Pairing NBA Players With PGA Tour Golfers for the Next "Match"
NBA Players who should play in the next “match”
We all love watching professional athletes look mortal. It lets fans relate to their idols and see them as people just like us.
This has never been more evident than during “The Match II,” a charitable round of golf between Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning. The event turned out to be the most-watched golf event in history.
Twitter loved the moments it produced, like Tom Brady holing one out and tearing his pants in a span of five minutes. It was a slick move for the PGA and its television partners.
Undoubtedly we’ll see another one of these events in the coming weeks or months, and the NBA community should be on deck. As a huge golf and basketball fan, here are some of my dream pairings of NBA players with PGA Tour golfers for the next Match.
Steph Curry & Jordan Spieth
Steph is an easy pick to play in the next Match. He is an avid golfer - he was even invited to participate in the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic in 2017. Steph missed the cut but dropped back-to-back 74’s, not too shabby playing against future PGA Tour players!
Curry played again in 2018, posting 71-86 en route to another missed cut. Steph has some serious game and would be one of the most exciting players to see competing with professional golfers.
Jordan Spieth is one of golf’s bright young stars and already has won three major championships at just 26. Spieth has struggled as of late, but remains one of the sport’s biggest names and most dangerous putters.
He would be extremely exciting to watch in a match play format with his ability to drain putts from anywhere on the green. As the respective face of Under Armour basketball and golf, Curry and Spieth would be a perfect pairing in the next match. Team Under Armour would be a fearsome duo and certainly would draw viewers as household names.
Michael Jordan & Harold Varner III
We all know how much fun it would be to hear MJ mic’d up for 18 holes, but he is actually quite the golfer as well. Jordan’s official GHIN index is just 1.3 and it is reported he owns a 3,500 square foot putting green in his backyard. After the success of “The Last Dance,” I think millions of sports fans would love to see MJ bring it back to his competitive days out on the links.
While not the biggest name on the tour, Varner is still an exciting young player to watch. More importantly, he is represented by Jordan Brand and wears some of the coolest golf shoes on tour.
At just 5’8”, Varner still averages drives over 300 yards. His business connection with MJ makes them a perfect pairing, and it would be amazing to watch him consistently out drive NBA players who are almost a foot taller than him!
Chris Paul & Webb Simpson
CP3 is a huge golf fan and no stranger to playing competitive rounds. In 2018 and 2019, he and Aaron Rodgers hosted a Ryder Cup-style event pitting NBA players against their NFL counterparts. Paul is listed at about a 13 GHIN index, but his fierce competitive spirit would make him a tough matchup on the course.
Paul is paired with Webb Simpson, the current 7th ranked golfer in the world. CP3 and Simpson overlapped at Wake Forest and could bond in support of the Demon Deacons. Both stars in their sport face criticism yet consistently generate results. Simpson won the US Open in 2012 and The Players Championship in 2018.
JR Smith & Dustin Johnson
Yes, I am choosing the man who made the biggest mistake in recent NBA Finals memory to participate in one of the most mental games that exists. JR is listed at an 8 GHIN index and claims that golf helps him get in the right mental space to play basketball.
He can regularly drive the ball over 300 yards, which is even more impressive considering JR has supposedly only taken two golf lessons in his life!
I paired with JR with Dustin Johnson, another athlete not revered for their IQ. DJ will be able to hit bombs past JR and keep his ego in check. Johnson owns a US Open win and has come in 2nd in each of the other majors. In addition, he is the 5th ranked player in the world, but I mostly included him so we could get a bunch of air time from DJ’s wife Paulina Gretzky.
Charles Barkley & John Daly
Charles doesn’t make this list for his golf talent, rather the comedy he would provide to the viewers. If you ever want to feel better about your golf game, take some time to watch his appearance on “The Haney Project” in 2008. Chuck’s ability to not take himself seriously on the course is perfect for an event like this.
John Daly joins Chuck on the washed up team. He has won 2 major championships, most recently in 1995. Like Charles, he has certainly seen better days, but remains a fan favorite for his big personality. This duo would certainly play the worst golf and likely provide the most entertainment along the way.