Justin Thomas is one of the best golfers in the world, but on Sunday during “The Match: Champions for Charity” he will be a course reporter as his friends Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning compete against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.
While the whole event is for a good cause — raising $10 million or more for COVID-19 relief — the smack talking should be fun to eavesdrop on and Thomas said when it is winning time the juices will flow.
“When those guys get on the back 9, when they get the last four or five holes, it is going to be competitive,” Thomas told The Post. “Especially Peyton and Tom — they want to destroy each other. Phil and Tiger, no matter what they say, they want to destroy each other. That is just the way it is.”
Thomas spent two years as a communication major at Alabama with designs on being a golf analyst, and he may have some skills.
“They are going to probably put it a little lighter than that and it is a different scenario than an AFC Championship game for Peyton and Tom or a Masters for Tiger and Phil, but, at the end of the day, they get the bragging rights and they want to have it.” Thomas said.
The spectator-less telecast from the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., will be on Sunday at 3 p.m. on TNT, TBS, TruTV and HLN. It follows NBC’s golf event last week.
Charles Barkley and Justin Immelman will join host Brian Anderson, while Thomas will be teamed with Amanda Balionis. There will be celebrity guests, like Samuel L. Jackson.
While the Woods-Mickelson match in November 2018 was on pay-per-view, which included a B/R Live payment transaction snafu that made it free for all, this edition adds the two quarterbacking legends and is on both cable and online.
Thomas is very close with Woods, Mickelson and Brady. He knows Manning, too. He thinks the talking should be epic.
“Once you kind of get Tom going a little, he’ll keep it going,” Thomas said. “He’s somebody the more you give to him the more he will open back up toward you.
“Tiger is not exactly someone to mouth off a lot. Phil will probably talk more. But Tiger is kind of more the zinger type guy. He might not say much, but whatever he says might hurt and go a little deeper. I know Peyton the least of the four, but I know him pretty well. He’s just very witty. He is definitely going to have a lot to say and he is definitely going to remind Tom about the last couple of games [they] had against each other.”
Brady, 42, and Thomas, 27, vacation together. When Thomas hurt his wrist, Brady offered his TB12 trainer, Alex Guerrero, for rehab.
“We just have some mutual friends,” Thomas said. “We have taken a couple of golf trips together. He has spent a decent amount of time down here in Florida together.
“I don’t know if anyone even knows that he reached out to me to see his trainer in Alex and I went up to Boston and spent some time with him. We were friends before that, but that to me was really cool that he took the time and wanted to see me get better and went out of his way to make sure that that happened. We spent a lot of time jawing and golfing with each other, for sure.”
Sunday on the fifth hole the players will only use one club. On hole Nos. 8 and 16, a $25 million donation will be added if a player hits a hole-in-one. On hole Nos. 4 and 12, up to a $1 million donation could be made depending on how close the players get to the hole.
On hole Nos. 3 and 15, there will be longest drive competitions. Thomas knows the course well, as he and Woods play it often at what is essentially Woods’ home course.
And who is Thomas taking?
“I’m giving Tiger and Peyton the edge,” Thomas said. “Tiger knows that place like the back of his hand. He has to drive it well. With Phil, if he drives it well, with his iron game around the greens, I would give them advantage.
“I don’t know Peyton’s game well enough to honestly say his versus Tom’s so that could be a big factor. Tom has a lot of firepower. He might make two, three, four birdies, but he’ll probably be out of three or four holes. That is something that is good to have as a partner if he can make more birdies, but I just have to give the edge to Tiger because of how many times he’s played there.”