Opinion: The Match ll: Champions for Charity brought competition, trash talking and fundraising to whole new level

Holly Hunter, Staff Reporter

Two of golf’s greats and arguably two of the best quarterbacks of all time faced off May 24 on a rainy Florida golf course to raise money for COVID-19 relief. The Match II: Champions for Charity featured the team of Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson going against the team of Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning. Team Manning and Woods won the round, but everyone were winners because of the amount of money raised during this sporting event. 

Each of the four players donated $2.5 million to start the total pot off at $10 million. By the end of 18 holes, an additional $10 million was raised bringing the total donations to $20 million. The money will go to various charities and organizations for COVID-19 relief. 

The course featured seven challenge course holes that helped raise extra money and also provided competition for the teams.

The third hole was a challenge for the pros (Mickelson and Woods). Whichever golfer hit the longest drive raised $250,000 for their charity. The same idea was used on the 15th hole but for the quarterbacks. Woods won the challenge on the third hole and Brady won the challenge on hole 15 for the amateurs. 

The fourth and 12th holes challenged each golfer to try and get their ball closest to the hole. Woods won this challenge by getting about eight feet away from the hole. This won him $125,000 to donate to the charity of his choice. Mickelson won the closest to the pin challenge on the 12th hole. 

The eighth and 16th holes provided a bigger challenge with a bigger reward for the golfers. If any of the players got a hole in one on either of these holes, Michelob Ultra would donate $25 million to COVID-19 relief. None of the golfers got a hole in one on these two holes, but money was still donated. Russell Wilson came on air offering to donate 100,000 meals per player who could make a shot within 12 feet of the hole. The only player who didn’t make it within that distance was Woods. 

On the fifth hole, all of the golfers had to pick one club to use the entire hole. The team that won the hole using only one club got a $250,000 donation from Capital One. All of the golfers had trouble hitting the ball right on this hole. The fifth hole ended up being split by both teams. 

The Match ll had very impressive ratings. According to CNN, it’s the most watched golf match in the history of cable TV. The average number of viewers for Sunday’s match was 5.8 million, with a peak of 6.3 million viewers. 

Even though this event was for a bigger purpose other than to get live sports on peoples TVs again, the players had fun with each other while being locked in on the competition. 

During a rain delay on a rather soggy day when it came time for the players to hit practice shots, there was no shortage of trash talk between the players. 

Manning didn’t hold anything back here. He was asked who he thought Brady’s caddy would be if they were allowed to have them.

“It’s hard to get to him,” Manning said on the TNT broadcast. “Do you bring Eli [Manning]? Could do that. Do you bring Nick Foles? Maybe. I was thinking maybe [Bill] Belichick. Have Bill Belichick caddy for me — and just to see how that kind of, would have worked.”

Eli Manning and Foles are the two quarterbacks Brady has lost to in Super Bowls. Bellechick is Brady’s former coach. Peyton Manning tried to get in Brady’s head by having the idea of these players and coach be involved in the competition. 

The pro golfers had some trash talking of their own too. Mickelson said he brought back a putter he hasn’t used since 2012. He calls this club the “Tiger Slayer.” Mickelson last used this club when he beat Woods by 11 shots at the ATT Pro Am back in 2012. The Tiger Slayer wasn’t able to help Mickelson beat Woods this time around though. 

The trash talking didn’t end with the players though. A lot of athletes took to social media to express their words for the players who participated on sunday. 

“Tom has to be a couple seconds away from a club toss here,” defensive end JJ Watt said in a tweet. 

Brady did not get off to a hot start, and according to Watt his frustrations seemed pretty clear. 

Ryan Koenigsberg, a Denner Broncos columnist, took to twitter to get in on the Brady trash talking too. 

“Tom is almost taking more of a beating than the last time his team faced Peyton’s team…almost,” Koenigsberg said. 

The last time Brady and Manning faced off was in the 2015 AFC Championship game where the Broncos beat the Patriots. The Broncos went on to beat the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl that year. 

At the end of the day, The Match II: Champions for Charity raised money for people in need during the COVID-19 outbreak, and Woods said in an interview that that’s what matters most. 

“It’s great, the fact that we all came together and we were able to raise $20 million for those that have been so severely affected,” Woods said. “This is our arena. This is what we do.”