It was staged.  Made for television event. No crowds, limited media and a set up of an afternoon of celebrity golf. Tom and Phil vs. Tiger and Peyton. (And there are no needs for last names here.

It also raised more than  20 million dollars for COVID-19 aid.

And it was the first live main street sports event fed the country since the world of sports was halted in mid-March.

And boy did it work.

For five hours on Memorial Day weekend, we saw four of arguably the best golfers and best football players to ever play the game, act like a bunch of buddies playing golf on a weekend afternoon.

That it rained for most of the round made it even more fun and real.  Not going to let a few drops of rain spoil a round of golf.

But what was better than that was the sub plots, the by plays between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady staging a non-football challenge. 

It was Tiger Woods and Phil Mickeleson continuing a rivalry which has lasted almost 30 years.

But what was even more intriguing was the quality of the product. We, of course, expect that from Phil and Tiger.  That's what they do for a living.

But Peyton and Tom? Both showed some nerves early in the round, which was a quick reminder that they were both AMATEUR golfers and this was big boy golf, with the entire sports nation, listening to every word, watching every shot.

The highest handicap player could identify the feeling of frustration when a Brady drive duck hooked into the lake. Or a Manning shot skidded into the woods.

But then something strange happened. Tom and Peyton turned on the switch which made them world class athletes. They weren't football players who were playing golf, they became golfers with the skills of super stars.

Watching it triggered one of my first memories of Tiger when he was a young teenager who was just starting to wear the greatness level. I was a sports writer at the Boston Globe and was assigned to cover this young (14 or 15 year old) phenom.

I watched for a few holes and was not overly impressed. Tiger was good, but they all looked good to me, hitting long straight drives and making difficult putts. s

Then Tiger pulled a drive into the woods, with no escape (at least viable) other than a chip out into the fairway and a scramble for a Par 4.

Tiger had a different plan. He saw an opening to the hole which was about 170 yards away. It would require a low line drive through a corridor of trees.

No problem. Tiger took out a four iron, Took a short back swing to keep it low and punched the ball--ON TO THE GREEN, EIGHT FEET FROM THE HOLE.  

I don't even remember if he made the birdie. What he did show me was why Tiger was Tiger, even then.

Which brought me back to Sunday, when I watched Brady struggle and take some ribbing through his earpiece with Charles Barkley, providing commentary back at clu house.

Watching on TV, touring pro Brooks Koepka volunteered a large donation if Brady made a par in the first round.

You could almost see the change in Brady's look, posture.

Enough was enough. And just like that you watch him hole out a wedge shot from 130 yards for a natural birdie.

You then watched another key putt which gave his team the win on a hole in a match they fell behind quickly behind before making it competitive until the final putt of the afternoon.

You saw Manning doing the same thing. Phil and Tiger making shots which had earned them millions of dollars over the years.

It was great stuff. It was the first antidote given in this country to millions of sports fan who have been isolated and deprived of sports.

And it was also a look at what sports of the near future will look like in this country.  Maybe there will not be fans or the venues will be strange, but the games are the games and they were back.