The PGA TOUR is taking the week off, and for all of us who are fanatics and starving for competitive golf this Thanksgiving, Capital One’s “The Match III” should satiate your appetite. On Friday, the Match will take place at Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, AZ. This edition will not feature Tiger Woods nor Tom Brady, but will again have Phil Mickelson and Peyton Manning from The Match II. Mickelson with be joined by the 11-time All-Star, Charles Barkley, who has one of the more infamous golf swings ever caught on camera. He’s played in numerous American Century Celebrity Golf Championships in Lake Tahoe, but anyone who watches golf knows “Sir Charles” struggles considerably on the course.
Team Mickelson will face up against defending champion Peyton Manning and NBA Superstar Steph Curry, who’s competed twice on the Korn Ferry Tour (then Web.com), at the Ellie Mae Classic in 2017 and 2018. He shot an impressive 74 on both days in 2017 and followed it up with 71 on Thursday’s round in 2018. His Friday round resulted in an 86, but three rounds of 74 or better are very impressive considering the caliber of talent on a course designed for professionals. Curry has also played in a lot of Celebrity Golf Tournaments over the last handful of years.
According to the course website, Mickelson will play it as a par 72, over 7,300 yards, with the other three playing it as a par 72, as well, but anywhere between 6,300 and 6,800 yards depending on what tees they play from. Both par 5’s on the front nine should be accessible for both teams with the other two on the back being tougher for the amateurs. The desert setting will come into play for both teams. Both Manning and Curry have shown some shakiness Off-the-Tee in the past and we know both Phil and Barkley are no strangers to a wayward tee shot. The course will be in pristine shape so the greens should be fast for the amateurs.
The format is a modified alternate shot on 17 of the 18 holes. Each golfer will hit their drives, and whichever drive they choose, their teammate hits the second shot, and so on and so forth. For example, if Mickelson and Barkley choose Phil’s drive, Barkley has to hit the second shot, and they switch off until they complete or concede the hole. The other non-alternate shot hole will be a scramble.
The team with the Professional Golfer is at plus-money, and even though it’s a team with Charles Barkley, this is where I’m leaning. Phil Mickelson is considerably better than both Manning and Curry, and Barkley’s swing isn’t as bad as it once was, judging by how his swing looked in the “Bogey or Better” Challenge aired during the Match II. Barkley will undoubtedly put Phil in compromising spots on the course, but Phil has been one of PGA TOUR’s best scramblers. Both Phil and Barkley have played together before in Arizona, and they could have the upper hand going into a course that Phil knows very well. Barkley will have played this course three times, and we can assume he wants to play well and not embarrass himself too much this Friday.
Team Manning/Curry is going to play solid golf, both competing at a high-level in their respective sports and sporting some fantastic golf games, but Phil Mickelson is such an advantage in this matchup; it’ll be hard to fade this and lay the juice on the amateurs.
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