Following the success of its first two incarnations, The Match III: Champions for Change will take place Friday with a different feel to it.
Phil Mickelson returns for his third appearance, but Tiger Woods will be nowhere to be found this time.
Instead, “Lefty” is teaming up with woeful golfer Charles Barkley to take on the team of Peyton Manning and Stephen Curry.
These four are coming together to raise money for historically black colleges and universities, as well as other diversity initiatives.
What can we expect from this unusual matchup, and how can Iowa sports bettors come out on top?
How to watch The Match 3: Champions for Change
- What: The Match 3: Champions for Change
- Who: Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley vs. Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning
- When: Friday, Nov. 27, 2 p.m. CST
- Where: Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, AZ
- Format: Modified Alternate Shot
- TV: TNT
Oddsmakers favoring Manning & Curry
Despite Mickelson being the best golfer of the four by a wide margin, oddsmakers don’t like his pairing with Sir Charles.
The reasoning behind Manning and Curry being the favorite is the format. These four will be competing in the alternate shot for the 18 holes, but there will be a slight twist.
All four golfers will tee off on every hole. They must then play their teammate’s ball on the second shot. For instance, Barkley and Mickelson would each tee off for the first shot. Mickelson then must hit his second shot using Barkley’s tee shot. Barkley will take his second shot off Mickelson’s tee shot.
After the second shots for all four competitors, the team decides which ball is the better option of the two and finishes the whole with that ball in normal alternate shot format, where the two alternate who takes the next swing or putt until the hole is completed.
Scoring will be in match-play format, so the team who wins more holes will be the winner. Winning a hole by one stroke is no different than winning the hole by five strokes.
Mickelson will have to carry the weight
Mickelson is the veteran of The Match. He defeated Woods in the first event in one-on-one match play.
In May, he and Tom Brady paired together but lost to Woods and Manning in The Match II. Mickelson was the underdog in each of the first two events as well.
This time around, Mickelson has the tallest task to attempt to carry Barkley.
Barkley notoriously has one of the worst swings you will see in golf, as he has struggled with a double, triple or even quadruple clutch on his downswing.
After being critical of Brady and Manning during the TV broadcast of The Match II, Barkley was asked to put his money where his mouth is.
Barkley claims to have an improved swing, but in July, he finished second-to-last in the American Century Celebrity Golf Challenge. Barkley posted a minus-68 in the modified Stableford scoring format. That’s not good. By comparison, Curry shot a +56.
Mickelson hasn’t been his sharpest coming into this event. He finished tied for 55th at The Masters two weeks ago and hasn’t cracked the top 40 of an event since early August.
Manning, Curry more equals
Peyton Manning fared pretty well for himself during The Match II in May.
The part-owner of Sweetens Cove, a 9-hole public course in Tennessee, Curry posts about a 6.4 handicap at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, TN.
Curry has pursued professional golf in the past. The current star of the Golden State Warriors played in two Korn Ferry Tour events in 2017 and ’18, but missed the cut in both events.
Over those two events, Curry averages an impressive 319.5 yards per drive and averaged 78.5 strokes per round. According to The Golf Channel, Curry has a 0.6 handicap.
Curry looks to be the stronger of the two golfers on paper, but both are capable of some good shots throughout the match. The key will be avoiding the major mistakes to open the door for Mickelson and Barkley.