LAS VEGAS — A week after professional golf returned with the TaylorMade Driving Relief event, another benefit for COVID-19 efforts takes place Sunday.
Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., will host The Match: Champions for Charity pitting Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. The front nine will be best ball and the back nine alternate shot. Other challenges during the match will raise additional funds.
Woods/Manning opened as -150 favorites this month at Westgate Superbook USA by Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk management and senior golf oddsmaker. Woods/Manning are now -200 at that book with the takeback at +175 on Mickelson/Brady. William Hill is offering Woods/Manning at -190 and Mickelson/Brady at +170.
Woods was a -200 favorite for “The Match” in November 2018 at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but Mickelson pulled a mild upset on the fourth extra hole to win the $9 million winner-take-all showdown.
Numerous props are available throughout the industry, including the leaders after various holes, whether a team will win three straight holes, or make an eagle, and if the event will need extra holes. One should anticipate that the yes prices will draw the bulk of the wagering, especially the extra holes prop considering last weekend’s match went extra time as did the 2018 match.
Medalist Golf Club is a fairly difficult par-72, 7,157-yard layout, and it’s over 7,500 yards from the “Tiger tees.” Numerous PGA Tour players are members, including Brooks Koepka, Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. Manning and Brady have played Medalist.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning after the AFC Championship game in Jan. 2014.AP
On a recent online meeting hosted on Bleacher Report by Ernie Johnson of Turner Sports, Brady said he shot 106 the last time he played Medalist. Manning said he had played this track with Woods.
“I’ve played Medalist before with Tiger, and an old teammate of mine, Brandon Stokley, was with me, and on the 18th hole, I leaned over to Stokley and asked if I could borrow a ball,” Manning said. “I was out of balls by the time I got to 18. And [Stokley] said all he had was a yellow one left. I was like, ‘I cannot play a yellow ball in front of Tiger Woods.’ So we’re digging in the marsh trying to find one more ball so I could finish the hole.”
Woods obviously has home-course advantage as a club member. Mickelson recently indicated he plans to join Michael Jordan’s private The Grove XXIII golf club just south of Medalist. Brady, having just relocated to Florida to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, recently joined the nearby Seminole Golf Club. All four participants have played this course, but Woods and Manning are the natural favorites considering they’ve played here together. In addition, Manning’s golf game looks to be in better form since he is retired, while Brady is still an active player.
Per the USGA’s Golf Handicap Information Network, Manning has a 6.4 handicap index. His five most recent logged scores as of late April were 83-88-82-86-84. He’s a member of Cherry Hills Country Club in suburban Denver. Brady sports an 8.1 handicap index, and his five most recent logged scores as of late April were 96-86-93-83-85. Before joining Seminole, Brady played most regularly out of The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
In March, Woods skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational and withdrew from The Players Championship, citing back tightness. The lean here would be to Woods/Manning, but I would advise waiting closer to the event before laying the near $2 chalk. Last week the underdog Fowler/Wolff saw late money, and the same could happen for Mickelson/Brady. The current price on Mickelson/Brady is likely to shorten, so if you like the underdogs, who seem more motivated based on their social media platforms, bet them now.