This is the fourth version of The Match and, as we’ve seen in the past, the trash talk is out in force. It’s just an exhibition, but the competitive nature of the athletes usually makes for good television.
Here are some of the bigger takeaways from The Match and some moments that stood out.
Tom Brady’s golf ball
Brady was warming up on the practice green before the match and the cameraman zoomed in on Brady’s golf ball. It was stamped with the seven Super Bowl numbers marking all seven of his Super Bowl wins.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) July 6, 2021
If that’s not a subtle flex, I don’t know what is. Brady can remind himself on every shot just how many rings he has. If he wins any more, they might not all fit on one ball.
Mickelson not interested in football
The practice range didn’t see too much trash talk. It was more small talk between the players. Since Brady and Rodgers are both in the match, football came up as a topic of discussion.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 6, 2021
Mickelson called himself soft and said he wouldn’t want to get hit the way Brady and Rodgers do. He said he would be done. DeChambeau agreed.
DeChambeau chipped in for birdie
The first hole was looking as though it would go Mickelson and Brady’s way as the team hit its ball on the left side of the green and was looking at a long birdie putt. In the modified alternate shot format, Rodgers hit the second shot, after using DeChambeau’s tee shot, short of the green.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 6, 2021
DeChambeau explained his thought process for the ensuing chip to the commentators through his microphone. Then he stepped up and knocked it in for birdie. Mickelson missed his birdie putt and went 1 down on the first hole.
Rodgers quiets Mickelson
It’s well known that Mickelson likes to talk on the course and especially in these matches. Before the round, Rodgers said he had a strategy to deal with Mickelson and his trash talk.
About the same. However at altitude he’s gotta be exhausted. Good thing he’s so fit now. These legends of the game really have some incredible attention to detail and work ethic @PhilMickelson https://t.co/ah9zAaqGxb
— max homa (@maxhoma23) July 6, 2021
Apparently part of that strategy was telling Mickelson to shut up, as he told Mickelson to quiet down on the first hole and again on the sixth hole.
Getting chippy early
The trash talk did pick up a little on the second hole as Mickelson made Rodgers putt a 4-footer for par instead of giving him the putt.
“We’re not in a rush,” Mickelson said.
Rodgers didn’t take kindly to that and made fun of Mickelson’s belt buckle, sarcastically telling him it could probably be bigger.
On the next tee, Mickelson was preparing to hit and Rodgers asked him if he was using a TaylorMade driver. Mickelson is notably on the Callaway roster. Rodgers joked he was glad to have Mickelson as part of the TaylorMade family.
Charles Barkley, part of the commentary team, got into the trash-talking as well after former U.S. president Barack Obama joined the broadcast. Brady said he had a lot of good football games during Obama’s administration, to which Barkley replied, “You said his administration. Whose administration? You’ve been playing during a lot of them.”
Once the group got to the green, Mickelson missed an eagle putt only to have the birdie putt conceded. Rodgers and DeChambeau both missed putts to lose the hole.
“They’re probably hurting inside after that,” Brady said, looking at the television camera. “I wasn’t expecting to see that.”
Mickelson taking jabs at DeChambeau
Coming into the match, DeChambeau and Mickelson had taken subtle shots at each other, with DeChambeau joking about Mickelson’s age and Mickelson saying he was going to outplay DeChambeau.
That carried over on the course after Mickelson hit a drive in the fairway with 317 yards of carry. DeChambeau stepped up to the tee and hooked his tee shot into the trees.
Mickelson jokingly told DeChambeau that’s what happens when he tries to copy him.
“National TV, a 51-year-old outdriving you,” Mickelson said. “That’s not OK.”
Unfortunately for DeChambeau, Mickelson won the long-drive contest on the par-5 sixth hole, as well. He made sure to tell DeChambeau how much fun he was having.
Brady got in on the action, too, saying “Bryson’s the slowest in the group. Only thing slower than him is my 40 [yard dash] time.”
Gronk calls in
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski called in to the broadcast from his nephew’s baseball game to encourage Brady in the match.
Brady told Gronkowski he hopes he isn’t spending too much time at the beach and is preparing for the season. Gronkowski said he could say the same to him, and Brady used that as an opportunity to take a shot at Rodgers, saying, “I’m 30 yards from Aaron, the leader of the Packers … I think.”
Rodgers sidesteps football questions
The commentators did take the opportunity to ask Rodgers if he is going to be with the Packers this season after Rodgers has had a tumultuous offseason.
Aaron Rodgers sidestepped questions on TNT about whether he would be quarterbacking the Packers on opening day.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 7, 2021
Rumors and reports have been swirling about Rodgers being unhappy with the Packers, but when asked if anyone will be quarterbacking in the No. 12 jersey in Green Bay, Rodgers said he doesn’t know. Then asked if he’d be the quarterback on Sept. 12, for the Packers’ opener, Rodgers said, “I’m just having a good time out here with Tom. I’m trying to talk to him about, if he’s going to keep playing or not.”
Barkley then chimed in, saying he and Rodgers go way back and that Rodgers can tell him. Barkley, on national television, said he would keep the secret. Rodgers told Barkley he would tell him what he’s doing this week in Lake Tahoe, where the two are scheduled to play in a celebrity golf event. Barkley said dinner would be on him.
“That would be a first,” Brady said.
Trash talk taking a dip
The trash-talking was hyped up in this event by everyone involved as something that would start fast and furious and continue throughout the entire match.
By the 10th hole, though, the trash talk had started to take a dip and wasn’t as witty as it had been in the beginning. That was noticed by spectators, including PGA Tour golfer Kevin Kisner.
I should commentate the back nine. These guys need a lesson in talking trash.
— Kevin Kisner (@K_Kisner) July 7, 2021
Kisner offered to commentate the match and teach the participants how to trash-talk, because it wasn’t living up to the hype at this point. Max Homa agreed that Kisner should take over to help put a little more fun in the event.
Baker Mayfield stops by
The Cleveland Browns quarterback joined the broadcast via video to talk about his past season and his golf game. Mayfield said his golf game is not great right now.
Larry Fitzgerald, also part of the commentary team, asked Mayfield about how excited he is to get wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. back and what things look like for the Browns this coming season. After Mayfield talked about his excitement, Barkley chimed in to ask if Mayfield was wearing a robe.
Larry Fitzgerald tried to ask Baker Mayfield a serious question about football, then Charles Barkley followed it up by saying, “Is that a robe you’re wearing?” Mayfield said it was a silky shirt. Barkley is a national treasure.#THEMATCH pic.twitter.com/aoTceQTEeh
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) July 7, 2021
Mayfield clarified it was a silky shirt that resembled a robe, but it was in fact a shirt. Mayfield then took a shot at Barkley’s swing before exiting.
Rodgers gets thumbs-up training
Mickelson has become well-known for his thumbs-up to crowds and fans at tournaments, so Rodgers took the opportunity to learn from the best on how to properly utilize the gesture.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 7, 2021
Mickelson showed Rodgers the proper technique and how to cap it off with a smile at the end to really emphasize the thumbs-up.
Mickelson not holding back against Rodgers
It’s late in the match with the group on the 16th hole and DeChambeau and Rodgers up two holes.
Mickelson and Brady were lining up a birdie putt that would help keep this match alive when Mickelson took a shot at Rodgers. Mickelson told Brady it’s fourth-and-3, down eight and the two needed to go for it instead of kicking a field goal.
Mickelson was referring to the scenario that played out for Rodgers and the Packers in the NFC Championship Game against Brady and the Buccaneers when the Packers kicked a field goal instead of going for a touchdown.
Rodgers responded by draining his birdie putt to win the match.