Charles Barkley scheduled playing golf in the third edition of “The Match” for the day after his Thanksgiving feast. That is not good news for Phil Mickelson, who will need to carry Barkley and his expandable waistband against fellow sports icons Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning in the made-for-TV event Friday.
Tiger Woods bowed out of returning to the event, which will benefit historically Black colleges and universities, a tip of the golf cap to Curry helping to re-establish golf teams at Howard University.
The quality of play takes a massive divot by going from Woods to Barkley, but the entertainment quotient could wind up all over the place like Barkley’s shots. His errant shots can’t go far enough to escape “Cart Cam.”
“I’ve been working my behind off,” Barkley told Golfweek. “I’ve been hitting balls for four to five hours a day and I’ve been playing every day. Listen, if I don’t do well, it won’t be from a lack of effort. I can promise you that.”
The foursome will play at Mickelson-owned Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, Ariz., on TNT, starting at 3 p.m. EST. Mickelson took a $9 million winner-takes-all purse in the first “The Match” event before the Woods-Manning tandem won the second one against Mickelson and Tom Brady to raise $20 million for COVID-19 relief.
“The (HBCU) cause is near and dear to my heart,” Barkley told Golfweek. “I don’t mind embarrassing or humiliating myself for a great cause.”
The Curry-Manning team is more balanced than the Mickelson-Barkley duo, but Curry is a near-scratch golfer who has competed in Korn Ferry Tour events. The modified alternate shot format will have Mickelson and Barkley both tee off and then swap balls for the second shots before picking the best ball and alternating shots from there.
Curry might not be able to play as well as Mickelson, but Manning will give Barkley a run in trash talk.