The made-for-television event, ‘The Match,’ could be giving fans something new for its 2024 event, finally involving both the LPGA and PGA Tours.
Multiple sources have confirmed discussions that the next exhibition, which has historically only featured PGA Tour stars, male athletes and celebrities, is now expected to involve women, per Golfweek.
LPGA rookie Rose Zhang and veteran Lexi Thompson are the two women rumored to be in the new rendition of the golf exhibition. They would supposedly be paired with PGA Tour stars Rory McIlroy and Max Homa.
Zhang is the reigning Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion and won back-to-back NCAA individual titles at Stanford before joining the LPGA Tour this summer. She won the Mizuho America’s Open in her LPGA debut and has been in contention in numerous tournaments this year.
She and Thompson were also on the USA Solheim Cup team in Spain earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Thompson made headlines earlier this year when she became the seventh woman to play on the PGA Tour. She teed it up at the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas, as her presence at the event boosted television ratings.
The 11-time LPGA Tour winner nearly became the first woman to play the weekend with the men, missing the cut by two strokes.
Homa recently won the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa and appeared in The Netflix Cup, a PGA-Tour F1 racing collaboration.
McIlroy is no stranger to The Match, as he played in the seventh edition. He and Tiger Woods fell to Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas at Pelican Golf Club in Dec. 2022.
Rumors swirled that Dec. 15 at The Park Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., would be the date for the next edition, but that will not happen. Sources say scheduling and other logistical challenges pushed it back to sometime in early 2024.
The Match has been around since 2018, when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson battled each other. Woods and Mickelson added Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to the lineup the following year. Then there was the Bryson DeChambeau vs. Brooks Koepka epic showdown.
Charles Barkley played and won with Mickelson in another year.
Most recently, Kansas City Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce beat Golden State superstars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
The 2024 edition will not be a battle of the sexes. Instead, Zhang and Thompson would team up with McIlroy and Homa for a mixed-team match.
With the Grant Thornton Invitational being held in a few weeks, a new mixed tournament, it’s good to see other golf entities like The Match interested in including both men and women.
Zhang and Thompson will compete in Naples this December at the Grant Thornton. Thompson and Rickie Fowler are paired, while Zhang and Sahith Theegala are a team.
Growing the women’s game is becoming more of a priority and rightfully so. These women are incredibly talented and deserve to be in the spotlight. It appears those behind The Match feel the same way.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.