In what is becoming less of a one-off event and more of a recurring special, The Match: Champions for Change (a.k.a. The Match III) will feature four all-time great athletes (and personalities) in an 18-hole battle at The Stone Canyon Golf Club in Arizona. This time, Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley will team up against Stephen Curry and Charles Barkley in the modified alternate shot match play format.
The Match III will be held on Friday, Nov. 27 and begin at 3 p.m. ET on TNT. It will feature all the goodies we’ve come to enjoy at events like these, including golf cart cameras, microphones everywhere and plenty of interviews throughout the day.
The entire thing should be slightly more laid back than the first two editions — both of which featured Tiger Woods — but will also serve to raise money for HBCUs while also highlighting diversity and equality. The whole show should be a nice post-Thanksgiving capper on a week with no PGA Tour golf.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect on Friday.
Wait, where’s Tiger?
It’s a good question with an intriguing answer. The Match executive producer Bryan Zuriff told CNBC that it might not necessarily be a bad thing that Woods is not involved this time around. I don’t know that he wasn’t invited — given his draw, I’m sure he was — but it’s maybe not the place where his gifts can best shine. “I think it’s more than just golf,” he said, “and Tiger is the greatest golfer of all time. But to spend three hours with these guys in the golf carts where they should open up, you don’t get that with Tiger.”
Wait, Charles Barkley?
Barkley has been involved in the broadcast for the first two of these, but now he’s teaming up with Mickelson, who said recently that they have some “Chuck tees” at The Stone Canyon Golf Club. Barkley guaranteed a victory, but the format could be problematic for him if Mickelson has to rely on Chuck at all in the alternate shot format. His long — and often hilarious — history with golf should lend itself to some terrific television, but I’m not sure it’s going to result in a victory.
“We’re losing maybe the greatest golf of all-time for maybe the worst of all-time,” Zuriff told CNBC.
Where is the money going?
In May, The Match II raised over $20 million for COVID-19 relief. This time around, universities like Morehouse College, Howard, Alabama A&M, Hampton and Winston-Salem State will be the recipients of money from WarnerMedia. Also, there will be on-course competitions (i.e. hole-in-one contests) for money to go to these universities, and the golfers have all teamed up with a school to donate to.
- Phil Mickelson: Jackson State
- Charles Barkley: Tuskegee
- Steph Curry: Howard
- Peyton Manning: Grambling State, Southern University at New Orleans and Lane College
Curry previously provided enough money to Howard to operate a men’s and women’s golf program for six years.
Should we expect this every Thanksgiving?
It’s starting to sound like it. The first edition of this event — Mickelson against Woods — happened on Black Friday in 2018, but the event was skipped last year before reappearing in May to help out with COVID-19 relief. It does sound like it will be a rotating cast of characters on Thanksgiving moving into the future, which should help keep it fresh and fun as long as there are microphones and cameras all over the place.
TNT will televise the event at 3 p.m., and there will be a ton of folks broadcasting, including Brian Anderson, Trevor Immelman, Andre Iguodala, Cheyenne Woods, Gary McCord, Cari Champion, Eli Manning and Michelle Wie. The B/R Live application will have a cart cam going the entire time, and the pregame show begins at 2 p.m.
Curry and Manning are -170 favorites over Mickelson and Barkley, who are +140 to win, according to William Hill Sportsbook. I would imagine this is the first time ever (?) a five-time major winner has been an underdog to two non-professional golfers, but that’s the effect of Barkley being on your squad.
I said on the First Cut Podcast recently that Manning and Curry are probably swinging it as well as Mickelson is right now, which is … mostly a joke. I do want to pick Mickelson and Barkley because I’m getting a five-time major winner at plus odds against two non-pros, but Barkley is going to be a problem. I know Curry is legit, and Manning showed out pretty well in May at the match with Woods. I’ll reluctantly pick those two to win even if it feels a bit like a sucker bet. Pick: Manning and Curry -170