Coronavirus pandemic

Tiger, Phil set for another epic clash

American golf icons ready to thrill fans in made-for-TV event with Manning, Brady

HOBE SOUND (Florida) • Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have shared the golf stage for nearly a quarter of a century, and are the two biggest stars of their era.

The numbers are overwhelming - a combined 983 PGA Tour tournaments played, producing 126 victories, 67 second-place finishes and countless thrills for golf fans.

More memories will be added today at Medalist Golf Club, where the duo face off in a Covid-19 fund-raising event alongside National Football League (NFL) icons Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Capital One's The Match: Champions for Charity, which has pledged US$10 million (S$14.3 million), features the two teams playing a four-ball format on the front nine and a modified alternate-shot format on the back.

Woods and Mickelson have an extensive history competing together, having played in the same grouping 37 times on Tour, with Woods shooting the better score 18 times to Mickelson's 15. More importantly, Woods has won 10 times compared to Mickelson's five when they went head to head in the same group.

They have finished 1-2 in Tour events nine times over the course of their sterling careers, beginning at the 1998 Sentry Tournament of Champions, where Mickelson held off a furious Sunday rally from Woods to win.

The pair finished 1-2 in an event in five consecutive years and last accomplished the feat at the 2009 Tour Championship. Mickelson got the better of Woods that time, too, as he shot a bogey-free 65 on the final day to win by three shots.

The best of those epic match-ups? That honour likely falls to the 2005 Ford Championship at Doral in Miami, where Woods clipped Mickelson by one shot. "It was electric," said Woods, who went out in 33 strokes to shave a shot off his deficit as Mickelson turned in 34.

The 15-time Major champion could not resist a little last-minute needling before today's showdown, with a deadpan prediction that he and his partner Manning would dominate.

"At the end of the day, our team's going to win, it's just a matter of how much we're going to win by," Woods, 44, said in an interview with Golf Digest. "Do we keep it close, do we blow them out... We don't want to have viewers turn off if we're 9-up through nine, that's probably not going to be good. So we'll just be 8-up through nine - something like that."

The made-for-TV event will be a welcome glimpse of live sports action amid the pandemic, and the long rivalries among the players promise some intensity.

NOT A CLOSE CONTEST

Do we keep it close, do we blow them out... We don't want to have viewers turn off if we're 9-up through nine, that's probably not going to be good. So we'll just be 8-up through nine - something like that."

TIGER WOODS , 15-time Major champion, offers a deadpan prediction of the outcome in today's charity match. He and Peyton Manning will face the pairing of Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.

"I think these two are the best at what they do," Mickelson, 49, said of Brady and Manning. "They grew up playing football, not golf, but they're going out of their comfort zone on national TV to showcase their golf game. I have a lot of respect for it."

Brady, 42, and Manning, 44, have been compared against one another throughout their careers, not unlike their golf counterparts.

They have combined to win eight NFL Most Valuable Player awards - Manning won five - and perhaps more importantly, eight Super Bowl Championships.

"To get an opportunity to go play golf with three of the guys I've looked up to in sports is something I couldn't turn down," Brady said.

Manning shared the same sentiments. He said: "I enjoy watching those guys compete. For Tom and me to go the ropes and watch how Tiger and Phil do their thing, and be part of it and raise money, we're glad to do it."

PGA TOUR, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 24, 2020, with the headline 'Tiger, Phil set for another epic clash'. Print Edition | Subscribe