two NFL quarterback legends are familiar faces on the golf pro-am scene with Manning a 3.5 handicapper, who once shot a 5-over 77 at Augusta National (he’s a member there), and Brady playing off 8 according to Golf Digest.
There’s a switch-up in the format too with a four-ball better ball on the front nine before greensomes on the back. In greensomes, all four players tee off and then the two teams play alternate shots from the selected drive.
|Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning||-225|
|Phil Mickelson/Tom Brady||+175|
Woods and Manning are the clear favorites for victory and there’s a simple reason why.
Woods is 50 places higher up the world rankings than Mickelson (11th v 61st) while Manning, on the evidence we have, is a better golfer than Brady.
However, it hasn’t been lost on Phil that he won the first match (on the fourth play-off hole) in 2018 and he’s goaded Tiger about it in the build-up, claiming that he can defy the odds once more.
Note that some bookies have prop bets too. DraftKings Sportsbook, for example, is offering odds on which team will lead at 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 holes while you can bet on which hole the match will be won.
Although both Woods and Mickelson grew up in California, Tiger has made Florida his home for over 20 years.
Phil, who went to college in the desert (Arizona), had a slight local edge last time, with the first match taking place out west in Las Vegas.
But this time, Woods has a very obvious advantage. Not only is he a Florida resident, the venue – Medalist – is his local golf course and he’s been grooving his game there during recent weeks with the par 72 staying open during the lockdown.
Woods has always had a stellar record in Florida (three wins and a second in his last 11 starts there) while Phil has never been as comfortable on the bermudagrass and traditionally struggles in the Sunshine State. In fact, he’s missed his last four cuts in Florida.
While maybe not at Michael Jordan levels, Phil Mickelson loves to talk trash and relishes these types of contests when true tournament pressure is off.
The left-hander has made a habit of playing pairs matches with big-name rivals to get his juices flowing between PGA Tour events and, although it was hardly a classic, let’s not forget that, as the underdog, he beat Tiger at Shadow Creek in the first contest.
Tiger, by contrast, was born and conditioned to compete when the stakes are highest. He lives and breathes tournament golf and practice matches are a means to an end. In that sense, is the competitive beast in him genuinely stirred by events like this? He may also talk a good game but he looked flat in the first match and there’s a risk that a format like this is more natural territory for Mickelson.
As multi-major winners – Tiger has 15 and Phil five – both men are used to being the dominant partner when playing in a pairs format.
Looking at their records in team play and, surprisingly, Woods has an overall losing record across Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup (31-35-2). Or should we be surprised given that there is an ‘I’ in Tiger but not one in the team?
Phil, by contrast, has felt more at ease when part of a unit, Lefty owning a winning record (37-29-16) in team events.
That said, what about the old saying that you’re only as strong as your weakest link? With a version of alternate shot in play on the back nine, Brady (Phil’s partner) may be more exposed. Then again, if he does put Mickelson in difficult spots, no-one loves playing Houdini shots more than Phil.
WSN Pick: This is a tough call. Woods has a home advantage but Mickelson is better at this style of golf. As with The Match 1 and last week’s TaylorMade Driving Relief, this could go beyond the 18th hole and it may just pay to side with underdogs Mickelson and Brady.
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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