The Match 2: Woods/Manning Vs. Mickelson/Brady Betting Preview

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning Vs Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady golf match

This week Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be joined by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound Florida for The Match: Champions for Charity. What was a pay per view event last year will be carried live starting at 3 p.m ET on every single Turner Broadcasting Station known to man (TNT, TBS, truTV, and HLN). Tiger will be paired with Manning, who find themselves as -205 favorites over Phil and Brady who have been pegged as 170+ underdogs

This will be the second weekend in a row with golf action as last Sunday saw Rory and DJ take on Rickie and Matthew Wolff (there will be no first name basis for the kid after that performance) at the famed Seminole Golf Club. While it was awesome having live golf back, the event was a little lackluster outside of Seminole which undoubtedly lived up to the hype. 

In what will likely be a more entertaining match than last week’s showing as well as last year’s rendition of this event, Manning and Brady will take their rivalry from the gridiron to the golf course. The match will be contested at Medalist Golf Club, a course I’ve never seen, which happens to be Tiger’s home course. 

The format of the competition is Best Ball on the Front 9 and Modified Alternate Shot on the Back 9 along with various side games along the way. All of this will be done in an effort to raise money for coronavirus relief as well as to provide us degenerates with something to watch on a Sunday afternoon. Before breaking down the competitors and bets, let’s dive into the course and format of play.

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Course Preview

The Pete Dye designed Medalist Golf Club is located on the Eastern coast of Florida, just North of West Palm Beach. Five years ago the course was lengthened, which makes sense considering the likes of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka also call it home, and it now plays as a Par 72 at just over 7,500 yards.

The newly added tees were aptly named the “Tiger Tees” since, as mentioned, Tiger makes his home here spending most of his off time on this very course. That is a stark contrast from Phil as TCpalm.com quotes multiple members as saying they have never heard of Phil playing the course. 

If Medalist plays like most Pete Dye designs players will see difficult sight lines off the tee and fast and firm greens that have multiple false fronts. It is important to note here that Brady and Manning will be playing from tees further up than where the other two Golf Hall of Famers will be teeing it up from. This will likely make the most impact in Modified Alternate Shot, discussed below. 

Best Ball

The Best Ball format is almost always confused with the Scramble format, so let’s set the record straight. A Scramble is the 6 hour round you play at charity golf events with 3-5 other complete hacks. Everyone tees off, you take the best drive. Everyone hits from there, you take the best second shot, you stock up at the ice chest, you wait for the cart girl, etc etc. 

In a Best Ball format each player plays their own ball throughout the hole just like they are playing a normal round of golf. At the end of the hole the lowest score of the two balls counts for the sake of scoring. The kicker here is that Brady and Manning will be given strokes on holes 3, 6 and 8 which means their score on those holes will count for one stroke less for the purposes of scoring. A bogey will result in a par, a par in a birdie and so on. 

There will likely be some twists and turns here to help the two amateurs be relevant as this format heavily favors Tiger and Phil while the next format will rely equally on all 4 participants. 

Modified Alternate Shot

Traditionally Alternate Shot consists of teammates… well… alternating shots. If Tiger hits a drive, Manning would hit the approach. If Manning putted last, Tiger would hit the drive on the next hole.  With Modified Alternate shot each player will tee off. The players will decide which of the two tee balls to play from and the player that DIDN’T hit that ball will then hit the 2nd shot. Players will alternate from there until the hole is complete. So if Tiger’s drive is chosen, Manning will hit the 2nd shot and Tiger the 3rd so on and so forth. 

You can see how this format really gets the two amateurs involved. Their shots will matter just as much as the two pros, their drives even more so because they will be teeing off from shorter tees. Now that the format is understood, let’s break down the participants. 

Tiger Woods

The last we saw of the GOAT he was shooting a final round 78 en route to basically a DFL at his own tournament, The Genesis Invitational at Riviera. Tiger simply wasn’t healthy prior to the suspension of the season, as evidenced by his withdrawal from THE PLAYERS.

