Our Favourite Components of ‘The Match’ That includes Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Rose Zhang and Lexi Thompson

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By Calvin S. Nelson

The ninth iteration of The Match came about stay on Monday night, for the primary time showcasing two LPGA gamers in Rose Zhang and Lexi Thompson alongside two PGA Tour stars in Max Homa and Rory McIlroy. 

Below the lights on a public golf course—the Gil Hanse-designed Park at West Palm—the 12-hole skins recreation featured a hodgepodge of witty Charles Barkley commentary, stellar but additionally rusty golf, and fascinating interactions between unlikely people. At one level through the spherical, DJ Khaled joined the foursome, who share over 40 skilled wins, to supply some recommendation forward of the par-3 eleventh gap. 

Ending in a wedge-off from 105 yards, McIlroy captured The Match title, which took practically three and a half hours to finish. The Northern Irishman caught his 54-degree wedge to inside 5 toes, profitable $1.6 million for charity on the final. 

Apart from McIlroy’s runaway victory, right here had been a few of our favourite issues about this set up of The Match

The lights

The stadium-lit setting for this yr’s exhibition-style occasion not solely made for a singular look on TV, however it posed a actual problem for the 4 Tour execs. All through the published, Zhang may typically be seen staring into the gap aimlessly, asking commentators the place her ball landed. 

Homa, however, had a handful of wayward tee pictures that pressured to him to discover some unlit areas of the course. The legendary Twitter account “Artwork However Make It Sports activities” even picked up a display screen seize from a kind of moments, evaluating the scene to a 1905 portray by Henri Rousseau titled Lady Strolling in an Unique Forest.” 

The floodlights won’t have achieved their job completely on Monday night, however they positive did make for some high quality content material. Who doesn’t prefer to see the professionals undergo on occasion?

Rory’s one-club problem creativity

The talents on show at this yr’s Match had been inconsistent to say the least. There have been a number of three-putts, some snap-hooked tee pictures and miscalculated distances by all 4 gamers. However every managed a highlight-worthy second in some unspecified time in the future through the skins recreation.

McIlroy’s most spectacular shot got here on the fourth gap, which posed a “one-club problem” to all 4 gamers. The foremost champion perplexed viewers by choosing a 5-wood on the 475-yard par-4. 

He bombed the golf green steel off the tee however was then left with an ungainly 175-yard method shot with a membership that he sometimes launches 275. McIlroy received artistic, after all, and aimed 30 yards left of his goal, hitting a sweeping chip-cut that simply skipped off the sting of the inexperienced. Even Homa was blown away by his shot-shaping and management. 

“I don’t care the place that finally ends up,” he mentioned. “That was sick.” 

From there, the Northern Irishman hit a bump-and-run and a superbly strong putt to get up-and down and win the opening, making the awkward one-club impediment look simple. Instantly after the victory, McIlroy revealed that eight-time Tour winner Brad Faxon, who serves as his placing coach, makes him putt with a 5-wood for observe. The information of McIlroy’s quirky drill made the membership selection only a bit simpler to defend, and it supplied a enjoyable, nerdy piece of data for viewers. 

Lexi confirmed up

It’s laborious to crack the 11-time LPGA champion. Thompson is a stone-cold competitor who has been within the Tour highlight since age 15, and he or she’s typically centered on the duty at hand at LPGA occasions. However at The Match, the mic’d up format allowed the world a glimpse of Thompson’s on-course character. 

Throughout the one-club problem, for instance, the commentators requested Thompson what was going by means of her head as she tried to hit a fragile chip shot with a 4-iron. 

“I’m considering I wouldn’t use a 4-iron from right here,” she quipped. 

Thompson additionally drained an eagle putt on the second gap to contribute $200,000 to charitable causes, and completely navigated an overstimulating collection of high-fives and fist bumps from the remainder of the foursomes. 

Barkley’s banter

The Match merely wouldn’t be the identical with out the NBA legend turned TNT analyst. He had snarky back-and-forths with DJ Khaled, Homa and McIlroy, however delivered his finest line whereas discussing The Park and the custom of night time golf itself. 

“I’ve performed 9 holes lit many instances,” he mentioned. 

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