There’s likely to be smack talk aplenty at Friday’s $2.5 million hole-in-one charity challenge as four of US sports A-listers contest the third Match golf event.
Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change will be played between two two-man teams and is aimed at raising funds to help leading US Black colleges and universities.
Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley will take on three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry — a near scratch golfer — and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning.
Ahead of Friday’s tee off — staged the day after Thanksgiving — both teams have ramped up the smack talk.
In reply to a tweet that showed Curry practicing Mickelson’s famous “Phlop shot” — focused on getting a lot of height in a very short distance — over a cardboard cut-out of Mickelson, the 50-year-old said: “I wasn’t worried about next week’s Match but I kind of am now.”
Curry replied to Mickelson’s message, saying: “Your biggest worry should be your partner’s swing.”
The Golden State Warriors guard suggested the competition should bring back the shot clock to hurry players along, given Barkley’s disjointed swing, something he said would be “burning daylight.”
With all four players mic’d up throughout the day’s play, expect a lot more of that.
The event will include a series of on-course challenges, all aimed at driving more money to the chosen academic establishments. Each of those hole will have a minimum $100,000 to play for and up to $2,500,000 that could be given to the schools if the players sink a hole-in-one.
It is the third rendition of The Match series. The first saw Tiger Woods and Mickelson do battle in 2018, with “Lefty” eventually ending up on top.
The Match II took place earlier this year between Woods, Manning, Mickelson and NFL superstar Tom Brady, all with the aim of raising money for the coronavirus relief effort. The event raised over $20 million.
Broadcast when live sports were on hold due to the pandemic, the spectacle was the most-watched golf telecast in the history of cable television.
Friday’s match event starts at 3 p.m. ET at Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, Arizona, part of Mickelson’s Golf Properties. It will broadcast globally on CNN International to 373 million households and hotel rooms around the world.
Through the event, WarnerMedia has chosen five universities to help fund golf or sports journalism programs. The four golfers have chosen six other colleges to receive their donations.
WarnerMedia will also contribute 1 million meals through Feeding America, while using the event platform to help raise awareness and funding for hunger relief efforts.
CNN is a division of WarnerMedia, along with HBO, Warner Bros, TNT, TBS, and other media assets.