Phil Mickelson overcame Charles Barkley’s “terrible” golf game to beat Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning in The Match III, and that’s all you need to know about the golf portion of the made-for-TV event, which took place at Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, Arizona.
This was really about the entertainment value and raising funds to benefit historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU).
Tiger Woods, a participant in the first two stagings of The Event, when Barkley was a commentator, sent a care package for Barkley.
There were orange traffic cones, which Manning said were “for the construction going on around your swing. Just the safe zone so Phil, Steph and I can stay away.”
There was a reflective vest, to which Manning said, “It’s deer season so if you get way out in the desert, they’ll know you’re there. So that’s more of a safety measure. I think it’ll fit. It’s a 4X.”
The last laugh went to Barkley for winning, but there were others, as Mickelson played the role of caddie too. On the first hole, Mickelson admitted to intentionally telling Barkley his shot was 15 yards longer.
“I’ve underestimated your ability,” Mickelson said after Barkley’s shot cleared the green.
Barkley’s “NBA on TNT” colleagues joined the broadcast, chiming in from their homes to rib Barkley in his earpiece.
“I’ve got $100,000 on Steph Curry,” Shaquille O’Neal said to Barkley, who then chunked a tee shot.
“I’m tired of your colleagues disrespecting you,” Mickelson told his partner, handing Barkley a package of balls showing O’Neal’s face.
O’Neal increased the offer to $200,000 on Curry once Barkley’s next shot missed the green.
Barkley had a birdie chance later in the modified alternate shot format. As Mickelson helped Barkley read the putt, O’Neal interrupted, “Chuck, if you can’t read words, how you gonna read greens?”
Barkley rubbed off on Mickelson, who put a shot in the desert, only to have it carom toward the fairway off a rock.
“I own the place,” said Mickelson, who actually owns Stone Mountain Golf Club.
Not even Barkley’s ridiculed game could stop Mickelson from winning at golf.