By Melody Miller

Here’s a sports even for Thanksgiving weekend that won’t be canceled because of the pandemic.

On Friday, “The Match 3” (officially called Capitol One’s The Match: Champions for Change) will feature Steph Curry and Peyton Manning teaming up for 18 holes against Phil Mickelson and noted terrible golfer Charles Barkley.

The event will air on TNT at 3 p.m. ET, from Stone Canyon Golf Club in Oro Valley, Arizona.

Barkley’s opponents — and his partner — have already spent the week roasting the Basketball Hall of Famer and TNT analyst.

Earlier in the week, Curry and Mickelson each took their own swings at Barkley’s … unorthodox swing on Twitter.

Barkley, for his part, is responding to the skeptics by setting worryingly high expectations for himself.

“If I don’t play well, I will very disappointed. I have hit balls for at least, minimum, five hours a day, and I played every single day for the last month,” Barkley said during a virtual press conference ahead of the event. “I don’t want to let Phil down.”

Barkley threw in a jab at one of his opponent’s alma mater, too.

“Peyton be texting me all the time, but since Tennessee hasn’t won a game, it’s been a few weeks since he’s texted me.”

Manning said it was “more of a mental strategy” not to text his opponent ahead of the match, and expressed surprise by Barkley’s supposed practice.

“That’s kind of news to me that Charles has been to Stone Canyon three times. He hasn’t played golf, he’s just gone there to eat three times. They have great lunch and dinner service. So, this will be his first time playing the course.”

The first iteration of The Match was an awkward one-on-one pay-per-view event in Nov. 2018 between Tiger Woods and Mickelson. Last spring, the two links legends paired up with Manning and Tom Brady, respectively, for “The Match II”. Brady’s struggles on the back-nine, including ripping his pants, found the six-time Super Bowl winner earning the brunt of the jokes on the course and on social media.

Unless Barkley is miraculously telling the truth about the state of his game, it doesn’t sound like his opponents plan to let up on the smack talk.

“This one’s going to be dope just because, obviously there’s Phil, there’s me, there’s Peyton, and then way down there is Chuck, so he’s going to embarrass himself for sure.” Curry said on the No Laying Up podcast earlier this week. “It’s just going to be mad fun to rag on him all day.”


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