He claims he would have been ready to defend his Master’s title just a few weeks later, but I don’t buy it. This layoff is likely exactly what Tiger needed.

We can’t forget the kind of form Tiger displayed when healthy over the last year and a half: a Green Jacket, a win at a strong field event in Japan and undoubtedly the best performance of the Presidents Cup field while also captaining the US team to a victory.

It also must be reiterated that Medalist GC is where he plays the majority of his golf when not traveling. Considering it is Tiger Freaking Woods playing at his home course I can understand why the market has made him and Manning a -200 favorite. 

The question I have is Tiger’s motivation this weekend. It would be difficult to imagine him ramping it up for a charity hit and giggle. We also know he naturally is a little awkward being buddy-buddy while on camera. There is absolutely no analytics behind this assumption, but I don’t think this format is a good environment to see anything close to the competitive Tiger we know and love. 

Phil Mickelson

The Fade Phil strategy was in full effect prior to the suspension of the season and do I miss it?! Yes! To say Phil was struggling in 2020 is an insult to struggling. Other than a 3rd at the AT&T Pro-Am, which doesn’t matter because he always finds his prime form as soon as he drives onto 17 Mile Drive, Phil had missed 4 straight cuts.

His obsession with hitting BOMBS has left him unable to even sniff the fairway and his claw grip putting stroke has been shaky at best. All of this coupled with his unfamiliarity with the course and Phil has no chance, right? 

Not so fast, Phil showed last year at this same style of event that he could hang with Tiger, beating him over 22 rather boring holes. Further, there will be mics and cameras all over the place? Have you seen his Twitter feed?! Couple that with Phil being a renowned shit talker and he should absolutely be in his element on Sunday. 

Peyton Manning

Manning has been retired since 2016 so it is safe to say he has had plenty of time to spend on the course. When looking at the two amateurs, I decided to do a little GHIN (basically the universal handicap system) search and see if there was any advantage to be found.

Manning has handicaps through Cherry Hills CC and Castle Pines GC, two goat tracks outside of Denver, where he is listed as a 6.4 index which means I want to see him anytime for his Super Bowl Ring. The thing is that Manning is clearly a seasoned vet, as evidenced by the fact that he hasn’t posted a round since September. Getting your index high and then going dark is a CLASSIC pre-tournament maneuver.

Other than that we don’t know much about Manning as a golfer. On one hand, he has never struck me as the most athletic guy ever. On the other hand, it definitely takes a high level of hand-eye coordination, imperative to playing successful golf, to do what he did on the football field.

He should be comfortable mic’ed up in front of the cameras given his numerous commercial cameos but he has never seemed to relish the most competitive circumstances and I don’t care how big a football stage he played on there will be butterflies on the first tee.

Ultimately, this match will come down to how these amateurs perform and whether Manning can outplay Brady. 

Tom Brady

Since football ended I can’t see Brady doing anything other than being locked in the lab crafting his golf game. The guy is insanely competitive! A quick GHIN search shows Brady is an 8.1 index out of Riviera and Brookline (must be tough Tom!). However, Brady is also no stranger to the gamesmanship of tournament golf as he has posted one round in the last nine months.

The question here is whether Brady channels that inner MJ and brings the competitiveness that I don’t think we see from the other  3 competitors. It is hard to judge, we have really never seen Brady in this kind of environment but I have to think the fun and games are over once these guys get onto the closing holes. 

In the end, Brady is the key to this event. His index suggests he is the inferior player to Manning, putting him and Phil at a disadvantage. It is likely Peyton has had more rounds over the last few years, another disadvantage when comparing the two amateurs. On the other hand I trust Brady to do everything he can to be in the best possible form. I mean, did you watch Tom v Time?! 

Enough about the players, let’s make some bets. 

