The world is starved for live sports, and we aren’t exactly sure when competition will return to normal – if ever. But fans got a glimpse of live action yesterday on Memorial Day. Four of the world’s biggest sports stars went head-to-head at the Medalist Golf Club in Florida. Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning faced off against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in The Match: Champions for Charity. By the end of the round, the event raised $10 million for charity. But this was all about the trash talk.
The actual golf wasn’t amazing, yet the trash talk was. Manning and Brady continuously goaded each other throughout the game. In the end, the former Colts and Broncos quarterback had the last laugh. Let’s take a look back at the best trash talk from The Match and its buildup.
22. Fake Noise
There were plenty of references to past scandals. Brady couldn’t resist mentioning an infamous 2007 incident when the Patriots accused the Colts of pumping artificial noise into the RCA Dome. There was never an investigation, though, so nothing was ever proven.
Still, that didn’t stop Brady bringing it up. He said: “I’m just worried about them pumping crowd noise in there if he starts making putts like they used to at the RCA Dome.”
Brady gave Charles Barkley a lot of ammunition throughout the day. This led to a lot of banter between the player and the broadcaster. However, Manning went in on the former Sixers star too. After a particularly decent putt, he made the NBA legend the butt of his trash talk with a truly cutting remark.
Of course, Manning had to bring up the final time he faced Brady in a game. That was in the 2016 AFC Championship Game. There, his Denver Broncos beat Brady’s Patriots 20-18. For a man as competitive as Brady, that has to rankle. Manning definitely knows how to push Brady’s buttons.
“Tom has told me on a couple of occasions he’s still mad about our last game together,” Manning said. “So if he’s comparing the golf match to the 2016 AFC Championship, I guess that’s his call. I don’t really see it the same way.”
Barkley played an important role in making this whole thing as entertaining as it was. Without him, it could easily have been boring, but he provided a foil for both Manning and Brady to trash talk about. At one point, Brady even teased him for his lack of NBA rings.
The six-time Super Bowl winner said: “I thought this was ‘Champions for Charity Chuck.” We’ll be right back. Barkley needed a commercial break to get over that burn.
It wasn’t just the players on the field who were talking trash. We live in an age of social media and everybody can make their presence felt. Eli Manning clearly couldn’t resist throwing his brother under the bus and he stung Peyton with a fantastic putdown.
He wrote: “Heard Peyton say he wants me to be his caddie. I would, but I can’t always carry the team.” You’ve got to love the sibling rivalry.
With few live sports to watch and four superstars on TV, this was always going to attract an audience. New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was just one of the many viewers. He had a lot of enjoyment watching Brady suffer in front of the world.
“I’m liking this Florida @TomBrady right now,” he tweeted. Let’s see if he feels the same way when the new season starts.
Despite a torrential downpour at the start of the game, Woods played really well. He admitted that he wouldn’t normally be out in these conditions but they didn’t hold him back. It’s easy to forget about he and Mickelson’s longstanding rivalry with Brady and Manning in focus.
However, they went at it hard too. After Mickelson was especially bombastic, Woods rolled his eyes. His remark was cutting: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is what I have to listen to every time we play.”
Brady and Manning had great chemistry on the course. Even if they’re both extremely competitive and hungry, they still respect each other. In fact, the former even did what nobody did in the 20-odd seasons that Manning played in the NFL. He came up with a nickname for the Colts legend.
The Buccaneers quarterback – it’s still weird to write that – revealed that he called Manning ‘Peydirt’ throughout his career. Given his ability to find the endzone, it was ingenious.
Most of the time, the pro golfers weren’t too harsh on their amateur compatriots, but they had their moments. After a shot far right of the fairway on the third hole by Brady, Manning’s teammate joined him to jab at the Buccaneers quarterback.
Woods quipped: “That could be on the fairway… over on seven.” For a perfectionist like Brady, that had to sting a little bit. But if you play with the big boys, you have to be prepared for a bit of ribbing.
Brady is a legendary athlete, but his time with the Patriots meant that a lot of people enjoyed seeing him look ordinary. One of those was Nick Foles, who took to Twitter to show his support for Manning. Foles has a history with Brady from Super Bowl LII when the Patriots nearly bounced back after trailing early.
The Eagles pulled off an audacious trick play with Foles the first player ever to throw and catch a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl. He tweeted: “Peyton, two words, if Tom and Phil start coming back…’Philly Special.’ Go win it.”
Manning knows his gameday history. The Colts icon went in hard with the trash talk as Brady faded. The quartet played without caddies because of distancing rules, but Manning still loudly theorized who he would have brought. He talked about his brother Eli and Nick Foles, the only quarterbacks to beat Brady in a Super Bowl.
