Chris Carlson/Associated Press
Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley jumped out to an early lead and held on to defeat Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning 4-and-3 in Capital One’s “The Match: Champions for Change” on Friday at Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, Arizona.
The two-on-two charity golf match served to provide contributions to historically Black colleges and universities and Feeding America.
A WarnerMedia press release prior to the event gave more details:
“Through its association with the event, WarnerMedia will make donations to Morehouse College, Howard University, Alabama A&M, Hampton University and Winston-Salem State University, primarily helping to fund golf or sports journalism programs. Additionally, the four golfers have selected Jackson State (Mickelson), Tuskegee (Barkley) and Howard (Curry), along with Grambling State, Southern University at New Orleans and Lane College (Manning), to be the recipients of their donations.
“WarnerMedia, in coordination with Wheels Up, will also be contributing one million meals through Feeding America this holiday season, while using the platform of the event to help raise additional awareness and funding for hunger relief efforts.“
As for the match scoring, Mickelson and Barkley lost the first hole, won the next four and never led by fewer than three holes for the remainder of the event.
Barkley started the match hitting two straight fairways, enabling himself and Mickelson to get all square after the second. The ex-NBA star is known for his unique golf swing, but he was looking pretty good on the range beforehand:
Perhaps he could thank Tiger Woods, who gave Barkley some gifts in advance via Manning:
Or maybe he could credit Inside the NBA co-commentator (and friendly rival) Shaquille O’Neal:
O’Neal and the rest of the Inside the NBA crew offered some commentary, with the big man firing a few shots:
On the other team, Manning provided a few highlights on the course, perhaps none better than this approach on No. 2:
Curry missed the birdie putt, though, and Mickelson cleaned up for his team for the hole win.
Barkley had a chance to net $1 million on the short par-four third. The Ford Mustang Mach-E Drivable par 4 challenge was enacted on this hole, and an eagle was worth the seven-figure donation. After a great Mickelson drive, Barkley had a look from 25 feet. He had good pace, but the putt slid right.
A $100,000 donation was still made, though.
Barkley wasn’t the only golfer immune to some friendly trash talk: NBA guard/forward and commentator (and ex-Curry teammate) Andre Iguodala asked a sartorial question of the two-time NBA MVP:
Curry and Manning had their chances: They pulled within three-down after Barkley missed a short putt that would have halved the eighth hole.
Barkley also had his struggles, as Shot Tracker noted:
However, Curry and Manning had too big of a hill to climb after the front nine:
Barkley spent some time among cacti on No. 11, a hole that Curry and Manning won.
Curry also spent some time in the sand, but it didn’t matter as he nearly holed out.
With his team’s situation looking bleak, Curry opted to play some bumper carts with Barkley:
In the end, Mickelson won the match for himself and Barkley after making a putt on the 15th to halve the hole with his team four up with three to go.
Most importantly, $5.4 million was raised for HBCUs between $4.4 million by the end of the match and an additional $1 million through bonus challenge holes.