PGA champs, NFL stars to compete at Moonlight for charity
By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Phil Mickelson played in four previous Matches. The article has been updated to reflect that he has played in three previous Matches.
BIG SKY – Moonlight Basin announced on May 26 that its golf course, The Reserve, will host The Match, an annual televised golf tournament that puts PGA and NFL stars head-to-head to raise money for rotating charities.
In this fourth iteration of The Match, scheduled for July 6, six-time major winner Phil Mickelson will pair with seven-time Superbowl champ and Match veteran Tom Brady to compete against 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Capital One and Turner Sports present this year’s tournament, which TNT will cover exclusively.
This year, the tournament will benefit the national nonprofit Feeding America along with other charities according to USA Today. Last year’s event raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts, and previous tournaments raked in cash for causes like American Red Cross, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, among others.
The picturesque Reserve golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus is listed by Golfweek as the third best private golf course in Montana, sits at about 7,500 feet of elevation. Nestled in the shadow of the iconic Lone Mountain, the course features dramatic elevation changes throughout the 18 holes.
The centerpiece is the 17th hole, a 777-yard-par-5, with a dramatic drop from the tee to the green. Greg Wagner, director of golf and club operations at Moonlight Basin, says The Reserve is “The best course you’ve probably never heard of” and he added that “everywhere you look is something pretty special.”
According to Wagner, the creators of The Match reached out to Moonlight earlier this year to see if the club would be interested in hosting the event.
“Fourth of July is a beautiful time in Big Sky so it will be a great time of year for the event, and we are super excited to showcase Moonlight on national television,” Wagner said. “It’s not every day that this happens for a golf course.”
The tournament will exclusively occupy The Reserve course on July 6 and there will not be live fans in keeping with the last three Matches that have occurred. Wagner explained that the players will each ride in their own golf carts and the pace of play will be such that a gallery could not keep up with them.
PGA champion Mickelson will again anchor the tournament, having played in all of the previous three. This Match will reunite him with Brady, his teammate from 2020, who was quick to congratulate him for his major win on Twitter writing, “That’s my quarterback!!! LFG @PhilMickelson!” on May 23. Mickelson responded by foreshadowing the upcoming Match announcement writing back, “We have some unfinished business. Let’s get another match and find a pair to give a beat down.”
In 2020, Mickelson and Brady fell to opponents Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning. This year due to injuries, Woods has been replaced with DeChambeau.
Mickelson’s May 23 victory makes him the oldest ever winner of a major championship at 50 years old. His recent win is his sixth major title of his career which came as a shock to the golf world. Leading up to the win, Mickelson hasn’t snagged a top 10 spot in his last 16 starts and he has not been a contender for a major championship in the past four years.
Now, riding his victory, Mickelson is ready to throw down on July 6, tweeting at DeChambeau and Rodgers saying, “It’s game time! My partner @tombrady and I are back and ready to settle some unfinished business. See you in Montana @AaronRodgers12 and @b_dechambeau.”
Matt Kidd, managing director of CrossHarbor Capital Partners, who own Moonlight Basin, expressed his excitement that Moonlight Basin will be hosting the tournament. “We are thrilled that The Reserve at Moonlight Basin was chosen to host the fourth competition of The Match,” Kidd said. “The course is spectacular and it will be fun to see it showcased in this way. We look forward to watching Brady, Rodgers, Mickelson, and DeChambeau hit the course.”