- ESPN staff writer
- Joined ESPN in 2011
- Graduated from Central Michigan
Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady are taking on Bryson DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers in an 18-hole match, raising money for My Brother’s Keeper and Feeding America.
This is the fourth version of The Match and, as we’ve seen in the past, the trash talk is out in force. It’s just an exhibition, but the competitive nature of the athletes usually makes for good television.
Here are some of the bigger takeaways from The Match and some moments that stood out.
Tom Brady’s golf ball
Brady was warming up on the practice green before the match and the camera man zoomed in on Brady’s golf ball. It was stamped with the seven Super Bowl numbers marking all seven of his Super Bowl wins.
If that’s not a subtle flex, I don’t know what is. Brady can remind himself on every shot just how many rings he has. If he wins anymore, they might not all fit on one ball.
Mickelson not interested in football
The practice range didn’t see too much trash talk. It was more small talk between the players. Since Brady and Rodgers are both in the match, football came up as a topic of discussion.
Mickelson called himself soft and said he wouldn’t want to get hit the way Brady and Rodgers do. He said he would be done. DeChambeau agreed.
DeChambeau chipped in for birdie
The first hole was looking as though it would go Mickelson and Brady’s way as the team hit their ball on the left side of the green and were looking at a long birdie putt. In the modified alternate shot format, Rodgers hit the second shot, after using DeChambeau’s tee shot, short of the green.
DeChambeau explained his thought process for the ensuing chip to the commentators through his microphone. Then he stepped up and knocked it in for birdie. Mickelson missed his birdie putt and went one down on the first hole.
Rodgers quiets Mickelson
It’s well known that Mickelson likes to talk on the course and especially in these matches. Before the round, Rodgers said he had a strategy to deal with Mickelson and his trash talk.
Apparently part of that strategy was telling Mickelson to shut up, as he told Mickelson to quiet down on the first hole and again on the sixth hole.
Getting chippy early
The trash talk did pick up a little on the second hole as Mickelson made Rodgers putt a 4-footer for par instead of giving him the putt.
“We’re not in a rush,” Mickelson said.
Rodgers didn’t take kindly to that and made fun of Mickelson’s belt buckle, sarcastically telling him it could probably be bigger.
On the next tee, Mickelson was preparing to hit and Rodgers asked him if he was using a TaylorMade driver. Mickelson is notably on the Callaway roster. Rodgers joked he was glad to have Mickelson as part of the TaylorMade family.
Charles Barkley, part of the commentary team, got into the trash talking as well after former U.S. president Barack Obama joined the broadcast. Brady said he had a lot of good football games during his administration, to which Barkley replied, “You said his administration. Whose administration? You’ve been playing during a lot of them.”
Once the group got to the green, Mickelson missed an eagle putt only to have the birdie putt conceded. Rodgers and DeChambeau both missed putts to lose the hole.
They’re probably hurting inside after that,” Brady said, looking at the television camera. “I wasn’t expecting to see that.”
Mickelson taking jabs at DeChambeau
Coming into the match, DeChambeau and Mickelson had taken subtle shots at each other. DeChambeau joking about Mickelson’s age and Mickelson saying he was going to outplay DeChambeau.
That carried over on the course after Mickelson hit a drive in the fairway with 317 yards of carry. DeChambeau stepped up to the tee and hooked his tee shot into the trees.
Mickelson joked, telling DeChambeau that’s what happens when he tries to copy him.
“National TV, a 51-year-old outdriving you,” Mickelson said. “That’s not OK.”
Unfortunately for DeChambeau, Mickelson won the long-drive contest on the par 5 sixth hole, as well. He made sure to tell DeChambeau how much fun he was having.
Brady got in on the action, too, saying “Bryson’s the slowest in the group. Only thing slower than him is my 40 (yard dash) time.”
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