Live sports are starting to return in the United States, but it is still on a very limited basis. Both fans and sportsbooks are yearning for a full slate of live events to return, but they will settle for anything that they can get.
The second of two charity golf matches took place on Sunday in Florida, and it drew big TV ratings as well as being a huge hit at the sportsbooks. “The Match: Champions for Charity” drew an average of 5.8 million viewers on Sunday, making it the most-watched golf telecast in cable television history.
“The Match” featured two legends on the PGA Tour teaming up with two of the best NFL quarterbacks of all-time. Tiger Woods was paired up with Peyton Manning, and they were taking on Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.
Turner Sports had exclusive broadcasting rights to this charity event, and they broadcast the match over four different stations. Even though the golf was sub-par at times, the chance to get up close and personal with four legends in sport proved to be a huge draw.
The previous record was set in 2010 when Tiger Woods was making his return to the Masters for the first time since some scandals rocked his personal and professional life. That event averaged 4.9 million viewers, but the event on Sunday shattered those numbers.
One of the reasons that this event had plenty of hype surrounding it is because it was billed as a rematch between Mickelson and Woods. Mickelson defeated Woods in November 2018 for a match that was worth $9 million.
Rumors of a rematch between Woods and Mickelson have been in the works for a few months, and they were expected to be joined by Manning and Brady. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States hard, the event was turned into a charity event that focused more on relief efforts than the rematch.
The Medalist Golf Club was the host for this event on Sunday, and no fans were allowed to attend the event. The golf was played through heavy rains at times, but the athletes still provided some must-see moments.
Not only did the athletes on the course provide some terrific moments, but there were several surprises that took place throughout the broadcast as well. Justin Thomas, the fourth-ranked player in the world, was a member of the broadcast team, and Charles Barkley was a color commentator.
The players trash-talked throughout the match, and there was also some coaching taking place between the golf legends and the amateur quarterbacks.
Several other celebrities or professional athletes joined the broadcast to offer additional challenges or donations, and the event was a huge hit on Twitter.
Woods and Manning won the match 1-up over Mickelson and Brady, but there was some drama late in the match. After leading by three holes heading into the back-nine, Woods and Manning almost saw their lead disappear completely before holding on.
Not only did the match provide some great entertainment, but the event also raised more than $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts. Last week’s charity event at Seminole Golf Club drew an average of 2.35 million viewers on the NBC Sports Network.
The PGA Tour has been shut down since the middle of March, but it is set to resume in June. The Charles Schwab Classic at The Colonial in Texas will be the first live PGA Tour event since the pandemic occurred. The PGA Tour has been forced to change their schedule due to the pandemic, and fans will not be able to attend any of the first four events.