The game of golf has really been in the spotlight during our three-month pandemic. People were able to play golf using social distancing, whereas other sports were put on the back burner.
Also, many of the sports canceled were spectator sports that couldn’t be played in their stadiums. Golf is a popular sport to watch because regular people can actually play on the courses that the pros play. You can’t play football, basketball, hockey and baseball where the pros play.
The Match: Champions for Charity event that was held May 24 drew a record number of viewers – 6.3 million at peak time, with an average of 5.8 million over four broadcast platforms. The fun part of The Match was the trash talk between players, as well as other athletes calling in to talk to the players, who wore microphones.
You could tell that the two football players were extremely nervous on the first tee, hooking their shots into the woods. Watching the two amateur players, both Future Hall of Fame Quarterbacks, was the most fun.
Peyton Manning, retired from football, was Tiger Woods’s partner. He plays a lot of golf. Manning was very entertaining and has a knack for comedic timing. He was a joy to listen to.
On the other hand, Tom Brady played once a month and lived in Massachusetts until recently signing in Tampa. I am sure he will be playing a lot more golf in Florida.
During this match, Brady was playing horribly until hole No. 7, when he hit a shot from 140 into the hole. He had been heckled by commentator Charles Barkley until that shot. After that shot, Brady was able to jab back to Barkley: “Shut your mouth, Chuck. Take a little of that medicine.”
Brady was very relatable to the viewers because of his errant shots. He was a typical amateur golfer who can be playing terribly and then something good happens and you start to get confidence and play better. I admired his attitude because he never lost his temper. You can tell that he has a great mental attitude in sports.
Barkley is known for his sense of humor and kept up the banter with quips and jokes. Barkley has one of the worst golf swings but loves the game. His commentary was very entertaining.
Some jabs were at Tiger’s chicken legs that were visible since the players were in shorts. (An aside: I think male golfers should be allowed to wear shorts, especially in 90- to 100-degree temperatures). The only player not wearing shorts was Tom Brady, who ended up splitting his pants, which was one of the funniest parts of the telecast.
Other jabs included Phil Mickelson asking Tiger to mark the ball on the green. Tiger replied “Do you want me to use one of my U.S. Open medals?” (This is the only major that Mickelson hasn’t won.)
The winner of the match was Tiger and Peyton, but the real winner was the COVID-19 relief efforts – about $20 million dollars was raised.
In the Lowcountry, our next chance to watch golf and give to charity is the Heritage Golf Tournament being held on June 18-21 at Sea Pines. It will be a TV-only event, on the Golf Channel and CBS, with no spectators, no concessions, and no sponsors. Even though there won’t be spectators, it will be televised worldwide, showcasing our great community. You can also make donations to the Heritage Foundation.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com