NFL Athletes and Pro Golfers Compete at “Champions for Charity”

On May 7, 2020, PGA golfers Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods paired with NFL athletes Tom Brady and Payton Manning to compete in a charity golf tournament for COVID-19 relief. Hosted by Capital One Banking, the golfers and football players were hoping to raise $10 million in support for communities affected by the global pandemic. 

Pro golfer Woods teamed with Manning, a retired Denver Broncos quarterback, while Mickelson played alongside Brady, the newly signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback. 

Mickelson and Manning took the lead on the first three holes, giving them the advantage for the beginning of the round. Brady and Mickelson remained behind Mickelson’s team with a 3-down deficit on the first nine holes.

“I was a little nervous, a little tight on the front nine,” Mickelson said. “[Brady] really kept us in there.”

Brady helped his team on the fairway of the par-five seventh hole, scoring a wedge shot and awarding them a birdie. By the 16th hole, the duo came close to tying up the game.

Manning admitted his rivalry with Brady, as they had been previously playing against each other for years in the NFL. 

“Tom and I were kind of comparing notes and feelings to each other,” Manning said. “It was a really special experience.”

While Mickelson and Brady threatened to claim the winning spot, Manning secured his team’s lead on the 16th hole by placing his tee shot 17 inches away from the hole. 

As the match neared the final holes, Brady failed to gain any last minute points by hitting just short of the green on the 18th hole and Woods finalized the match by sinking a distant putt and scoring his duo a birdie to win the game. 

Woods and Manning’s victory was projected across the PGA for millions to watch at home as the four of them held a check representing the money they made for charity.

Brady’s followers on social media were unimpressed with his performance following the game, and backlash flooded the six-time Super Bowl champion’s Instagram and Twitter. Viewers had placed bets on his game and Brady missed the chance to earn $50,000 for charity from Charles Barkely to land a shot on the green of a par-three. 

Despite social media’s disappointment, the two teams raised a total of $20 million to benefit COVID-19 relief. They spoke in good spirits about the match and recognized that they were glad to do whatever they could to help communities in need.

“It’s great, the fact that we all came together and we were able to raise $20 million for those that have been so severely affected,” Woods said. “This is our arena. This is what we do. We couldn’t imagine going out onto the field and doing what they do.”