Category: PGA Event

Tiger/Manning vs. Phil/Brady

Golf fundraising event to benefit COVID19 relief

Who are the players?

For all the avid golf fans who are down in the dumps about the PGA Tour events that have been cancelled in the past few months, there’s some really good news. It has just been announced that Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning will be teeing it up for a team match in May. The event is to take place on Memorial Day weekend in Florida, and will be pitting Woods and Manning against Mickelson and Brady, with the proceeds going to COVID-19 relief. Woods and Manning are already considered the betting favorites since Manning is a 6 handicap and Brady is an 8. Of course, we should not speak too soon, considering the rumors that Tiger’s back issues were flaring up again earlier this year (although Tiger insists that he is healthy) and Phil seems to thrive in these relaxed match-play settings, winning big chunks of change from other pros during practice rounds. Keep in mind too that Tom Brady is a 6-time Super Bowl champion, so there is no doubt he will bring some of that competitive, winning spirit to the match.

What can we expect?

The format has yet to be announced, but there has been some chatter about it being best ball—we’ll have to wait and see. Unlike the previous match between Woods and Mickelson back in 2018, which was a PPV event, this one will be broadcast live on regular television (TNT) so everybody will have the opportunity to watch 4 legends battle it out on the course. The players will practice social distancing throughout the event, and no spectators will be allowed to attend. No word on whether they will be masked, but doubtful since there is no reason to get that close on the golf course. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a truly exciting match. And with no golf to watch for a month and a half, could there possibly be a better way to bring back golf than a match between Phil and Tiger—not to mention the fun of seeing Tom Brady and Peyton Manning duke it out. What can we expect? I think it’s safe to say it will be a hard-fought battle, considering none of the 4 has a reputation for losing—particularly on a big stage. Tiger may have some extra incentive to even the score after his loss to Phil in 2018, but you can be sure that nothing would make Phil happier than beating Tiger again (outside of a U.S. open win in the fall perhaps). Like Woods and Mickelson, Brady and Manning were long-time rivals at the top of their game. While this match-up won’t take place on the gridiron, you can certainly expect to see some of the fire that propelled them both to super bowl victories. Personally, my money is on Mickelson and Brady. Either way, it’s exactly what we need to take our minds away from the troubles of the last few months, remind us that it won’t last forever, and there will be good days ahead. Something tells me that this is going to be special, so make sure you mark your calendar. 

Fred Couples and the Presidents Cup

With the Presidents Cup coming up in only a few months, I think we owe some appreciation to the man who was instrumental in building the excitement of the Presidents Cup to what it is today–Fred Couples. Freddy played a key role in securing U.S. victories in three very memorable Presidents Cup matches. The first came in 1994 when Couples took on the World No. 1 player, Nick Price. That year, Price had just finished racking up two major victories–the Open Championship and the PGA Championship. Many observers felt that Price would make quick work of Couples with his ever-present back trouble–but they were wrong. Price held the lead throughout most of the match, until Freddy turned up his game and got it all square going into the last hole—where he knocked his approach to a foot and tapped in for victory.

The next Presidents Cup in 1996 had Couples taking on Vijay Singh in the final match–and it was another close one. The U.S. and International teams were neck and neck when the Couples-Singh match came to the last hole. Singh played a beautiful approach to about twelve feet, setting himself up for a makeable birdie chance. Couples played a rather mediocre approach, blocking his shot to the right and leaving a forty-footer for birdie. With Couples and Singh measuring their birdie opportunities, both teams looked on expectantly–a birdie by either of them would result in a one-point victory for their team. With Couples looking at such a long putt, the Americans knew their chances were slim, but Freddy delivered once again. Pandemonium ensued as the Americans rejoiced in celebration. With the pressure applied by Couples, Singh missed his birdie and the Americans won their second Cup in a row.

Nine years later, Couples would face Singh again in another key match at the Presidents Cup. At the time, Singh was No. 1 in the world and had just finished racking up four victories for the 2005 season. Conversely, the aging Couples with his best years behind him and saddled with a back brace, had to rely on a Captain’s pick to make the team. However, Jack Nicklaus, the Captain for the Americans had faith in him and that was enough to spur Couples on. After facing skepticism from the media on why he did not pick one of his “top guns” like Woods or Mickelson to go up against the World No. 1 player, Nicklaus staunchly defended Couples saying, “I did go with one of my guns, that’s who asked for him.” After some puzzlement, one reporter asked, “Fred asked for Vijay?” Nicklaus nodded saying, “He told me if you can get me Vijay, I’d like to have him.” Singh was rather cheerful at the prospect of facing Couples and said, “You’re going to need a golf cart!” “What do you mean?” Couples asked and Singh replied, “Bro, that’s because it’s going to be over at the ninth.” The event itself was close, with the Americans trailing the Internationals by a few points. Freddy vs. Vijay was one of the early matches, with seven more to follow; and the American squad was hopeful when Couples took an early lead on Singh—thinking perhaps the gray-haired underdog could pull another rabbit out of his hat. Suddenly it seemed that all hope was lost when Couples dunked his approach on the twelfth hole into the water. Freddy and Vijay were now back to even going into the last hole, much like their memorable match-up in ‘96. After good approach shots, both were looking at birdie putts. But Singh narrowly missed his putt; and once again, Couples calmly knocked in his twenty-footer to win the match and propel the American team toward an amazing comeback victory. When asked about his win over Vijay that ignited the American charge, the always humble Couples replied, “Is he going to beat me eight out of ten times? I think so. But in a one-day match, I had just as good a shot as anyone.” Couples then proceeded to Captain three winning Presidents Cup teams, etching his name forever in Presidents Cup history.

Watch Fred’s Swing