Manning, Brady, Tiger, Phil Pursuit of Birdies More Entertaining with Tweets
Phillip B. Wilson
Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods edged rivals Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson, but the real winners — aside from those aided by $20 million donated to COVID-19 relief efforts — were viewers following Sunday’s Capital One “The Match: Champions for Charity” golf event on Twitter.
A sports nation that has been agonizingly idle for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic had the opportunity to add to the entertainment via social media as the team of Manning-Woods prevailed 1-up at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.
“It was really a special experience,” Manning said. “I was not comfortable the entire time, from the first tee all the way down here. But knowing that $20 million was raised and helping people that are really going through tough times, it was an honor for Tom and I both to be invited by Phil and Tiger to play in this match. Really, it’s something that I will always remember and cherish."
The format was four-ball (best ball) on the front nine, then modified alternate shot on the back nine. Manning and Woods had a three-shot lead through six holes before Brady and Mickelson rallied to make it close at the end.
Those watching the nationally televised match enjoyed an added bonus from social media as Peyton’s brother Eli Manning, who just joined Twitter on Saturday and immediately traded tweet barbs with Brady, led a chorus of hilarious commentaries on the round.
Brady started the good-natured ribbing when warming up with Manning.
Peyton’s golf cart honored his original NFL team, the Indianapolis Colts, who joined the Twitter party in making an observation about the playing conditions. The starting time was delayed 45 minutes by rain. The Colts reminded fans of their legendary quarterback's past experience with precipitation in the Sunshine State as a Super Bowl XLI MVP in 2007 in Miami.
Eli joked that delay had him thinking about expanding his social-media reach.
Miked up as well as being seen with cameras on each of their golf carts, the interaction between players was quite entertaining, especially the quarterbacks. Their intense NFL rivalry carried over with continual trash talk.
Before the match started, Peyton joked about caddy choices, which included New England coach Bill Belichick. Brady departed from the Patriots in free agency and signed with Tampa Bay.
Foles, who while with Philadelphia defeated Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl LII in 2018, couldn't resist a tweet.
Eli showed why he’s an immediate must-follow — in one day he already had 228,900 Twitter followers and counting — with his constant chirping.
When he joined Twitter on Saturday, Peyton’s younger brother paraphrased a line from the basketball movie Hoosiers. Brady, who has 1.1 million followers, teased the retired New York Giants quarterback, whose two Super Bowl rings came at the expense of Brady and the Patriots. So the needling commenced.
Eli responded to Brady in kind.
That adequately summed up how Brady was spraying the ball off the tee early on. Evidently lacking confidence in his driver, he was using a metal fairway wood but still sending the tee shots wide right into the brush.
TV commentator Charles Barkley started harping on the six-time Super Bowl winner. And there was this observation from NFL pass-rushing great J.J. Watt.
Brady finally “joined the match” with the shot of the round as he holed an approach from just beyond 100 yards on the seventh hole for birdie.
PGA Tour golfer Brooks Koepka donated $100,000 for Brady’s shot.
Woods almost made Brady’s incredible shot for naught. Tiger had a long eagle putt to win the hole and it barely lipped out. Brady joked that he blew on it.
Peyton was hot with his irons on par-three holes. He birdied the par-three No. 4 with a 25-foot putt.
Peyton also birdied the eighth hole, another par three, but Mickelson halved the hole with his own two.
When Brady stuck his tee shot to about 4 feet on the par-three 16th, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson donated 100,000 meals to the cause. Wilson’s contribution increased to 300,000 meals as Mickelson and Manning also struck shots inside of 12 feet.
Not to be outdone by Brady, Peyton’s shot rolled to within 17.5 inches of the cup to win closest-to-the-hole, a $125,000 donation. Mickelson sank his putt off Brady’s shot to halve the hole.
(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is email@example.com.)