Golf

Masters To Disasters: Phil Mickelson Will Follow Augusta With 18 Holes With Charles Barkley

The nicest thing you’ll hear anyone say about Charles Barkley’s golfing ability is that he tries hard. Nevertheless, Sir Charles will be part of the foursome with Phil Mickelson playing in the third edition of the “The Match,” a made-for-TV event scheduled for two weeks after The Masters Tournament.

The Match: Tiger Woods and Tom Brady are out, Stephen Curry is in

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Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning played a charity golf match last May 24 as a sequel to the one-on-one battle between Woods and Mickelson in 2018. The made-for-TV event provided a respite from boredom for sports fans at a time when nearly everything was still shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The charity match, played in a two-man best-ball format, took place in the rain at Medalist Golf Club in Florida. There has not been a site announced for the “three-quel,” but Sportico.com reports that the cast of characters has changed – highlighted by the addition of one of Charles Barkley, the biggest characters in sports.

Brady is predisposed this fall while quarterbacking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tiger Woods also will not be participating, according to the report. Instead, Mickelson and Manning will be joined by Barkley and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry on Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving. The site and TV details have not been announced, but The Match of a product of Turner Sports.

The event is scheduled for less than two weeks after the Nov. 15 conclusion of the Masters, which was pushed back nearly seven months because of the pandemic.

Normally, Curry and Barkley would be busy with basketball in late November. However, the projected start of the next NBA season has been pushed back to January as the league hopes to be able to play in home arenas in front of at least a limited number of fans.

Charles Barkley is a hacker, but Stephen Curry is quite good

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The latest iteration of The Match will be hard-pressed to rival the unintentional humor of Tom Brady splitting his pants while holing out from the fairway for a birdie.

Then again, Charles Barkley should be good for at least a dozen outlandish comments over the course of 18 holes. That should help draw attention away from the fact that Barkley, who offered commentary during the May event from a remote location, has a tortured swing and will be the least competitive golfer in the foursome.

On the other hand, Stephen Curry is quite good. A year ago, Golf Magazine rated the Golden State Warriors guard the best golfer in the NBA. He carries a nearly scratch handicap, has played some minor-tour events with sponsors exemptions, and has a line of golf apparel as part of a deal with Under Armour.

Figure on Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley teaming up

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Turner Sports doesn’t have much time left to finish pulling together The Match 3, and three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson figures to be preoccupied with preparing for the latest test at Augusta National to help much with promotion.

Although college and pro football will presumably still be going in late November, there won’t be much else competing for eyeballs with the made-for-TV golf event. Despite a 45-minute rain delay, the show in May averaged 5.67 million viewers and a 3.4 household rating, which Sportico.com said was the most-watched golf telecast ever on cable TV.

Barkley’s at-times outlandish personality alone figures to make this one worth watching. Given his marginal ability on the course, it seems likely the TNT basketball analyst will be paired with Mickelson, the only actual pro golfer, to take on Peyton Manning and Stephen Curry.