After the resounding success of The Match II featuring Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning, this may only be the beginning. Mickelson said on Wednesday that he believes this could be a viable format going forward and he wants to see more iterations of The Match.
This naturally begs the question: who do we want to see on the course, assuming Woods and Mickelson are consistent members of the group? Brady had some great back-and-forth over the course of the match, and Manning got his jabs in early on, but both are pretty PR-cognizant guys. With live mics on everybody, we could get some excellent entertainment with the right pairing. Who could join Tiger and Phil to make the best possible television?
Tiger Woods/Charles Barkley vs. Phil Mickelson/Michael Jordan
This follows the same basic blueprint as Brady and Manning: take two of the very best to play the game who went up against each other during their primes and pit them against each other. This, however, would be better for numerous reasons. We all know Barkley doesn't care if the mic is hot, he's going to say whatever he likes. Jordan's love of golf and hatred of losing are as well-documented as anything in recent history. To top it all off, Jordan still holds a grudge against Barkley after the latter criticized his general managing skills a few years back.
The golf would be pretty good; according to a February article from Golf Week, Jordan comes in at a 1.9 handicap, and while Barkley's swing may be the ugliest these eyes have ever seen, he can get around fine. Add in the numerous inevitable side bets and the regular ribbing of Barkley from Jordan with some legitimate resentment, and it's appointment viewing.
Tiger Woods/Larry David vs. Bill Murray/Phil Mickelson
As mentioned by Mickelson to the LA Times, if the networks want to go for sheer entertainment value, there's no better foursome. David's golf scenes in Curb Your Enthusiasm are some of the best in the show and the back-and-forths with Murray would be something to behold. Murray would probably be rocking his own brand of fun golf clothes and there's no better celebrity to help advertise The Match than the man who brought us Caddyshack. As an added bonus, Mickelson and David have some history; the latter appeared on the former's brief "Phireside With Phil" web series and traded barbs for most of it. Hard to see a downside here.
Tiger Woods/Jim Nantz vs. Phil Mickelson/Tony Romo
This wouldn't be on the table if The Match takes place the day after Thanksgiving, which is what Mickelson would prefer. But if it ends up a spring or summer event, why not pit the broadcasting duo against each other? Nantz has his own place at Pebble Beach with a replica of hole No. 7 in his backyard, and Romo loves his golf as much as he loves football. This would be a competitive but laid-back match, and a good balance between the other two options. Romo and Nantz wouldn't be going at each other as hard as Barkley and Jordan, but it wouldn't be the equivalent of a golf comedy festival like with David and Murray. It would also be fun to see Romo go up against Woods, considering the two have enjoyed a few Pro-Ams as partners over the years. At the very least, you can bet Romo wants in on the next Match if it fits into his schedule.