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When the truncated professional men’s golf season ends in 2020, the shot that might be remembered will be one by a high-profile amateur.
Future National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady (Titleist Pro V1x) had the shot that will be most remembered from the rain-soaked The Match: Champions For Charity that raised $20 million for coronavirus relief efforts.
The event included Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS), Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X) and retired NFLer Peyton Manning (Bridgestone Tour B XS, a collection of the various greats from their respective sports.
In the fairway of the seventh hole with more than 100 yards to the pin, Brady hit an iron shot that landed a few feet past the hole and then rolled back into it. Up to that point, Brady had been blasting his balls every which way without coming close to the target. So that’s why this shot was amazing, combined with the fact Brooks Koepka (Titleist Pro V1x) teased Brady moments earlier on Twitter saying he would pony up $100,000 to the tournament’s charity if the recently-signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ free-agent signing parred a hole in the first nine. Well, he did one better. Brady also had a birdie on the 11th hole that was another clutch shot. Mickelson said that was his favorite moment of the match.
The fact Brady struggled early was understandable. He was playing with two of the greatest in PGA history in a match being watched around the world. Although he had a single-digit handicap, that was playing against other amateurs. The pressure had been raise significantly in this unusual situation, so realistically both he and Manning could have handicaps somewhere closer to 15 or 20. So with everyone having a good-natured chuckle at his expense, Brady showed poise and patience, similar to what he did in the Super Bowl game when he helped the New England Patriots rally back from a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons to win the 2017 Super Bowl 34-28. He really is the G.O.A.T.
Brady was known as a finisher based on that game, and he almost duplicated that in The Match. Although the team of Woods and Manning won by one shot, it might have been considerably higher had Brady not made some key shots.
Woods outplayed Mickelson by consistently hitting his tee shots into the fairway. Mickelson, however, may have helped his team by providing Brady with some reads on putts, including the one on the 11th for the birdie.
All and all, the event was far more interesting and engaging than the exhibition match between Woods and Mickelson in 2018. They had more fun, even in the pouring rain, which added to the elements.
For people starving for sports entertainment, The Match delivered. It went right down to the final hole.
And as an aside, Justin Thomas (Titleist Pro V1x) did a great job as a commentator, adding a blend of insight and humor.