Complete Guide to Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2020

Complete Guide to Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change

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    Eric Risberg/Associated Press

    2020 has been, well...let's say challenging.

    But when it comes to golf, at least it's finishing in a pretty spectacular way.

    Capital One's "The Match: Champions for Change" will round out the high-profile portion of the sport's calendar this weekend with an event that'll feature two Hall of Famers from their respective sports against two more superstars who are sure to join them someday in competitive immortality.

    The third installment of The Match includes five-time major champion Phil Mickelson and former NBA MVP Charles Barkley on one side, while two-time Super Bowl winner Peyton Manning and three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry team up on the other. TNT will exclusively televise the event on Friday at 3 p.m. ET, and Bleacher Report will provide exclusive live content before and during on the B/R app.

    The first Match pitted Mickelson against Tiger Woods in a head-to-head competition, while the second saw the rivals facing off in a foursome with Tiger joined by Manning and Lefty playing with six-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady. Mickelson won the head-to-head match in extra holes two years ago in Las Vegas before Woods and Manning got revenge in a memorable rain-soaked competition this May in Florida.

    The latest event will contribute toward and highlight diversity, equality and inclusion through donations to Historically Black Colleges and Universities while raising awareness and spotlighting opportunities for diversity and equality in sports.

    "We're looking forward to this next iteration and the meaningful awareness it will raise for social change," Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports, said. "With Phil, Charles, Stephen and Peyton on the course, there's sure to be no shortage of must-see moments, in addition to the important causes driving each athlete's participation."

    The competition format will be modified alternate shot match play, and the Stone Canyon Golf Club, owned by Mickelson Golf Properties, is considered one of golf's preeminent desert settings and regularly ranks among the best courses in the country. Its 18 holes are situated at the base of the Tortolita Mountains and has views of the Santa Catalina Mountains in all directions.

    "While we may need a handicap for Chuck," Mickelson said, "I'm looking forward to playing with Peyton and Stephen and to help raise money for another important cause. It's also going to give fans and viewers an up-close look at Stone Canyon Golf Club, a place that I'm extremely proud of and excited to show how special it is."

Event Info

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    Here's a rundown of the pertinent details.

    Date: Friday, Nov. 27

    Course: Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, Arizona. The par-72, 7,317-yard course is among Golf Digest's Top 100 in the United States and was designed by Jay Morrish, who was a golf architect for Jack Nicklaus from 1972-82. 

    Start Time: Broadcast begins at 3 p.m. ET

    TV Info: TNT

    Other TV Notes: A "Cart Cam" live stream will run before and during the event on the Bleacher Report website. TNT's broadcast will feature Brian Anderson, Trevor Immelman and Andre Iguodala. Cheyenne Woods and Gary McCord are set to be on-course announcers, while Eli Manning and Michelle Wie will have a pregame show and be part of "Cart Cam."

    Charity Info: The event will raise funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities while promoting awareness and spotlighting opportunities for diversity and equality in sports. Additional money will be raised through unique hole challenges.

The Format

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    The competition will feature Curry/Manning and Mickelson/Barkley in a modified alternate shot format.

    For non-speakers of golf, modified alternate shot means each player will tee off, and the teams will use the best drive and then alternate shots from there.

    So, no matter how much success Lefty has had on the PGA Tour and in majors, he'll surely be relying on his Basketball Hall of Fame partner to carry a significant share of the load for as long as the match lasts. And don't look now, but Chuck sounds at least sort of certain that he's up to the task.

    "I have put the effort in. I put the work in, and I'm hoping I just can handle it under the pressure," he told Dave Shedloski of Golf Digest. "Let me just say this: I'm not bragging about it, but nobody has worked harder than me to be better at golf. I have hit balls five hours a day for the last six months.

    "I just really wanted to get better at golf."

Phil or Steph?

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Let's be fair: Only 13 men in history have won more golf majors than Phil Mickelson.

    So to suggest that Stephen Curry, a full-time NBA star who's played two events on a minor-league tour, provides real competition for a dialed-in Lefty seems a stretch of gargantuan proportions.

