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Plenty of bets, banter expected for Tiger-Peyton, Phil-Tom match

Updated May 23, 2020 - 12:47 pm

The friendly trash talk started during an interview to promote Sunday’s “The Match: Champions for Charity,” which pits -200 favorites Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against +175 underdogs Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in an 18-hole event at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.

“The tournament had to be in Florida — after Tom’s B&E arrest, with the ankle monitor, he couldn’t leave the state,” Manning joked. “So it had to be in Florida. Tiger and I talked to the sheriff in Tampa, (and) he’s going to be allowed to go to Palm Beach to play.”

Manning was referencing an April incident in which Brady walked into a stranger’s house in Tampa Bay, thinking it was the home of Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

Manning then took another good-natured jab at Brady for leaving New England after 20 seasons.

“I’ll be honest, I’ve never played Tom very well on his home turf,” he said. “I would have loved to have this tournament in a place where they don’t like Tom very much, like Indianapolis, Denver or Boston — after he just betrayed them and broke their hearts.”

With Manning and noted trash talker Mickelson in the mix, Sunday’s showdown (12 p.m., TNT ) should be more entertaining than the first Tiger-Phil match won by Mickelson in 2018 at Shadow Creek Golf Course in North Las Vegas.

It also should be more fun to watch than Sunday’s skins match that Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson won over Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.

“It will be more entertainment than competition, but there’s going to be bets on it,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “It’s the two biggest personalities in golf, and Manning’s personality speaks for itself.”

Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk Jeff Sherman expects to handle three or four times more action than Sunday’s skins match, which generated about half the handle of an average PGA Tour event.

“Last weekend felt kind of bland,” he said. “Plus, a lot of people are less familiar with the skins format than the match play format.”

Format

The Match, which will raise $10 million for COVID-19 relief, will feature a best-ball format on the front nine where each golfer plays his own ball and the lowest score wins the hole. The back nine will feature a modified alternate-shot format where all four golfers hit tee shots and each team alternates shots from there.

Tiger’s king

Sherman initially projected Woods-Manning to be -150 favorites. But he adjusted the price to -200 when it was announced the match would take place at Tiger’s home course.

“That’s where Tiger lives. He plays there all the time,” he said. “I felt there was a 50-cent advantage for that versus other golf courses in Florida.”

Manning better than Brady

Manning, a member of Augusta National Golf Club, has a 6.4 handicap and is considered a better golfer than Brady, who has an 8.1 handicap.

“Tiger himself would’ve been a favorite over Phil, like the last time they played in 2018, when he was a -200 favorite,” Sherman said. “We factored that into the price, the course and the fact that Manning is supposedly a little bit better golfer than Brady.”

Props

The Westgate has posted 33 props on the match, including odds on each player’s tee shot ending up on the fairway on the first hole.

There are also hole props, including which golfer’s tee shot will be closest to the pin on the fourth hole. Each golfer will play the par-4 fifth hole with a single club.

Underdog action

Bogdanovich said William Hill is a little high on the underdog, which has lowered the price on Woods-Manning from -200 to -185.

“It’s a total crapshoot,” he said. “The million-dollar question is how healthy is Tiger? We haven’t seen him play in a while.”

The Westgate lowered the price to -190 on Thursday before moving it back to -200 Friday.

“We have just a little bit more on the underdog,” Sherman said. “I expect the price to go down a little bit close to the match Sunday.

“If you like the underdog, I would bet it now. If you like the favorite, I would wait until Sunday and hope the price goes down a tad.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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