Golf needs more celebrity exhibition matches

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick May 29, 2020 11:59

No one was too sure what to expect when it was announced that Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning would take on Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. So often, these celebrity matches turn out to be damp squibs and not worth your time, in many instances you’ve changed channels before they get to the turn.

There was a bit of that trepidation before the all-American showdown took place when Rory Mcllroy and Dustin Johnson beat Rickie Fowler and Matt Wolff. The main purpose of the whole event was meant to be an opportunity to get an insight into what the world’s best players and Matt Wolff spoke about on the course, however, it sadly turned out to be a hugely underwhelming flop.

 

So you can imagine that many eyebrows were raised when it turned out that the golfing world had to sit through another of these over-hyped matches. Of course, no one had to sit through any of it but with so little golf to savour over the last few months, there was a collective agreement amongst golf lovers that ‘any port in a storm’ would do.

Come the end of the match, everyone that found the stomach to endure another of these matches would have been thanking their lucky stars that they did. From start to finish it turned out to be hugely entertaining. The main story wasn’t the fact that Lefty and Woods carried on their historic rivalry but how their respective partners, Manning and Brady, got on.

Brady came into the match holding a 6-2 Super Bowl lead over Manning, which in itself created quite a juicy storyline. But with eight between them, and 21 majors between Woods and Mickelson, you couldn’t help but feel like you were in the company of greatness. Most weekend golfers would give a lot to be part of a fourball like that, and the way the organizers set this one up gave you a taste of what it would be like to be out there with some of the greatest athletes of all time. And, as for the result of a game like this, it’s always going to be up in the air.

That said, anyone who before tee off visited World Sports Network knows that the odds were stacked in Woods and Manning’s favour. Their thinking was based on who would be the weaker partner out of Manning and Brady. That’s a tough call on the golfing abilities of arguably the greatest NFL player of all time, but it turned out to be the correct one.

As reported on the https://www.theguardian.com/, Manning and Woods would win it on the 18th and bring to an end a fine show of golf from all, with plenty of memorable and humorous talking points.

None more so than Tom Brady’s hole-out from 100 yards after slicing everything right and incurring the wrath of the merciless commentators, that was a moment few will forget. Likewise, few will forget how he ripped his pants moments afterwards as he retrieved his ball from the hole. Good times.

 

What this exhibition match finally showed was that there is a blueprint for success to follow in the future when arranging a spectacle of this size.

It all hinges on the weekend golfer being able to relate to what he or she sees. Sending out the robots of the tour who are lacking personality and any sort of charisma, in an exhibition match that will be broadcast around the world, is not the way to grow the game.

You need a mixture of greatness, authenticity, and humility; hard to come by sure, but it was in abundance at the Medalist Golf Club.

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick May 29, 2020 11:59
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