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  • Alistair Tait

A Golf Match Too Far?

Was the whole Bryson versus Brooks feud a complete con? An elaborate hoax to drum up interest in The Match?

You can’t blame cynics for coming to that conclusion. After all, two guys who supposedly don’t like each other spending 12 holes on the links seems like the last thing each would want. It’s a bit of a stretch to think they’ve gone from supposedly making up at the Ryder Cup to suddenly saying “hey, let’s play a few hole together.”

Oh, wait, they’re being paid millions to tee it up at Wynn Golf club in Las Vegas in November.

It would be Vegas, wouldn’t it? How many other heavyweight bouts have taken place in that town? Plenty. Here’s a thought, if sponsors Capital One want to make even more money from The Match, then why not forget about the golf course, golf clubs and balls and just have them square off in the ring at Caesars Palace. Bet you many would pay to watch that contest.

Hmmm, who would win? Pretty sure the bookies would make Brooks favourite despite Bryson’s brawn. In fact, it’s a fight that might not even go the distance.

Maybe the only reason Brooks and Bryson are playing a 12-hole match is because they might just actually come to blows if forced to play a full 18 holes.

This sentence in the press release to announce The Match is intriguing:

“Live coverage of the match play event will once again feature unprecedented access with players having open mics throughout the entire competition, including the capability to communicate directly with their competitor and the broadcast commentators.”

We’ve already heard how these two communicate with each other, thanks to that leaked video footage earlier this year. Wonder if they’ll be egged on to shout insults at each other rather than simply say, “Great shot old chap.”

Back to the boxing possibilities. Wonder if they’ll stage some sort of faux pas weigh in where Brooks and Bryson square up nose to nose with one another dressed in Y Fronts, sweat glistening off rippled bodies, with heavyweight minders in black suits and sunglasses having to separate then from coming to blows?

One side of me says we shouldn’t be too sniffy about this 12-hole contest. After all, there have been some great one-on-one matches over the years. Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf featured some brilliant match ups played over great golf courses: Hogan v Snead; Nicklaus v Palmer; Els v Mickelson; Norman v Faldo, etc. It’s a You Tube treasure trove for golf lovers.

Another reason for not getting too sniffy about this particular match is the money it will raise. As the press release states:

“Capital One’s The Match has raised nearly $30 million in support of various charities and initiatives and has generated nearly 10 million meal donations through Feeding America and other organizations.”

Such a sum is also not to be sniffed at, especially in an age when so many are living on or near the breadline.

I’m all for trying different formats in golf. If you’re a regular reader, then you’ll know my feelings on the obsession with endless 72-hole stroke play golf. And while purists will decry the circus atmosphere of this particular contest, it will appeal to an extremely wide audience, perhaps to many who have no interest in the royal and ancient game.

I’m torn on whether this match is good for the game of golf or just a shameless gimmick so Brooks and Bryson can cash in on the PGA Tour’s obscene $40 million player impact program.

Have we really been conned? Is this a match too far?

Hmm, wonder what I’m doing on the 26th of November. Maybe I’ll tune in, or maybe that’s the day I’ll finally get round to regripping my clubs.

Will you be watching?

#JustSaying: “If you ever feel sorry for somebody on a golf course, you better go home. If you don’t kill them, they’ll kill you.” Seve Ballesteros

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