A graphic for the ninth edition of The Match. (TNT Sports.) A graphic for the ninth edition of The Match. (TNT Sports.)

TNT Sports’ The Match golf competition has been through eight events so far, and they’ve explored a number of different concepts there. From one-on-one golfing rivalries to golfing teams to other athlete/golfer teams to other athlete teams (in the same or different sports), there have been lots of things tried here. But the ninth version is doing something new: bringing the event’s first female competitors and first mixed lineup, with Lexi Thompson joining Rory McIlroy to take on Rose Zhang and Max Homa. Here’s more from a release:

TNT Sports’ ninth installment of Capital One’s The Match, the Sports Emmy-nominated premier live golf event series, will for the first time feature male and female golfers competing in a skins format: Four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy will face history-making 11-time LPGA winner Lexi Thompson, rising golf phenom Rose Zhang and 2023 Ryder Cup team member Max Homa in the 12-hole event, to be held Monday, Feb. 26, from The Park golf course in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Coverage simulcast across TNT, truTV, HLN and the B/R Sports Add-On on Max will tee off “under the lights” at 6:30 p.m. ET, along with extensive highlights and content via Bleacher Report’s digital and social platforms.

…TNT Sports will again deploy several technological innovations throughout its unique Monday night under-the-lights production, including dozens of cameras and expansive lighting throughout the course to showcase all the action. Also returning will be unprecedented all-access coverage with participating players interacting with one another and the broadcast team via open mics throughout the primetime telecast.

…All four golfers will utilize the same tees for the four par-3 holes in the routing, while the remaining eight holes will use varying tee boxes and yardages for the men and women. The golfer raising the most funds through the skins format at the end of the event will be declared the winner. 

That release also announces the commentary lineup, which will see Ernie Johnson hosting for the fourth time. He’ll be joined by Charles Barkley (making his eighth appearance, one as a player and seven as a commentator), Trevor Immelman (seventh appearance as analyst), Kathryn Tappen (third appearance as course reporter), and Christina Kim (series debut as analyst).

Beyond that, the NHL on TNT’s Paul Bissonnette will join as a “special contributor” alongside DJ Khaled. That pair will be “providing commentary while following the participants from a golf cart throughout the live competition, as well as additional content across Bleacher Report’s platforms.” And Bleacher Report will again do an interactive pre-event press conference taking questions from fans, with Bissonnette hosting that.

The benefiting charity has also been announced. That’s youth organization First Tee, which has the mission to provide all kids with access to opportunities while making golf affordable and accessible. The Match has raised more than $38 million for various charities across its events to date.

It’s interesting to see The Match bringing in female athletes and a mixed teams competition. And that helps speak to the overall rise we’re seeing in women’s sports. We’ll see how this version of the event works out for TNT Sports.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.