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Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson: Who is the best trash talker?

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Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning won’t be taking on the team of Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady on the golf course for a couple more weeks.

But the trash talking has already started.

The two golfing greats and the two NFL legends joined sportscaster Ernie Johnson on Thursday for a teleconference to promote “The Match: Champions for Charity,” a round that will be telecast May 24 on TNT, TBS, TruTV and HLN from Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.

The zingers started flying almost immediately, with some landing on target and a few falling flat.

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The four men are among the all-time best to play their respective sports. But how are they at delivering verbal jabs?

Here’s how they ranked in that department during Thursday’s chat.

Tiger Woods, left, and Phil Mickelson on the 18th hole during The Match: Tiger vs. Phil on Nov. 23, 2018, at Shadow Creek Golf Course.
Tiger Woods, left, and Phil Mickelson on the 18th hole during The Match: Tiger vs. Phil on Nov. 23, 2018, at Shadow Creek Golf Course.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

4. Phil Mickelson

Both golfers relied heavily on props. Mickelson appeared in front of a framed photo of himself being presented the green jacket by Woods following the 2006 Masters. He was also armed with the championship belt he was awarded after defeating Woods two years ago during The Match: Tiger vs. Phil in Las Vegas.

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“Tiger’s pretty familiar with this, obviously, when you were putting the jacket on me it fit perfect, thank you. And then this is the trophy for the match — I don’t know, actually Tiger, if you know what this looks like,” Mickelson said. “You might have caught a glimpse, but that’s actually what the trophy looks like had you won.”

And that’s pretty much all Lefty had. It was funny enough, but Woods got him with his comeback.

3. Tom Brady

The former New England and current Tampa Bay quarterback fired the opening shot last month by posting this image on Instagram.

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That was pretty good. And so were his one-liners Thursday, including one that referenced Manning’s father, Archie, and his alleged influence on where Peyton’s brother Eli played in the NFL.

“I actually thought I was going to be Tiger’s partner, but then Peyton’s dad called and switched the teams,” Brady said.

It was a great line, and he had others. The only problem was Brady’s awkward delivery. His punchlines were funny, but it took awhile to realize they actually were punchlines.

Also, he didn’t do himself any favors on the trash-talk rankings by using some of his best material to put himself down.

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“I’ve been studying a lot of film and filming a lot of Peyton’s rounds the last couple of weeks, so I feel like I’ve at least got a head start on that,” Brady said, referencing the Patriots’ Spygate scandal.

2. Tiger Woods

After Mickelson finished talking smack toward him, Woods nodded and said, “Understood.”

Really? That’s all you got?

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Nope.

“Hold on,” Woods added before reaching off camera.

“I just got out of an ice bath, and I’m a little bit chilly,” the reigning Masters champion added while wrapping himself in his own green jacket.

Very well played.

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1. Peyton Manning

The retired Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback delivered Grade A material in his signature drawl and the results were trash talk gold. He exaggerated a recent incident involving Brady for comedic effect.

“The tournament had to be in Florida after Tom’s B&E arrest,” Manning said of Brady, who actually was not arrested for breaking and entering or anything else after walking into the wrong house. “With the ankle monitor, he couldn’t leave the state. So it had to be in Florida. Tiger and I talked to the sheriff in Tampa, and he’s going to be allowed to go to Palm Beach to play.”

Manning was on a roll, also bringing up Brady’s jump to the Buccaneers after two decades with the Patriots.

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The NFL is operating under the assumption that the season will be played as scheduled, but COVID-19 has created many challenges for the league.

“I would have loved to have had this tournament in a place where they don’t like Tom very much — Indianapolis, Denver, Boston after he just betrayed them and broke their hearts,” Manning said. “So Palm Beach is the best we can probably do.”

So we’ll see how it turns out on the course, but Manning and Woods enter the match as the smack talk champs.


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