Live sports are coming back.
This afternoon, “The Match 2” is set to tee off at 3 p.m. (EST). Before committing to five hours of golf, I weighed my options for watching a celebrity round. I gave myself five reasons to watch, or not to watch “The Match 2.” I’ll let you decide what to do.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH
- Live Sports: Sports fans have complained about the lack of live sports since everything shut down in mid-March. Well, now they are coming back. And if you’re like me and don’t like watching NASCAR, professional cornhole, or people beating the shit out of each other, golf’s return is good news. No activity is perfect in these times, but golf is as close as you can get to a socially distant and safe sport. So why not play and tune in?
- Best Ball: Best ball is the game to play when the skill levels do not match. The format will allow the two teams, Manning + Tiger vs. Brady + Phil, to strategize their play. The pros obviously post lower scores than the quarterbacks, but Brady and Manning put up low numbers, too. Manning has a 6.4 handicap and Brady has an 8.1. That number should go down when he retires in a few years, or decades. And if I were Peyton and Tiger, I’d definitely inspect Brady’s golf balls (and clubs while they’re at it).
- The Participants: Love ’em or hate ‘em, this foursome includes some of the best athletes of all time. Yes, “The Match 2” may be long and, perhaps, unwatchable if it becomes a blowout. But this is probably the only time we will see these four together for hours at a time. So, sit back and enjoy.
- Money: Live sports means sports gambling. “The Match 2” may not be a pro event, but bookies and sports betting sites are acting like it is. There are a number of odds, prop bets, and specials you can put your money on before and during the match.
- Trash talk: Yes, some of the trash-talk lines you’ll hear will be scripted, but that does not mean the players won’t have some good shade. Each team will have a trash-talker — and I expect Phil and Peyton to lead the charge. Also, hot mics during an event are seldom used in sports. But when they are, they make for great TV.
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT WATCH
- It will get rained out : The forecast is not looking good. The match will be played at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sounds, Florida, but “heavy thunderstorms” are slated to arrive in the afternoon. Early this morning, CBS Sports NFL columnist and South Florida native, Pete Prisco, tweeted this:
If the match is postponed due to inclement weather, it will be pushed back to Monday, Memorial Day.
- Awkward pauses in conversation: Ask yourself, what are these guys going to talk about for five hours? They’re not going to engage in small talk. They’re not going to talk about the coronavirus. But they also won’t talk about golf the entire time. There will be long, awkward silences in the game like the long, awkward pauses on your zoom calls. Like a video happy hour, you may end up preemptively exiting, opting to just drink alone.
- Golf is long: You’ve been watching a ton of TV in quarantine, I get it. But binging Tiger King for five hours is not the same as watching four dudes play golf for an entire afternoon. Don’t kid yourself, you will take a few minutes here and there to check your phone, browse the internet or check to see if there are other live sports on (there are not). You may be excited for some live sports, but by the 11th hole you may lose patience.
- Athlete brand marketing: Is this match just a ploy for Brady to sell his new TB12 formula? Will every commercial be a Peyton Manning Nationwide special? How many brand names will be on the golfers’ shirts or bags? Mega sports events will also suffocate viewers with brand messaging. Don’t think the advertising can’t drown out the play.
- No fans: The fans at a golf match are a part of the television experience. Their energy brings a palpable excitement to the game. Moreover, athletes feed off the crowd. Remember Tiger Woods’ last putt at last year’s Masters?
Or what if a player hits a hole in one?
Obviously, these guys can create their own excitement. But without fans, this event will have less palpable enthusiasm.