Tee to green, the insults sailed left and right like wayward tee shots. It was more about the quips than chips. There were birdies, GOATs and a bear at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana.
The Match was about shots — making them on the golf course and absorbing a few to the ribs.
Tom Brady competed against Aaron Rodgers for the first time since beating the (then-)Packers quarterback in the NFC Championship Game.
This time, Brady was teaming again with Phil Mickelson against Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau.
We’ve skipped around for time (and space) constraints.
On the first tee
DeChambeau tossed Brady a roll of duct tape. A year ago, Brady ripped his pants during this event. “That’s for your lips,” DeChambeau said.
On the first hole, DeChambeau chipped in for birdie after Rodgers left the second shot well short of the green.
“That’s why Phil doesn’t want to play on the regular tour again,” Rodgers said.
After Rodgers’ poor tee shot on No. 2, Brady said, “We’ll get the bear spray.”
Mickelson wouldn’t concede the hole and made Rodgers putt from 4 feet for par. “I mean, we’re not in hurry, right?” Mickelson said.
Obama zooms in
DeChambeau drove the green with a 3-wood on No. 3 from 392 feet. Brady then used driver to land the tee shot inside of DeChambeau’s.
“I had some good games with him in the Administration,” Brady said of President Barack Obama.
“You said Administration, you’ve been around quite a few of them,” TNT analyst Charles Barkley said.
“Eisenhower. Truman. You’re right,” Brady said. “It goes way back. I’ve been around quite a while.”
At No. 4
After Brady hooked his drive into the woods, Mickelson said, “the dogleg is to the right, right?”
DeChambeau and Rodgers took some time to find their golf balls. They played Rodgers’ shot and DeChambeau chipped it into the fairway.
“They’ve had 15 seconds to find it for the last minute and a half,” Mickelson said.
After a good chip by DeChambeau, Rodgers said he was going to walk it in and did.
Brady won the hole with his birdie putt to go 1-up.
Brady and his work ethic
Rodgers and DeChambeau won the sixth hole, but it was Brady who provided a life lesson.
Barkley noted how Brady prepared for The Match last year, saying the Bucs quarterback played 18 holes in the morning before competing and was running wind sprints in the parking lot to prepare for training camp.
“I said, “That’s incredible, man. It inspired me,’” Barkley said. “But you are Tom, I tell people, ‘You’re a pretty man, too.’”
Brady then provided a lifetime lesson.
“I feel like I was such a late bloomer, I would say, in college and in the pros, I feel like I have to outwork the competition, and that’s still how I feel,” Brady said. “I think for all the kids out there, you’ve got to find traits to sustain for a long period of time. ... It’s been an amazing career for me to still do what I love to do.”
Gronk on the line
Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski called in from his nephew’s baseball game.
“You’re not at the beach too much?” Brady asked Gronk. “You’re ready to go, aren’t you? We’re going here in three weeks.”
Brady said he’s studying his competition. “I’m 30 yards away from Aaron, who’s the leader of the Packers. I think.”
Gronk zinged Rodgers. “Aaron looks more lazy now than I did in retirement,” he said.
Brady hooked his drive on the seventh hole. Mickelson drove within 12 feet and Brady rolled in for birdie.
“Get Rob back on the phone,” he said. “I always play better when he’s in my ear.”
Brady and Rodgers had time to play catch with the football between holes.
The longest hole
No. 8 featured a 280-foot elevation drop on the 777-yard par 4.
Brady threw for less yards (753) in his first three games as a Buc.
Rodgers dropped a birdie putt at No. 10 to go 1-up.
Rodgers gets the question
Play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson, who handles the same duties for the Brewers for Bally Sports Wisconsin, wanted to know if Rodgers will be the Packers QB on opening day.
“I don’t know,” Rodgers said. “We’ll see.”
Barkley gave it a try. “Charles, I’ll tell you this week in Tahoe, and you can leak it,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers drained a birdie putt on No. 11 to go 2-up. He drained another at No. 12, giving him birdies on six of the last eight holes. His team moved to 3-up.
There was no Bucs defense to stop him.
Brady was talking about an epic comeback down three with five to play.
The one-club challenge was a stupid idea. Brady missed a putt with his 7-iron. It’s a bigger deficit than 28-3 to the Falcons in Super Bowl 51.
“No one’s going to talk about this if we’re up three and kind of cruise,” Brady said.
Rodgers/DeChambeau dropped to 2-up when DeChambeau chunked one out of the rough into the woods on No. 15.
Brady needed to win the hole with a birdie putt from about 18 feet on the 16th hole.
“Partner, I would equate it to being fourth-and-eight, down eight. I don’t think we’d be kicking a field goal,” Mickelson said.
Brady missed just right. Rodgers walked in another putt from about 12 feet.
The Match belonged to Rodgers-DeChambeau, 3-up after 16 holes.
“I hadn’t played a lot of golf,” Rodgers said. “I’m just a pretty good putter.”
A new career perhaps? Stayed tuned.
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