CHAMPIONS FOR CHARITY PREVIEW: GOLF AND NFL JOIN FORCES

Champions for Charity Golf

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The PGA Tour returns from its coronavirus-enforced hiatus in three weeks’ time, courtesy of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. But there’s a bonus in store for golf betting enthusiasts who are fizzing for PGA odds to come back on to the docket, with two of the game’s all-time greats getting back on the links on Monday morning (AEST) – flanked by two icons from the NFL.

The Match: Champions for Charity event at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, pits golfing giants Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson against one another in doubles match play. The arch rivals will pair up with NFL superstars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady respectively; don’t expect either to turn up in PGA Championship odds anytime soon, but both are handy with woods and irons.

It’s not exactly US Open golf but it’s all for a good cause, with $10 million (plus more from on-course challenges) to be donated to COVID-19 relief efforts – and punters can also peruse some juicy golf odds.

TIGER WOODS AND PHIL MICKELSON: BEST OF ENEMIES

Tiger Woods is widely regarded as the best golfer of all time and also features in the ‘greatest athlete ever’ conversation. Announcing himself on the world stage by winning the 1997 Masters Tournament, Woods took out the PGA Championship in 1999, and won the US Open golf title and The Open Championship for the first time in 2000 – becoming just the fifth player to win all four majors.

Woods dominated the sport and PGA championship odds for a decade. After a period of personal troubles off the course and long-running injury woes, he made a triumphant return to golf’s apex in 2019, defying PGA odds to win his 15th major at the Masters Tournament and a record-equalling 82nd PGA victory.

Fellow American Phil Mickelson’s profile among modern golfers arguably exceeds that of Woods. Mickelson has won five majors – finally breaking through in 2004 at the Masters Tournament and last saluting at the 2013 Open Championship.

The only major to elude Mickelson is the US Open golf title, where he has finished runner-up an agonising six times.

Like Woods, Mickelson has enjoyed a career resurgence since snapping a long winless streak in 2018. Both have returned to the forefront of PGA odds.

The magnetic pair have forged one of golf’s most intense rivalries over the years. They are reportedly not fond of each other – or at least weren’t when they were vying for top billing in their sport – but there is unquestionably a mutual respect between the champions.

And while both are past their peak, Woods and Mickelson will be hell-bent on getting a win over the other in Hobe Sound. Neither has played competitively since February.

PEYNTON MANNING AND TOM BRADY: LEGENDARY QUARTERBACKS TOUCH DOWN ON THE COURSE

Woods’s partner, Peyton Manning, won two Super Bowls during an 18-season (1998–2015) career in the NFL. The quarterback was the Super Bowl MVP in 2006 after steering the Indianapolis Colts to glory, and he also helmed the Denver Broncos’ offence when they saluted in 2015.

Recent Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquisition Tom Brady, who will partner with Mickelson, took the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl wins during 19 seasons with the franchise.

Manning won five NFL MVP awards to Brady’s three, but Brady is considered the NFL’s G.O.A.T. by most pundits. The pair staged many memorable battles over the years – including in four AFC Championship Games – but this will be a rare opportunity for punters to mull over the legends’ golf odds in the golf betting sphere.

They are dab hands at golf, too: Manning plays off a 6.4 handicap, while Brady plays off 8.1.

HOW THE CHAMPIONS FOR CHARITY MATCH WORKS

Match play golf effectively means each hole is a separate contest, rather than a running total of shots.

The first nine holes in The Match: Champions for Charity will be a four-ball format – all four players will play their own ball, with the best winning the hole. The back nine will be played under Modified Alternate Shot rules, with all four players teeing off before taking turns in their teams to play the selected ball.

Team Woods and Manning were warm favourites in golf betting at the time of writing, with Mickelson and Brady the outsiders.

There’s a stack of markets to choose from and punters after bigger golf odds could be eyeing up the Woods and Manning half-time/full-time result – leading after nine holes and at the end of the match.

In a sporting landscape deprived of its superstars for more than two months, witnessing four of the most recognisable athletes in history shapes as a soul-soothing exercise. A standout performance from Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson could sway PGA odds and PGA Championship odds ahead of the PGA’s return – but the long-time adversaries and the pigskin-hurling partners will have a solitary focus at Medalist Golf Club… even if it is all for charity.

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