“It’s hard to get to him,” Manning said. “Do you bring Eli? Could do that. Do you bring Nick Foles? Maybe. I was thinking maybe Belichick. Have Bill Belichick caddy for me – and just to see how that kind of, would have worked.”
At one point, Barkley told Brady he’d give $50,000 to charity if Brady could hit the green on the par-3 fourth. Brady landed it on a distant cart path instead. This was basically the equivalent of a quarterback throwing the ball into the third row of seats in the stadium.
“I should have just said if you can just keep it on the planet,” laughed Barkley. It wasn’t the last time we’d get the chance to laugh at Brady’s putting.
Both Manning and Brady were self-deprecating at times. In Brady’s case he had to be because his play was atrocious. In short, he made Manning look half-decent in comparison. But Manning missed plenty of his own putts. Finally, he took one as an opportunity to reference Brady’s crowd noise accusations.
“Pretty good putt considering the crowd noise I was dealing with,” Manning said after a missed birdie opportunity in front of exactly zero fans.
Brady recently accidentally walked into a Tampa home when he was looking for Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. This gave Manning one of the best lines of the build-up after he explained why the was taking place in Florida instead of elsewhere.
“Of course, the tournament had to be in Florida after Tom’s arrest,” Manning said. “With the ankle monitor, he couldn’t leave the state. It had to be in Florida. Tiger and I talked to the sheriff in Tampa. He’s going to be allowed to go to Palm Beach to play.
Although Manning was the best at pushing buttons, Brady had his moments of highlight-reel trash talk too. In the build-up to the event, he came out with this zinger. He referenced the Spygate and Deflategate scandals. The latter saw the NFL suspend him for four games because of his role in the incident.
“Hopefully after Phil and I win they don’t go and try to change the rules on us or send the tapes into the NFL,” said Brady. “I don’t know if Peyton can still do that now that he’s retired and change the rules to make it easier on him the next time.”
It’s worth mentioning that Brady doesn’t have as much time to work on his game as Manning. In fact, the latter is close friends now with Woods and regularly golfs in his downtime. Meanwhile, Brady is still focused on being an elite professional athlete.
After a trying round, he reminded the cameras: “I’m trying to win a Super Bowl.” Amen to that. We’ll see what happens in Tampa this year because the Bucs look very exciting.
Yet another Eli-trashing moment came when Manning missed another shot. With him a legendary superstar and having a brother who is also a superstar, there will always be comparisons.
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports”Eli would have made that one,” Brady joked after Manning missed a different putt a few holes later. It was also Manning who mentioned his name in the first place. That came back to bite him.
One of the most striking comebacks was when Brady tore into Manning’s career. After a good short, the former Patriot commented on how his foe played for many years under the domed roof at the Lucas Oil Stadium. In short, he was suggesting that the former Colts QB wasn’t used to adversity.
Brady was also prepared for the Eli trash talk. In short, he kept playing the ‘you’re not as good as your brother card.’ He even said that he’d have been more worried about playing Eli because he’s a better golfer. In that case, he’s probably lucky he only got Peyton because he was beaten badly enough.
“They haven’t been good since you left. Can you help them recruit some quarterbacks or something? No, you kidding me? He’s got his fair share of mine, too,” Brady said. “Eli’s the one I’m actually happy I’m not playing because I got no chance against Eli on the golf course. Peyton, I got a shot.”
Rob Gronowski is also a Buccaneer now. The former Patriots tight end left for Tampa with Brady and looks to push for a Super Bowl this year. However, Manning couldn’t resist poking fun at their relationship. In short, he basically said that Brady is like Gronowski’s master.
“He would have brought Gronkowski because Gronk does whatever Tom asks him to do,” Manning said. “Gronk, go wrestle. Take a year off, come play in Tampa with me later. Then caddy for me.”
Woods was the quietest of the four throughout the game but that didn’t stop him throwing out a few zingers. After Mickelson asked Woods to mark his golf ball before hitting his approach shot on the fifth hole, Tiger gave the perfect response.
The three-time winner told the record six-time runner-up: “Do you want me to use one of my U.S. Open medals?” It was easily one of the most devastating putdowns of the day.
After Barkley hammered Brady for most of the game, the Bucs QB was desperate to silence him. He did so with the best shot of the game as he holed in for birdie from 130 yards out. It was a sensational moment and despite the fact that Brady’s overall game was dire, this was brilliant. Yes, it was a fluke, but we’ll let him bask in his glory.
It didn’t help his cause that he ripped his pants soon after, but at least he had this moment. “Shut your mouth, Chuck,” said Brady with relish. To sum up, at least he got his moment to silence the trash talk.