Capital One's The Match is Peak 2020 and Remains Must-See TV

Gabe Zaldivar

Just as you are waking up from your turkey-infused coma you might begin to remember that we are still locked within the confines of the fever dream that is 2020. But, hey. There’s golf on today.

Stephen Curry, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Charles Barkley will club up and become the Mount Rushmore of Black Friday goodness.

While some of you will be refreshing all the latest holiday deals, those of us in the know will be reclining to what should be another round of laughs.

And as TNT and the B/R app launch the third edition of The Match at 3 p.m. ET, a nation will sit down patiently as we again answer the age-old question of whether Sir Charles has the yips or got rid of them or if they returned again.

It will be an exercise in frivolity during a year that has caused a lot of discomfort. Launched in 2018, The Match was a one-on-one slugfest between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson that went into playoff holes, seeing Phil take the competition at Las Vegas’ Shadow Creek as well as the $9 million purse.

Originally envisioned as a Pay-Per-View event, The Match has evolved over three iterations as a means to raise funds for charity as well as lighten the mood for a nation that greatly needs it.

Fast-forward to 2020, and the sports landscape didn’t resemble 2018 at all. The world had paused so much of what they loved because of a global pandemic.

With live sports at an absolute minimum, getting just a few athletes together, spread out across a golf course seemed like a great idea.

The Match’s second chapter pitted Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.

Labeled the Champions for Charity, the two groups played one another just as the country was coming to terms with things like social distancing and self-isolation. Whether there would be an MLB or NFL season was not a foregone conclusion.

The event gave us the splendor that was Brady ripping his pants as he made the shot of his life

It was 2020 boiled down to one shot. It also helped raise $20 million that went to air COVID relief efforts.

The third of this trilogy will again address the issues that have surfaced during this most astounding year.

Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change will again raise money. This time the funds will go to support diversity and inclusion, notions that have become far more tangible during the past months that have been marked by an outcry from people of color that there needs to be far more attention on social injustices in this country.

As TNT's website explains, “(The event) will contribute toward and will highlight diversity, equality and inclusion through donations to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) while raising awareness and spotlighting opportunities for diversity and equality in sports.”

And a year that has seen one sporting event after another draw dismal ratings, The Match is that rare competition that draws a great deal of interest.

Back in May, the contest averaged 5.8 million viewers across TBS, TNT, TruTV and HLN, according to Sports Media Watch.

It actually drew television interest on par with majors. As the website notes, “The telecast, which peaked with 6.3 million viewers from 5:45-6 PM ET, topped the previous record of 4.9 million for the first round of the 2010 Masters on ESPN — Woods’ first tournament after a tabloid scandal.”

The Match will be without Tiger this time around. But it will again be a socially distanced way to see athletes hit some balls, talk some smack and entertain us when we all need it most.

Along the way it will be doing some good and raising awareness with every swing of the club. It’s something to be thankful for this holiday weekend.

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