    But to suggest Curry is entirely without chops would be quite an error, as well.

    The Golden State sharpshooter has been rated between a 0 and a 0.6 handicap golfer over the years, and he'll no doubt be motivated to put on a show once the cameras go live Friday.

    Even if Sir Charles is on point with his good-natured heckling.

    "That's the benefit of playing in front of 19,000 people—you can handle noise and distractions," Curry said, per Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle. "Between me and Peyton, point guards and quarterbacks, there are a lot of similarities in how we see things, and being able to react on our feet."

    Advantage: Mickelson

Chuck or Peyton?

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    Got a few minutes to crack a smile? Head to YouTube and take a look at a compilation of Charles Barkley on the golf course.

    Needless to say, the ex-NBA star is on Friday's roster as much for comic relief as genuine competition.

    That said, and as mentioned earlier, he's done his best to raise his game. Just how much he's actually done so will go a long way toward determining what chances he and Phil have.

    And no matter how it turns out, his partner applauds the effort.

    "Sir Charles is putting himself out there in front of the public in an area that he is not competent at all and taking all the hits," Mickelson said, per Shedloski. "I mean, that type of self-deprecation and ability to laugh at himself and put himself out there I have a lot of respect for. I'm honored to have him as my partner. I'm not overly optimistic about having him as my partner, but I do think we're going to be able to come out on top.

    "We're going to find a way."

    As for Manning, he's no Tiger Woods. But he probably won't have to be.

    He was listed among the 10 best NFL golfers a few years back by Private Club Marketing, a consulting firm that works with private clubs and golf communities. He was listed alongside Tony Romo, who has played in four PGA Tour events.

    Golf Digest listed Manning's handicap at 4 in 2016, at which time the ex-Denver Bronco and Indianapolis Colt had recorded a pair of holes-in-one in his golfing career and fired a 77 on the championship course at Augusta National.

    Advantage: Manning

Prop Bets

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    What's a made-for-TV golf event without some made-for-TV golf-event wagers?

    The folks running the sportsbook at DraftKings have the Manning/Curry team pegged as a -175 favorite, which means it'll take a $175 wager on them to turn a $100 profit if they win.

    On the flip side, the Mickelson/Barkley pairing is in at +138, which means a $100 outlay on them would bring back $138 in the event of an upset.

    Meanwhile, prospective bettors are covered with an exhaustive list of prop bets courtesy of Odds Shark, running the gamut from whether Barkley will hole a putt from better than 30 feet to whether any of the players will record a hole-in-one anywhere on the course.

    Here are a few of those options for anyone with extra cash and a strong hunch.



    Will he make a putt from 30 or more feet? +400

    Will he hole out from off the green? +600

    Will he hole out from 100 yards or more? +2500



    Will he make a putt from 30 or more feet? +150

    Will he hole out from off the green? +400

    Will he hole out from 100 yards or more? +1500



    Will he make a putt from 30 or more feet? +150

    Will he hole out from off the green? +400

    Will he hole out from 100 yards or more? +1500



    Phil Mickelson to card a hole-in-one on any hole: +2500

    Stephen Curry to card a hole-in-one on any hole: +5000

    Peyton Manning to card a hole-in-one on any hole: +5000

    Charles Barkley to card a hole-in-one on any hole: +8000


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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    It was darn near impossible to forecast who'd fare better during May's event, but it seems a bit easier this time around.

    Though Mickelson is clearly the best golfer of the foursome, his teammate is clearly the worst.

    And while Curry and Manning aren't likely to remind anyone of Nicklaus and Tiger in their primes, they should combine for a level of shot-to-shot consistency that's good enough to overcome Lefty's greatness and Barkley's, well...whatever it is.

    They've got a high bar to jump to match the entertainment value from the spring, but it's a fair guess that it'll at least be a fun watch from start to finish. And who knows, they might even create a highlight or two.

    The Pick: Curry/Manning by three shots


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