Woods and Manning were in control for most of the day, going 1 up on the third hole and never trailing. When the format changed to alternate shot on the back nine, Mickelson and Brady mounted a comeback yet fell short.
With the COVID-19 pandemic throwing the sports world into disarray, The Match provided exactly the reprieve fans needed.
Woods, Manning Form Dynamic Duo
Brady should've known he was in trouble the moment Manning started dishing out the trash talk. The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback was already in peak form during warmups:
Woods hadn't competed in a PGA Tour event since the Genesis Invitational in February. He intended to compete in the Players Championship before back problems forced him to withdraw.
Perhaps that extended time off was beneficial because many thought the 15-time major champion looked great in what was admittedly a more laid-back setting:
Woods and Manning lost ground on the back nine, which led some to wonder whether the 14-time Pro Bowler was reliving history:
Manning had the final word in his on-field rivalry with Brady when the Broncos beat the New England Patriots in the 2016 AFC Championship. Now, he'll have bragging rights on the golf course, as well.
Brady Briefly Silences the Haters
Brady delivered the day's best shot when he holed out from the fairway on No. 7:
The 42-year-old is perhaps the greatest quarterback in NFL history and has six Super Bowl titles to his name. Fans have come to expect a level of greatness from him on the gridiron.
His masterful approach on the seventh hole, however, was his first positive development as he endured a brutal start to the round:
Early on, Brady was catching all kinds of heat on social media:
His day even included a wardrobe malfunction:
Brady almost had the last laugh as he and Mickelson nearly staged an improbable come-from-behind victory. What had been a 3-up lead through 10 holes for Woods and Manning became a 1-up lead through 14. Woods and Manning did just enough to hold on at the end.
Mother Nature Provides Early Hurdle
The Match was originally supposed to tee off at 3 p.m. ET but was delayed until 3:45 p.m. due to steady rainfall in Hobe Sound.
Considering how the course looked only hours before the event started, simply staging the round was a minor miracle:
The four stars didn't let the weather disrupt their preparations, either:
PGA Tour pro Max Homa made the joke everybody was thinking about as they looked at a soggy Medalist Golf Club:
Standing water was an issue in some spots of the course, and the greens played much slower than they had been for Saturday's practice round. Otherwise, the conditions weren't too troublesome until a downpour began on the 13th hole.
Should The Match return for a third installment later this year or in 2021, organizers may not have to look far to find a star to fill one of the amateur slots. Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry tweeted, "I want in on The Match 3."
Given Curry's golf prowess, the bar would be high to find a non-golfer of similar quality.