Barkley will be back for the third version of “The Match,” but this time he’s bringing not only his mouth but his actual golf swing — that herky-jerky, full-body spasm that seems to defy all physics and annually sends him to the bottom of celebrity tournament leader boards.
As first reported by Sportico, Barkley will join Mickelson, Manning and new participant Stephen Curry for “The Match 3” on Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving.
Unlike Barkley, Curry is a professional basketball player who actually is pretty good at golf. He has played in two events on the Korn Ferry Tour, one step down from the PGA Tour, and though he has yet to make the cut, he still maintains somewhere around a scratch handicap.
Curry expressed his interest in taking part in “The Match” while watching the previous telecast in May.
Barkley bested only one golfer — former NFL running back Eddie George — at this year’s American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe, the most prominent annual celebrity golf tournament. The strangest part about his game, apart from his halting swing, is that there are those who say the basketball Hall of Famer actually used to be at least competitive on the course.
This raises the question: Has Barkley simply been playing a long con spanning decades with that swing of his, only to cash in with the eyes of the American sporting public on him?
“At one point he was a pretty darned good golfer,” former Atlanta Braves pitcher and noted good golfer John Smoltz said in 2011. “I heard that somebody gave him a tip to look at the club as you swing back and he went to his hotel room and he kept doing that. I don’t know if that’s true how he got into a funk, but unfortunately that’s what happened.”
Said former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Rick Rhoden, himself also good on the links: “I played with Charles Barkley one year when he could shoot in the 70s. He didn’t always swing like that. He had a normal swing. All of a sudden he showed up one year with the yips he’s got and he’s been like that ever since.”
November’s event will again see proceeds go to charity; the most recent version of “The Match” raised $20 million for pandemic relief efforts, per Sportico. Brady also split his pants while holing out from the fairway for birdie.