Finally, we have a sports special without Michael Jordan.
The unofficial kick-off to whatever the 2020-21 sports year will hold comes up this weekend, when Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady go golfing against Tigers Woods and Peyton Manning Sunday somewhere in Florida. TNT will carry the so-called match free, teeing off at 3 o’clock.
All proceeds will go to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, appropriately played between four super-rich athletes who wouldn’t need any relief even if the world came to an end. They would have their families packed away on spiffy-clean rocket ships to Mars.
But it will be fun, a prelude to a golf season that resumes sometime in June and perhaps a pro football season that won’t be canceled by health concerns for players who can’t social distance once they handle the same football and sweat all over each other.
Mickelson supposedly takes these exhibition matches against Woods more seriously, once he steps off his Gulf Stream, and has a history of beating Tigers when nothing is on the line except friendly wagers worth a few hundred thousand dollars.
The difference in this match may be Manning, who is a more consistent golfer than TB12 even though he lost most of the time to the Patriots on the football field. He is supposedly steady-Eddy, a par or bogey maker on almost every hole who can occasionally break 80.
At 6-5 and strong, Brady can hit it almost as far as the pros, but he can also hit it sideways or not at all, which can arouse his old anger by heaving a club after a particularly bad shot. Tom and Phil are still slight favorites, since Mickelson is the man in these events.
They will each bow or bump elbows on the first tee, then stay 6 feet apart while the golf morphs into a big-time trash-talking Super Bowl of insult-swapping and good-natured ribbing. The format has not been announced yet, and the guys just may set that up on the practice range or first tee, just as you and I might do in a Sunday morning skins game.
With all else on hold or in serious jeopardy, I for one can’t wait.