Aaron Rodgers was clutch both off the tee box and on the green, as the Packers' MVP quarterback and eight-time PGA Tour winner Bryson DeChambeau used a strong back nine to turn back Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, 3 and 2, in the fourth installment of "The Match" on Tuesday.
The Reserve at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Mont., played host to this year's match-play event, which helped raise 6.3 million meals for Feeding America and $2.6 million for My Brother's Keeper, an initiative launched by former President Barack Obama to help address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.
The match utilized a modified alternate shot, where all four players teed off and each team chose one of its drives. Whoever didn't hit the drive, then hit the next shot.
Rodgers, who said he flew out to play the course two weeks ago, looked right at home amidst the vast Montana wilderness, with a bear, moose and coyote wandering near the course at times.
After being tied with Mickelson and Brady through the first nine holes, the back nine belonged to Rodgers and DeChambeau. The duo birdied, and won, three straight holes to pull ahead.
Rodgers enjoyed a run where his team used seven of his eight opening shots from Holes 4-11. That enabled DeChambeau's short game to shine and Rodgers to drain several putts down the stretch, including the final one on Hole 16 to seal the win.
Before making the 15-foot birdie putt, Rodgers playfully asked DeChambeau if, "This is a good one to make?" To which DeChambeau replied, "It's a good one to make, bro."
"I haven't been playing a lot of golf. I'm just a pretty good putter," Rodgers said afterward. "I said, 'Give me (where) I'm on the green. Don't give me inside 60 yards. First hole today, he got me (inside 60). I chunked it up there and he made it. From that point forward, I felt good about our chances."
DeChambeau crushed his opening drive on that 475-yard, par-4 No. 1 and chipped for birdie to give him and Rodgers the early advantage after Mickelson missed his birdie putt.
Rodgers was the only golfer to find the green with his opening tee shot on No. 2, a 172-yard par 3. Rodgers would later say that shot gave him a boost of confidence and helped him settle in.
DeChambeau found the green with his three wood on the 392-yard, par-4 No. 3, but Brady and Mickelson would tie things up after Brady also put his drive on the green, and he and Mickelson birded the hole.
The two sides would trade the lead a couple times before moving to par-5 No. 6, a 559-yard hole for Rodgers and Brady. Rodgers outdrove Brady to earn $200,000 for the North Valley Community Foundation, the same cause he championed during his stint as the guest host of "Jeopardy!" earlier this year.
With Brady and Mickelson playing out of the bunker off the green, Rodgers put his eagle putt within a foot of the hole to win the hole and retie the match after six holes.
Rodgers began to hit his stride there, finding the green on the next 184-yard par 3 and then crushing a long drive down the course's famed par-5 No. 8, which was a downhill 677 yards for the two quarterbacks. Rodgers used the slope to his advantage, driving his ball 438 yards after hitting the backside of the hill and running down the fairway.
At that point, Rodgers jokingly asked Mickelson and Brady if they wanted to concede the hole after Brady's drive found the rough and Mickelson's first two shots went into the bunker.
With Brady and Mickelson suffering their first bogey of the day, Rodgers and DeChambeau won the eighth hole after Rodgers went up from the bunker and DeChambeau drained the par putt.
Rodgers and DeChambeau would use Rodgers' shot off the tee box on five of the last six holes on the front nine, including the 282-yard, par 4 No. 9, before heading to the 10th hole tied.
Rodgers opened on 427-yard, par-4 No. 10 with a drive just off the fairway. DeChambeau then chipped it within two feet of the hole to setup the birdie putt to pull back ahead.
Rodgers and DeChambeau followed the same formula on the next par 4, before DeChambeau finally dropped a ball on the green of the 190-yard, par-3 No. 12, which Rodgers putted in for birdie to take a commanding three-hole lead that the duo wouldn't look back from.
"It was so much fun," said DeChambeau, the sixth-ranked golfer in the world. "It was a bit difficult, but I was happy I was able to get my partner up on the greens and he was making everything, everything."
While Rodgers didn't go into what lies ahead for the 2021 NFL season, he was jovial during interviews with studio hosts Brian Anderson, Charles Barkley and Larry Fitzgerald. He traded playful barbs with Brady and Mickelson throughout, channeling his inner-"Caddyshack" when instructing a reeling Mickelson to "be the ball" late in the round.
Rodgers isn't done on the links yet. He's scheduled to play in the American Century Championship this weekend at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, Nev. He'll tee off at 11:02 a.m. local time on Friday with former Packers teammate A.J. Hawk and Larry Fitzgerald.
Former Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, receiver Sterling Sharpe, and quarterbacks Doug Pederson and Jim McMahon are also scheduled to participate in the event.