.Tiger Woods Photo credit: Marilyn Smith
*On Sunday, May 24, Tiger Woods brought a few friends to his neighborhood for 18 holes of charity golf, raising money for COVID-19 relief efforts.
In what was a rematch from a 2018 challenge match between Tiger and fellow golfer Phil Mickelson, which Phil won, Tiger and Phil decided to bring along two of the best quarterbacks of all time, to make it a foursome.
NFL superstars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady took a field trip to Medalist Golf Club, in Hobe Sound, FL, to pair up with Tiger and Phil respectively, to participate in “Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Charity,” which by the conclusion of the match had garnered $20 million dollars for charity.
The event was played without fans or caddies, which more than worked. Each golfer drove a super cool golf cart, which was auctioned at the end of the event and carried their own clubs. Samuel L. Jackson introduced each golfer, just like you would see in a regular golf match, listing each one’s major accomplishments, be it in golf or football. On this rainy day, when I could see water running off Tiger’s hat, as he hit fairway after fairway, what I witnessed was 18 holes of camaraderie, fun and yes trash talking; after all, what is a sporting event without trash-talking?
Speaking of trash-talking, Tom Brady, who couldn’t find a fairway and was stinking up the place, started to be darn near heckled by some of the messages and by Charles Barkley, one of the announcers. Tom was playing so poorly that Charles offered $50,000 if Tom could get his ball on the green. When Tom was unsuccessful, Charles decided he could take him and challenged him to a match. Tom’s response? He hit the shot of the day, making a birdie in the 7th hole from a little more than 100 yards away. What else would you expect from Tom Brady? Charles never bothered him again. Charles wasn’t the only one chiding Tom. Golfer Brooks Koepka offered to donate $100,000 if Tom got a par during the first nine holes. That shot I mentioned earlier that quieted Charles Barkley costs Brooks Koepka $100,000 big ones. The funniest diss came from Jimmy Fallon, who had me choking on my water when he tweeted, “I’ve always felt like Tom Brady and I had a lot in common, but after watching his golf game, I actually think we might have been separated at birth.“
The money was raised for the following four charities:
– All In Challenge – Working to eliminate food insecurity
– Direct Relief – Supporting our frontline workers
– American Red Cross – Emergency Assistance and Disaster Relief
– U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – Supporting small businesses struggling due to COVID 19
The donation pot started at $10 million, which seems to have been contributed by the four golfers and built up from there, with online auctions and donations adding to the final tally. There was $11,528,985 in the kiddie before the first hole. Did I say donations? How about several other sports stars reaching out via Twitter and WebEx to sweeten the pot? One person who made a major donation was Seattle Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson, who pledged to donate 100,000 meals for each golfer who got within 12 feet of the 16th hole. Who woulda thought Tiger was the only one who wasn’t within 12 feet? He was just a tad away, but no worries, Russell will be donating 300,000 meals. Way to go, Russell! During the 3rd hole, a man from Workday called to add $1.5 million to the pot and Capital One sweetened the 5th hole, the Capital One Club Challenge hole, with another $250,000.
Some of the holes were challenge holes, netting extra donation money. Tiger Woods won the first challenge hole, the 3rd, the Audi Long Drive Challenge. Because his shot went farther than Phil’s, he won $125,000 for charity, but he wasn’t finished. He followed it up by also winning the challenge on the 4th hole, the Progressive Closest to the Hole Challenge and racked up another $125,000.
The commercials were pretty good. Samuel L. Jackson and Charles Barkley had lighthearted Capital One commercials. On the other hand, Lebron James had a very poignant Nike commercial, where the message was never being too far to come back and included clips of several sports stars who fought back during their matches. I was really touched to see the picture of Kenyan runner, Michael Kunyuga, who crawled to second place and a personal best, at the Hanover Marathon, after collapsing just short of the finish line while running a race in 2018. Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka were also included in the commercial of sports stars who know how to come back.
Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Wood Photo Credit: Marilyn Smith
By the 18th hole, it was after 8:00 pm Eastern , windy, raining and dark, but Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning won Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Charity. The event emassed a total of $19,729,106; however, Turner Sports donated the rest, to round it to an even $20 million.
After the match, Charles Barkley attempted a challenge of his own, the Bogey or Better Challenge on the 18th hole. Anyone who knows about his golf game was not surprised to see his challenge was unsuccessful. Even with golfer Justin Thomas as his coach, he just missed a bogey, to which he said, “Just choked like a dog!” Only Charles Barkley! LOL!
Announcer Brian Anderson commented that golf continues to be the “great connector” and called the event, “a world class fundraiser.” I cannot argue with him. The event was handled with class, while still being fun. I liked the air fist bumps and no, they were not all on top of each other. I look forward to more golf coming our way next month.
Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected]