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'The Match II' Reminds Us What Golf Is Really About

The Tiger/Peyton-Phil/Tom Golf Thing was the best sporting event in weeks, surpassing Michael Jordan laughing at people he hasn’t seen in 20 years. This was not just quirky and entertaining. It was a surprising reminder of how much fun sports are supposed to be.

These guys cared about winning enough but not too much. They teased each other but not too much. They were relaxed. They raised eight figures for charity, which is of course the best part of what happened. But for viewers, it was compelling television for the strangest of reasons: This was, in a weird way, a better advertisement for golf than most PGA Tour events.

The game is supposed to be hard enough to make the good shots feel great. That is not the case at the typical PGA Tour event these days. What we get instead is the best players in the world using technology that gives them a big margin for error on courses that are not a real test of their skills. Most majors are great. Most other events are not.

Golf is supposed to be a game of camaraderie, of intermittent laughs amid the tests of concentration. Most PGA Tour players are quite engaging, but their personalities don’t come through like we saw Sunday, when four of the most famous athletes on the planet were mic’ed in a four-hour-plus competition.

We got to see Brady and Manning, famous control freaks who impose their wills on entire teams, defer to their partners. The banter between Woods and Manning was minimal, but Mickelson coached Brady so hard, I kept wondering if Brady would leave him for Bruce Arians.

And that brings us to the real key to this show’s success: Brady was awful to start the match. He was a peculiar kind of awful that is almost unique to golf: You could tell he was capable of playing a lot better, but his game was hiding from him. And it hid from him in a nationally televised match alongside the two best golfers of their generation and his longtime friend and rival. He looked like the pressure was rattling him. Tom Brady. Imagine.

Mickelson, to his credit, understood that he had to leave his teammate alone, keep things loose, and hope Brady somehow found his swing.

Most golfers would not recover from Brady’s start. But Brady summoned his inner … uh, Tom Brady, holing out for birdie from the seventh fairway and playing pretty well from there out. Brady and Manning hit some truly clutch shots on the back nine. The juxtaposition of their solid-amateur games with Tiger and Phil’s Hall of Fame skills turned out to be riveting.

Brady and Manning have the quirks of amateur golfers. Brady carried blade irons, including a two-iron, but no driver – who has that combination in their bag? Manning aimed right on almost every tee to play for his natural (and sometimes uncontrollable) draw. Medalist Golf Club is a brutal layout, and at times the course made them look overmatched. But golf is supposed to do that.

And because Brady and Manning played like the amateurs they are, they reminded us just how insanely good Woods and Mickelson are. The skinny on Tiger at this point is pretty straightforward. When he is healthy, he can play as well as anybody in the world, especially from the fairway. But on days when his back isn’t right, he looks old. He has had both kinds of days this year, and will have both going forward. But this was a good day. Except for the time he left Manning with a bunker shot during alternate-shot play, Tiger had astounding control of his ball.

Tiger was quiet and occasionally sarcastic, which is how he usually is with the cameras on. Manning reminded us why the networks coveted him; he may be a more natural public speaker than quarterback. Brady does not need to remind the world he has won three times as many Super Bowls as Manning. Instead, Brady told a story about Drew Bledsoe pulling a prank on him when he was a rookie. It was a juvenile prank, as these things tend to be, but when broadcaster Amanda Balionis asked Brady if he got revenge on Bledsoe, he should have said, “Yeah, I took his job and won six Super Bowls.”

Mickelson, whose mind is constantly churning, described a few shots in fantastic detail before he hit them. He had the most enthusiasm of the crew, and it’s easy to envision Mickelson, who is moving to Florida, playing in money games into his 80s. He loves the trophies and the money, but mostly he lives for the action.

Best Social Media Moments From 'The Match II'

“The Match” returned Sunday as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson faced off in another high-profile charity event. Joining Woods and Mickelson on the course this time were NFL stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

After a rainy day in Hobe Sound, Fla., Woods and Manning left the course victorious. The team led by as many as three and never trailed, and $20 million was raised for COVID-19 relief. 

Throughout the competitive affair, the event was full of memorable moments. Here is a look at some of the best social media moments from the event. 

Woods and Manning Hang On: The duo outlasted Mickelson and Brady at the 18th hole to finish one up and take ‘The Match II’ title

Mickelson and Brady Inch Closer: Brady sunk an eagle putt to cut the deficit to two, and later came as close as one 

At the Turn: Team Woods-Manning led Team Mickelson-Brady by three after the front nine

Tom Brady Holes Out for Eagle: The NFL legend sank it from the fairway after struggling early, then split his pants

Woods-Manning Take an Early Lead: Tiger and his partner got off to a fast start on Woods’ home course

Even Start: Both pairings adapted to the course conditions on a rainy Sunday

Report: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to Make Decision on Delaying 2020 Induction Ceremony

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the 2020 class is still scheduled for Aug. 29, but the committee plans to make a decision in the coming week on whether it will be delayed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to The Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn, Hall of Fame CEO John Doleva said it will be decided whether induction festivities will still be held from Aug. 28-30. If the event is postponed, alternate dates would include Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 9-11) or an undetermined date in the spring of 2021.

The standout 2020 Hall of Fame class is highlighted by Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, along with WNBA player Tamika Catchings, FIBA executive Patrick Baumann and coaches Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens. If the Hall of Fame induction ceremony has to be delayed, Doleva ensured the 2020 class will get its own event. 

“I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” Doleva said. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”

Whenever the Hall of Fame induction takes place, Doleva said the ceremony will be moved to MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., which increases seating capacity by nearly 6,000 from Symphony Hall and would allow for social distancing. The jacket unveiling and awards celebration would also take place at the Mohegan Sun on Aug. 28, with a third day of commemorative events still unclear.

“It’s a wonderful three-day event for us, but it’s in a little in flux because of the coronavirus,” Doleva said. “We’re not sure if that third day could still be done.”

Doleva also added that it is not yet determined who will speak for Bryant upon his induction, but his wife, Vanessa, has said the family wants to participate when the ceremony takes place. Meanwhile, Baumann and Sutton will likely have family members accept the inductions in their honor.

Michigan Pres. Says Without On-Campus Instruction School Won't Have College Athletics

The Michigan Wolverines football team won’t partake in the 2020 season unless students are back on campus, according to school president Mark Schlissel. 

Schlissel told the Wall Street Journal that any decision the school makes for this coming fall will last the entire academic year. 

“If there is no on-campus instruction then there won’t be intercollegiate athletics, at least for Michigan,” said Dr. Schlissel, who is an immunologist by training. 

He added that there is currently “some degree of doubt as to whether there will be college athletics [anywhere], at least in the fall.” 

Michigan president’s comments were published just days after the Southeastern Conference presidents voted that they will allow athletes to return to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 8.

In doing so, the SEC became the first of the 10 conferences to lift its own ban on on-campus activities after the NCAA chose Wednesday not to extend its nationwide moratorium that expires May 31.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren recently told Sports Illustrated‘s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger that, “the next 45–50 days will be critical” in terms of the conference making a decision regarding the future of sports this fall.”

In early May, Penn State football coach James Franklin said that he doesn’t foresee every college football team beginning their seasons concurrently.

“I can’t imagine that right now we’re all going to open at the same time,” he told ESPN. “If the SEC, for example, opens up a month earlier than the Big Ten, and the Big Ten is able to open up and 12 of the 14 schools, if two schools can’t open, I don’t see a conference—any conference—penalizing 80% or 75% of the schools because 25% of them can’t open.”

Mets SP Noah Syndergaard to NY Landlord: 'See You in Court Pal'

Mets star pitcher Noah Syndergaard is in the middle of a legal battle with his New York City landlord.

On Thursday, Syndergaard’s New York state landlord sued the pitcher $250,000 for breach of contract and fees. The 2016 NL All-Star is accused of skipping $27,000 in rent for his Tribeca penthouse after the MLB season was put on hiatus and following Syndergaard’s recent Tommy John surgery.

Syndergaard responded Saturday night on social media.

“So let me get this straight,” Syndergaard wrote on Twitter. “I fairly, and in good faith offered to pay 2 months rent (over 50K) to a landlord for a place I was never going to step foot in due to a global pandemic that took a severe toll upon the residents of NYC, gave timely notice to attempt to try and re-rent, while getting TJ and now living in Florida for rehab, and the landlord tries to extort me for 250K while leaking this story to the media, and I’m the bad guy? Yeah, ok. See you in court pal.”

Per the lawsuit, on April 30, Syndergaard’s lawyers informed his NYC landlord that the pitcher has “no intention of taking possession of the subject premises and the landlord is hereby free to re-rent it as he sees fit.”

The landlord alleges in the suit that that Syndergaard “treated the binding lease like an option.”

The lease ran from March 2 to Nov. 30, according to the lawsuit. 

“We strongly dispute the allegations made against our client and intend on defending him vigorously,” David Goldfischer, Syndergaard’s attorney, told the New York Daily News. “Noah is looking forward to his day in court and is currently focused on remaining safe and healthy during these trying times.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Permits Pro Sports Teams to Begin Training Camps

New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that effective immediately all professional sports teams in the state can begin training camps while following “appropriate health protocols.”

“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps (in the state),” Cuomo said Sunday during his daily press briefing. “I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena—do it, do it.

Cuomo’s decision comes days after he announced that he had alerted major sports teams in the state to plan to reopen their seasons without fans.

“Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen we’re a ready, willing and able partner,” Cuomo said at a press conference Monday.

The Buffalo Bills are presumably the only NFL team that Cuomo’s most recent announcement pertains to as both the Giants and Jets train in New Jersey.

According to Newsday’s Tim Healey, the Mets and Yankees are planning on traveling to Florida for a second spring training.

A number of other states have already announced that they are re-opening to professional sports teams.

“Personal disclosure I want to watch the Buffalo Bills, but I’m still objective. I’m acting as governor. There’s no personal agenda here,” he said on Monday. “This is in the best interest of all the people and in the best interest in the state of New York.”

The NBA, NHL and MLB are still continuing to discuss possible methods that would allow for the resumption or starting of their respective seasons.

The NFL released its 2020 season schedule earlier this month, and seemingly is preparing to start its season on time.