A full recap of Capital One's The Match, superlative style
The eighth iteration of Capital One's The Match has come and gone and one thing remains clear—this is much more of an entertainment product than it is a golf product.
That said, there was still some solid golf played by one of the competitors in Thursday's edition of the made-for-TV event where Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce topped Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, 3 and 2. The best golf wasn't played by the guy you would think.
Here's a full recap of everything you may have missed from the NFL vs. NBA affair at Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas, superlatives style.
Best performance: Patrick Mahomes
We knew the man had some game after watching him in this event last year, but he confirmed it again. He still hasn't gotten rid of that "power slice," as Collin Morikawa described it, but it works for him. More impressively, though, he displayed some really crafty short-game shots, particularly early in the match, that gave he and Kelce all the early momentum, which they never relinquished. This one from a tight lie to a green sloping away from him with his feet in the mulch was downright SAUCY:
That kick-in bird gave the Kansas City Chiefs a 1-up lead, and Mahomes' made it 2 up at the next hole with another strong chip that set up a birdie:
One hole later, he backboarded this par putt, which wound up being a winner. 3 up. They never looked back:
Much like the first quarter of a game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Mahomes and Kelce jumped all over Curry and Thompson and put them in a hole that was impossible to crawl out of. And, by the way, Kelce flashed some serious game, too. This was no one-man act. Kelce had some of the prettiest high draws out of the entire group. Mahomes just happened to hit a number of the really clutch shots, all while slugging CL smoothies:
Gotta stay hydrated, baby.
Worst performance: Klay Thompson
Not to keep plugging our video with Morikawa, but he really nailed it with his swing ranking. Kelce earned top billing while Thompson was the clear No. 4, and he, unfortunately, proved Morikawa correct. Listen, it's tough to play golf on TV when you literally never have. All these former athletes who turn to golf say they never felt nerves in their actual sport like they do on the golf course. It feels like that's what happened to Thompson, who was all over the place off the tee and juiced a bunch of putts well past the hole. Draymond Green, his Warriors teammate, wasn't exactly helping with his commentary, either. Rather than lift the man up, he put him down quite a bit, which can really be a sinking feeling as a struggling golfer. We know Klay has some game, but he's got a ways to go to get into single-digit handicap territory, which he said is his No. 1 golf goal earlier this week. His time will come.
Best dressed: Travis Kelce
Worst dressed: Klay Thompson
Yeah, what she said. Tough day for Klay.
Best broadcast moment: Charles Barkley surprises Ernie Johnson
During the preview show, Charles Barkley randomly blurted out "can I say something, Ernie?" That could have gone absolutely anywhere, a fact Ernie Johnson knows all too well during his time with Chuck and Shaq on TNT. But it went in a direction no one could have predicted, with Chuck surprising EJ with the news that he's a 2023 Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductee. How good was this?
Awesome. Couldn't happen to a better dude than Ernie Johnson, and we're guessing he wouldn't have wanted anyone else to deliver the news. Well done by all.
Best "I'm hungover as sh-t" implication": Travis Kelce
As much as we loved Kelce's outfit, it wasn't the best choice for a 105-degree day in Las Vegas. That was clear when he removed the sweater vest on the range pre-round because of how much he was sweating, though it may have been for another reason, too. "I'm a natural sweater," Kelce told on-site reporter Kathryn Tappen. "Not sure if the sweat is from the heat or the Encore beach club last night." Between that and a number of other implications from the commentating team, it sounds like these boys got after it last night. As they should. It's the off-season. Also, Kelce is a pro's pro—he got right back on the horse:
Can't get hungover if you just keep drinking. Everybody knows that.
Worst etiquette: Draymond Green and Von Miller
You'll have to forgive these two, as both of their sports are conducive to a lot of sh-t-talking and dancing on each other's graves after a big sack or a clutch three. Golf is very much not that way but Miller and Green, each rooting for the guys who play their respective sports, were acting as though it was. Hey, it's good for the entertainment product, which this is, but not the best golf etiquette look. I did get a kick out of Curry informing Draymond to "watch his shadow" when the 6-foot-6 power forward was standing on the green and getting in Mahomes or Kelce's line. He's still learning. Also, the in-match smack talk from the non-competitors led to one of the best lines of the night, when Green said "We would have had a better chance in this match if we had Charles Barkley playing instead of Klay … (long pause) … wouldn't have helped us win no championship but would have helped with this." Just a ridiculous 2-for-1 dagger.