The Plays

Before breaking down the plays it is important to note that we are betting on a charity fundraiser. While there is a Drone Strike at the end of this article, please keep things in the proper perspective. This entire event is centered around raising money for the most worthy cause I have seen in my lifetime.

Putting an article out like this is for pure entertainment purposes with the hope that more people watch on Sunday and are enticed to give as they watch the donation number grow. DO NOT BET NORMAL STAKES! But anything you do make, consider donating a portion to the worthy causes being showcases this weekend. 

With the PSA out of the way, LET’S MAKE SOME MONEY!

1u Phil/Brady +170 o Tiger/Manning (BetOnline.ag):

Let’s first talk about the Pros. Yes, Tiger is a member at Medalist, but that is 100% built into this line. Taking the amateurs out of it for a second, despite the fact Phil hasn’t been good in forever there isn’t a world where I would lay over -200 on Tiger over Phil over a single round of golf.

Think about this: Phil bested Tiger last year at around +140 and this year there is the added randomness of two amateurs, yet the line has increased substantially? That doesn’t make any sense. 

In reality this format does nothing but help Phil. Despite his struggles Phil still makes a ton of birdies, which are necessary to win on the Front 9 Best Ball format. The Modified Alternate Shot also plays into Phil’s strengths as his creativity and fearlessness could save a Brady missque on the back 9 and he is free to hit his patented BOMBS assuming Brady can find the short stuff off the tee.

These things add up to this being FAR closer between the two pros than the +170 number suggests. 

So, the question is how much better is Manning than Brady?

Looking simply at their indexes, not much. A 6.4 handicap beats a 8.1 SUBSTANTIALLY less than 60% of the time. That is maximum one stroke per side! While Manning has been retired longer, the time each has had to prepare following their commitment to this event definitely favors Brady.

Let’s consider this: Brady has been carrying an 8.1 while leading the Pats into the Playoffs while Manning has only gotten down to a 6.4 after being retired for 4 years. I don’t see how a motivated Brady wouldn’t improve on that number given ample practice which would make the two basically a coin flips vs each other. 

I see this as 55%/45% in favor of Woods/Manning AT BEST. Given the line is at -200 or higher, which implies a 66% win probability for the favorite +170 coming back on Phil/Brady is the only side to bet here.

1u Will The 18th Hole Be Played? YES! -120 (BetOnline.ag):

Cmon, this is an event raising money to fight a damn virus that shut down the entire world, you don’t think there is incentive to push this as long as possible?! Tiger and Phil managed to go 22 holes in this event last year and we all had to pay 10 bucks to see it.

This bet also plays into my thinking that this is much closer to a coin flip than the market suggests and if we have a +170 dog on 18 with a chance to win it will be the right side. I fully expect them to milk this for all that it is worth (and I hope they do), making this a no brainer.

While we are at it, let’s sprinkle some lunch money on Will There Be a Playoff? YES! At +275 or better.

1u Will Brady Hit The Fairway On #1? YES! -110 (BetOnline.ag):

I will keep this analysis short and sweet. There is no way in hell the most prepared QB of all time hasn’t been working on a little fairway finder to get it in play on the first hole. NO WAY IN HELL. BET.

DRONE STRIKE!!!!!!

3u Will Tiger Wear A Red Shirt? YES! -WHATEVER (-275 at MyBookie.ag):

Who are they trying to fool here? I don’t think Tiger has ever worn a color other than red on a Sunday of a tournament. He obviously came out in the red shirt/black vest combo for his initial match with Phil.

How on earth does he forgo wearing red on a tournament Sunday when RED IS THE UNIVERSAL COLOR FOR EMERGENCY AND THIS EVENT IS RAISING FUNDS FOR A FREAKIN PANDEMIC?! WTF?! Take your free money. 

As always thank you for reading the article. Thankfully the return of golf is just around the corner which means podcasts, articles and betting cards. If you have any questions about this weekend’s event feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @jmazzjd,  good luck with your wages and consider donating a couple bucks during the event.

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