It’s easy to make the argument that the star of the most recent edition of made-for-television golf event called The Match was the course.

The majestically (and, as it happens, appropriately) named Reserve at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana lit up television screens with stunning scenery and added another must-play course to the list for the people with means to put themselves there. There is no better advertisement for your course than five hours of mountain splendor on national television.

This should be a focal point of The Match going forward. Take us to beautiful courses we rarely see, and let us drool at the possibility of bartering our way into a round.

Phil Mickelson has a winning concept here. Although the most recent edition of The Match was long on talk and short on great golf, it carried a certain magnetism beyond the wide-angle shots of the Montana terrain. Would uber-competitive Tom Brady be the star? Would Aaron Rodgers’ long hair get in his face and spoil a wedge shot? Could real-life professional golfers like DeChambeau and Mickelson actually play the game in shorts? Could commentator and sometimes golfer Charles Barkley get away with calling Brady a “pretty man” on TV?

The winners were DeChambeau and Rodgers, with the Hall of Fame quarterback showing surprising skill at a game that wasn’t his first choice of sports. The bigger winners were charities whose coffers picked up more than a little change during the day.

Although it’s easy to pick apart The Match concept and point out its shortcomings, it’s best to accept it as pure entertainment and not as a competitive match to the death. It’s supposed to be about fun and maybe a little inside insight to professional sports people that most viewers rarely get.

Where does it go from here? Only Phil, its mastermind, knows for sure, but the possibilities are close to endless.

The next Match could bring female players into the equation. Team Mickelson with Nelly Korda versus Lexi Thompson and Collin Morikawa.

What about a Texas versus Arizona Match? Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau (Texas) versus Jon Rahm and Mickelson (Arizona).

Legends? Jack Nicklaus and Mickelson versus Gary Player and Rory McIlroy. We know Nicklaus isn’t in great playing shape, but 18 holes of the Golden Bear is hard to resist in any scenario.

Bring in some guys from the Champions Tour. Maybe team Fred Couples with Mickelson and Jim Furyk with Dustin Johnson.

Singers? Country/folk guitar whiz Vince Gill plays well, as does old rocker Alice Cooper. Yes, that Alice Cooper. What fun that could be.

Pairings to avoid? Mickelson and DeChambeau versus Brooks Koepka and anybody. We don’t need to promote violence. This is supposed to be a fun thing.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.