Golf fans in the UK wishing to watch Tiger Woods take on Phil Mickelson in this Sunday’s Covid-19 relief match will have to go to an unfashionable channel when it comes to live sport. But the good news for those without a subscription is that CNN International is on Freesat.
It was presumed that Sky Sports would show “The Match: Champions for Charity”, particularly after the golf specialists screened last Sunday’s exhibition game that saw Rory McIlroy win $1.1 million (£900,000) for the American Nurses Foundation on the first extra hole. However, negotiations broke down earlier in the week and the news network stepped in with a rare foray into live sport.
Owned by WarnerMedia News and Sports - which is also the parent company of Turner Sports, the US station that will screen the action from The Medallist course in Florida - CNN International will screen the 18 holes from 8pm (BST), with Woods teaming up with Peyton Manning, the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback, to compete against Mickelson and Tampa Bay Buccaneers playmaker Tom Brady.
The competition will start with nine holes of four-ball-better-ball, before switching to nine of greensome foursomes that will feature each pair selecting their best option off the tee and then taking alternate shots. The contest will raise $10m for pandemic causes, although Mickelson insists there will be an edge to proceedings.
Last year, Mickelson went head-to-head in Las Vegas in “The Match” and beat the 15-time major winner, winning $9m (£7.4m). But that made-for-TV event was criticised for the lack of atmosphere and “banter” between the rivals.
“Tiger and I clamped up the first time, but that won’t happen again,” Mickelson said to GolfWeek, claiming that the introduction of the Superbowl-winners will liven up the spectacle.
“I think having Peyton there will be a big part of it because he gives me and Tom somebody to rough up. Peyton, when he comes back at you, he does it in a funny way that elicits a laughter from you as opposed to a defensive response.”
Mickelson was due to arrive at The Medallist on Thursday and vowed to belittle Woods at the club where the reigning Masters champion is a member.
“I can’t wait to go to Tiger’s place and take him down,” Mickelson said. “Tiger thinks he has a huge advantage playing there because he was insistent that this event is played on his home course - despite everyone else wanting to play it elsewhere. That’s fine. We’ll take it to him and Peyton.”
The PGA Tour will use the spectacle as another chance to analyse their health and safety policies before the circuit restarts for real on June 11 in Texas. The Tour has been inactive since Mar 12.