"The Match," pairing Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady against Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning, is on for Sunday at 3 p.m. on TBS. It goes without saying that it's a welcome distraction for a sports-starved world. Collectively we've been like Lawrence of Arabia crossing the Devil's Anvil on a camel, and we're so thirsty even this goofy nothinburger feels like we've stumbled upon a fully stocked, air conditioned bar with a 5-star Yelp and a Margarita machine in the middle of the desert.
So I'm not going to look this gift camel in the mouth, but if we're being perfectly honest, while Mickelson and Woods are the most compelling golfers of the last 30 years, they're not the most out-sized personalities in the world. The last time they faced each other, the mics might as well have been shut off for all the interaction they were having. We all love watching them make shots, but as conversationalists go, I'd rather listen to any random old guys in a coffee shop. On a scale of zero-to-Lee Trevino, they rate at about a Vijay Singh when they're not swinging the club.
So I get the idea of trying to sex this thing up a bit with the biggest inter-athlete rivalry of the 21st century. But there again is a problem with their choices. They chose the two most careful, polite and convivial figures in all of sports and expected them to put some fire into this thing. And again if we're being honest, when it comes to talking shit to hype an event, Conor McGregor they are not.
Brady and Manning might have all the charisma of Macho Man Randy Savage when they're on a football field and swear like drunken Kennedys. But once they're out of the pads, Brady is awkwardly, even painfully deferential to everyone. Even when the press is asking him snarky questions and calling him a cheater. Manning might have his enemies, like anyone who says in a hidden camera interview he takes HGH. But his family hires goons to intimidate the witnesses and keeps his hands clean. He did call Mike Vanderjagt a drunken, "idiot kicker" that one time. But that still only puts his Public Insult/Shameless Papa John's Plug ratio at 1/1,000,000.
So it's fair to question how much actual life they're going to pump into this event with weak cheese about pumping crowd noise and the 2016 AFCCG. Not after they've spent 20 years making sweet verbal QBlove to each other. In the long run, I think we'll all regret Mickelson and Woods weren't paired up some of the NFL's true psychos like Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown or someone like that.
But like I said, I'm still looking forward to it. It's a goddamned crime against nature that anyone can be that good at football, that handsome, that nice as still have a golf swing like this.
Phil and Tom by at least six skins.