On Wednesday, this year's iteration of The Match will commence featuring Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers against Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. The charity event has come a long way since 2018, when Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods played a revolutionary one-on-one round that ended up going to a playoff hole in fading light.
The biggest and most obvious change for this year is the absence of professional golfers. Every previous edition featuring a few PGA guys so there would still be some vague resemblance to the initial draw of The Match, which was good golf. Not this year! This year it's four NFL quarterbacks who like to golf in their spare time, playing a 12-hole exhibition out in Vegas.
The moment Brady joined the fray in 2020 was the moment people stopped tuning in to see the golf and started tuning in to see the soundbites and celebrity interactions that we'd not be privy to otherwise. The change this year to feature only amateurs probably won't affect ratings all too much. But the question still needs to be asked-- will the golf be any good?
Now, it's not like these guys are going to be out there hacking all day. According to CBS Sports, Brady is an eight handicap, Rodgers is about a five, Mahomes is also an eight, and Allen clocks in at a nine. Everybody is roughly around the same skill level and are above-average compared to most of the guys at your local club. There will not be an abundance of triple-bogeys tomorrow.
But, obviously, even Rodgers' play with his five handicap pales in comparison to even the worst players on the PGA Tour. Televised golf is always great golf. Tomorrow, there isn't a guarantee of that. It's not even a likelihood.
There will be great shots, to be certain. At least one of the four is likely to put together a great stretch of shots on a hole or two. The skill level appears to be fairly even so it may even end up competitive by the end, an issue The Match has faced in the years since Tiger and Phil.
But if you're tuning in to watch great golf, your attention may be misplaced. The entertainment value will be high, but not for the quality of play.