“The Match-Champions for Charity”; Turner comes through! Tiger/Peyton beat Phil/Brady; Covid-19 the winner


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TNT and its companion networks, including TBS and TRUE, showed The Match featuring the teams of Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning and Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. It was an outstanding performance. They get an a A++. The effort was certainly worthwhile. raised $20 million for various organizations engaged in COVID 19 relief. It didn’t really matter who won, (Woods/Manning did), except for bragging rights.

We all know who really won, COVID-19 relief and the American public!


  • Ernie Johnson did a wonderful opening monologue discussing the challenges faced the past few months. He sprinkled in his personal story as to why he decided to skip this event. Ernie’s 31 year old son has faced a lifetime of health issues, often times needing a ventilator. He didn’t want to take any risk of coming home with COVID-19.
  • Brian Anderson essentially filled in for Ernie and the versatile vet did a fine job moving things along, striking the right balance between the lightheartedness and competitive instincts that these legends demonstrate. Anderson did a solid job too conducting interviews with celebrities who got in on the action from afar. JJ Watt, Russell Wilson and Brooks Koepka were a few of the celebrities who added to the fun, pledging “challenges” along the way which significantly upped the totals of the fundraiser.
  • I’ve written about Trevor Immelman, professional golf analyst for a while now. He’s a rising star in the golf broadcast world. Clear and concise, Trevor was very complimentary of the pros and noted that Woods was driving the ball particularly well and that Mickelson was so deft on his chip shots. More importantly, I felt he was striking the right tone and balance with amateurs Brady and Manning.
  • Charles Barkley was perfect on this broadcast in every way. He keyed in early on Tom Brady’s struggles. At one point, Barkley used an opportunity to talk with the participants to challenge Brady to a match.  At about the same time too, PGA star Brooks Koepka was called into the broadcast and he offered 100k to the relief effort if Brady could par a hole on the front 9 as he was struggling. So what does Brady do?  What Tom always does, of course. He holes out for birdie from 115 yards on the 7th hole, sending Chuck into “I can’t believe what I just saw mode.” Brady chirped back at Barkley to eat some craw. However, Barkley was more than that  He asked Woods at one point how he feels coming into the PGA’s abbreviated yet grueling shortened season that’s coming up. Chuck also commented on veteran tour official Slugger White getting some practice in after the long layoff with Manning and that Brady mostly sprayed it a good deal on the front 9.
  • Amanda Balionis- On-Course Reporter- She always brings her A game. Balionis was outstanding in keeping the energy and the banter going between the groups. She had a way in this competition to keep things light but made sure the viewers at home got what they wanted. All the competitors didn’t disappoint in this regard during the match.
  • Justin Thomas- On- Course Reporter. The PGA tour star and #4 player in the world made his broadcast debut and frankly was outstanding.  He was poised, gave some really honest analysis on the pros’ games and you just knew how much respect he has for Tiger and Phil. You could hear the awe in his voice and it was really intriguing to hear his perspective at times. Not going to hear him for years on a broadcast but tuck this away: He has the chops!
  • The broadcast didn’t have that lag feeling during the original match that Tiger and Phil played a couple years ago. Perhaps it was the need for a live sporting event. But with the competitors mic’d up, giving each other some occasional grief, along with the format which came down to the final hole, it was everything TNT, The Tour, The NFL and the American public needed. A huge gigantic diversion featuring legends who delivered as they usually do!

Turner issued this release on May 25th:

Turner Sports’ exclusive live presentation of Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Charity delivered an average of 5.8 million viewers, those watching across TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, to score the most-watched golf telecast in the history of cable television. Associated with the live telecast, WarnerMedia and the golfers collectively raised $20 million to benefit COVID-19 relief.
The blockbuster event – headlined by Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning – generated the top program of the day across all of television, based on metered market delivery, and peaked with an average of 6.3 million viewers from 5:45-6 p.m. ET.


Dan Mason

Dan Mason has been in sports broadcasting since the 1980s, doing play by play, color and covering the ACC. He previously hosted programming for ESPN Radio in Raleigh. He can be reached at twitter: @mason87dan

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Michael Green
3 years ago

Charlie Pierce, my favorite political blogger, is also a marvelous sportswriter. He watched and said we need to start a movement to have Barkley work the 18th at Augusta.