Phil Mickelson is talkin’ smack again.
After not touching a club for six weeks following the PGA Tour’s shutdown March 13 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Mickelson has ramped up his practice and play ahead of Sunday’s “The Match: Champions for Charity,” where he’ll team with Tom Brady and face Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning.
The event, which will raise at least $10 million for coronavirus relief efforts, will be staged at Medalist Golf Club, a private gem in Hobe Sound, Florida, and the home course for one Tiger Woods.
“I can’t wait to go to Tiger’s place and take him down,” Mickelson said in a phone call with Golfweek. “Tiger thinks he has a huge advantage playing there because he was insistent that this event is played on his home course. Despite everyone else wanting to play it elsewhere. That’s fine. We’ll take it to him and Peyton.
“There will be no excuses. It’s his home course but Tom and I are going to go down there and put it to them, and we’ll make it that every time Tiger shows up at his home course, he’ll have a bad memory.”Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson live free reddit stream.
Mickelson, who has never played Medalist, will be the first to tell you that his longtime rival has gotten the best of him much more often than not – 15 majors to five, record-tying 82 PGA Tour titles to 44, etc. – but Lefty took it to Woods in Match I two years ago when he won the $9 million, mano-a-mano, winner-take-all tussle in Las Vegas.
But this go-around has a major twist – the two iconic NFL quarterbacks. Manning, a member of Augusta National and Cherry Hills who earned two Super Bowl rings in his playing days, is slightly better than Brady, a member of Seminole who counts six Super Bowl rings on his fingers. Manning plays to a 6.4 handicap index while Brady sits at 8.1.
The competition starts with nine holes of four-ball play (best ball) and then switches to nine holes of modified alternate shot. On the back nine, all four will tee off on each hole and then each team will select the best option and alternate shots from there.
Woods and Manning are about a 2-to-1 favorite.
Doesn’t matter, Mickelson said.
“I’ve played with Tom a few times. I’ve played with him at Augusta National and Friar’s Head and I’ve seen him hit some remarkable shots and I’ve seen him hit some shots that you wouldn’t be so surprised he hit,” Mickelson said. “But his strength is he is a very good putter and he hits the ball a long ways and he’s good with his short irons. If I can get the ball in play I think we’ll have a chance on the back-nine modified alternate-shot platform.”
This alternate-shot wrinkle puts a lot of pressure on Brady and Manning.
“I give them a lot of credit for putting themselves out there because there is going to be a unique pressure,” Mickelson said. “But that’s why it’s going to be so much fun, because we are going to have mishaps and we are going to have some bad shots and we are going to laugh at ourselves.”
Mickelson also said there will be plenty of ribbing, unlike the near silence during his and Woods’ first match in Las Vegas. Each of the four players will be mic’d up, with each riding in their own cart. There will be no caddies or spectators.
“Tiger and I clamped up the first time,” Mickelson said. “That won’t happen again. I think having Peyton there will be a big part of it because he gives me and Tom somebody to rough up. Peyton, when he comes back at you, he does it in a funny way that elicits a laughter from you as opposed to a defensive response.
“And I think that’s why he’s so funny, because even the person he is cutting up finds it funny and doesn’t take it personal. And that will allow us to free it up and do it a little bit more.”
Mickelson will fly to Florida on Thursday. He’ll do so with his usual confidence.
“I’ve actually played a lot in the last two weeks,” he said. “The last two weeks I’ve been practicing a lot. I’ve played 36 each of the last three days and I’ve been having a blast playing golf. I’m actually playing pretty good. I haven’t played competitively in a while but I’ve been able to work on my game and I’m pretty optimistic I’m going to play well.”