Never say that a good rivalry is not good for ratings.
At least that’s the basic premise of Capital One’s fifth edition of The Match this week. For much of the past year, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau and their fans have been shooting each other, and the back-and-forth got so silly at one point that PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan has in fact stated that fans could get kicked out of tour events for adding to the vitriol by saying the wrong thing to the wrong player.
Remember, before, The Match was Tiger Woods v Phil Mickelson, a pretty good rivalry, and then there were amateur partners Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, also longtime rivals. Rivalry fuels the event.
Bad feelings dissipated between Koepka and DeChambeau, we are told, during the Ryder Cup, when golfers actually offered to play together for the good of the team. Then came the news that the two talented golfers and major championship winners would be The Match’s star attraction on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It will be televised by TNT and TBS at 1:00 p.m. PT.
In a sense, The Match is just an extension of what golf has always tried to provide – a competition designed for television between two (or four) players on golf courses that many people will never play or may have never seen. No one will mistake Shell’s The Match for Wonderful World of Golf, but at least the idea and spirit are similar.
Team USA player Bryson DeChambeau examines his distance log on the sixth green during the singles day three of the 43rd Ryder Cup.
How different will The Match V be from previous matches that relied heavily on Mickelson as a contender? And what will be the same?
Learn more about the match: How to watch | Odds | Distance book | Wynn Photo Gallery
Here are five things to think about before Koepka and DeChambeau take the start:
This is only a 12 hole match
Bryson DeChambeau walks the 13th hole fairway during the second round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin on November 2, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)
This is an important difference. Frankly, for all the fun offered by previous events made for television, the drama of two golfers competing live tends to fade away somewhere on the last nine as the game heads into a fourth hour. This 12 hole game will be shorter, keep fans interested and make each hole a little more meaningful.
Do they despise themselves or not?
Brooks Koepka overlooks the 11th green in the first round of the US Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Despite all the love shown at the Ryder Cup, the two players seem to have resumed their trolling towards each other in recent weeks. What is not sure is if this is a genuine aversion to each other, or if it is nothing more than the kind of hype you would see before a boxing match? Either way, two things seem certain. First of all, we will hear a lot of jokes in this game. Second, no one is going to come to grips with a game of golf.
It’s Vegas, so this is the game?
No.13 at Wynn Golf Club. Photo by Wynn Las Vegas / Brian Oar
The game will be played at the Wynn Golf Club, just one block from the Las Vegas Strip. Las Vegas is a city built on gambling, and previous games have seen a lot of talk about live gambling during games. It is debatable if anyone is actually putting any money on the player who wins the seventh hole, but we’re sure to hear about the odds. Here is the first line on Tipico.
Phil Mickelson will be there
Phil Mickelson looks on before putting on the 18th green in the second round of the BMW Championship Golf Tournament, Saturday August 28, 2021, at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. (TBEN Photo / Terrance Williams)
No, Lefty will not be playing in this match as he has in the past, at least not to our knowledge prior to the start of the competition. But he’ll be there as a commentator, a role he continues to show he’s well suited for. Will Mickelson’s beards from the stand have an impact on the game? Will he actually put a club in his hand at some point? It’s Las Vegas, so anything is possible.
People are watching (even if they say they are not)
Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley celebrate Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning’s loss 4 & 3 on the 15th green during the Capital One: Champions For Change game at Stone Canyon Golf Club on November 27, 2020, in Oro Valley, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen / Getty Images for The Match)
One of the things you hear from diehard golf fans about previous editions of The Match, with top golfers joined by quarterbacks and basketball players, is diehard fans wouldn’t be. not taken to death watching a simple cash prize. exposure. But someone would watch a lot, otherwise Capital One wouldn’t continue to sponsor it and TNT wouldn’t continue to broadcast it on TV. And the event raises significant funds for charities. So unless the ratings drop to zero, you can expect The Match 6 in the near future.
Larry Bohannan is The Desert Sun golf writer, he can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 778-4633. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter at @larry_Bohannan.