Beating Stephen Curry Isn’t Phil Mickelson’s No. 1 Goal in ‘The Match III’

As the only pro golfer in the foursome, Phil Mickelson will be the top performer in The Match III, the latest made-for-TV golf showdown. That’s not to say he’ll be the star. In fact, if all goes well for the three-time winner at The Masters, he’ll outperform Stephen Curry, Peyton Manning, and Charles Barkley, but the television audience will be more dazzled by the golf course.

‘The Match III’ features two new competitors

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The Match III begins at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, on TNT. Longtime PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson is partnered with Hall of Fame basketball player and TNT analyst Charles Barkley. They’ll take on current NBA star Stephen Curry and two-time Super Bowl championship quarterback Peyton Manning.

The four have selected a variety of Historically Black Colleges and Universities to benefit from donations and what figures to be a variety of on-course challenges put up by celebrities from the sports and entertainment worlds. To kick things off, Mickelson revealed a donation of $500,000 this week to Jackson State University in Mississippi.

The latest event is a sequel to The Match II, which was held in Florida in May during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as housebound Americans craved the chance to watch something other than Netflix. The cast that day featured Mickelson, Manning, Tom Brady, and Tiger Woods. Brady is otherwise occupied until the end of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season, and Woods is sitting this one out.

Phil Mickelson got involved in the business side of golf

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Before he became one of the most accomplished pros of his generation, Phil Mickelson was a successful college golfer at Arizona State. Mickelson won three straight NCAA Division I championships, matching the achievement of Ben Crenshaw.

Mickelson helped the Sun Devils to an NCAA team championship the same season that he won his first individual title, and he capped his year by becoming the first left-hander to win the U.S. Amateur. A year later, he won a PGA Tour event, the Northern Telecom Open in Tucson, while still an amateur.

Though born in San Diego, where he also attended high school, Mickelson continued to put down roots in Arizona even as he became a pro champion. Mickelson was recruited to Arizona State by coach Steve Loy. Later, the two went into business together with the formation of Mickelson Golf Properties.

Mickelson Golf Properties owns six courses in Arizona. One of them is the Stone Canyon Club in Oro, the site of The Match III, the made-for-TV event the day after Thanksgiving.

Phil Mickelson has a financial interest in ‘The Match III’ venue

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Phil Mickelson and Steve Loy, his college coach at Arizona State, bought the Stone Canyon Club in 2014 after the previous ownership experienced financial trouble. It is one of six private or public courses in the state owned by Mickelson Golf Properties, and it will get what amounts to an hours-long commercial during The Match III.

Upon taking ownership, the company built a new clubhouse and launched a housing development. According to Biz Tucson, Stone Canyon is one of the top courses in the state and has been ranked in the national top 100 by Golf Digest, but the Mickelson strategy for his courses includes making them less intimidating to a 12-handicapper. Stripping out a handful of bunkers and expanding the greens contributed to a positive experience that begins with the time between the first tee and 18th green and then continues.

“My big underlying theme is making golf an enjoyable experience where you want to spend more time at the club rather than hurry up and get back home,” Mickelson said. “I want your spouse or your family to want to come out and join you here, and then you end up spending six to eight hours here rather than trying to cut it short at three or four.”

If the experience is positive frequently enough, golfers might want to stay within a 3-iron of the course, and Mickelson Golf Properties has the bases covered there, too. The company developed The Golf Casitas at Stone Canyon, 28 residential properties intended for snowbirds to rent.

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