Californians Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff are big underdogs for their charity skins game on Sunday against top-ranked Rory McIlroy and No. 5 Dustin Johnson in TaylorMade Driving Relief at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla.
But that doesn’t really matter.
It will be the first live television golf event involving PGA Tour members since the Players Championship was canceled before the second round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in March because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
TaylorMade Driving Relief will be televised from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. PDT on NBC, Golf Channel, NBCSN, Sky Sports and other PGA TOUR global media partners. The event will benefit Covid-19 relief efforts.
“It’s special to be able to have an impact and raise charitable contributions through our sport and to do it with Matthew as a partner,” said the 27th-ranked Fowler, who is from Murrieta and like Wolff attended Oklahoma State. “I know how much I have missed sports and golf, especially, so to be one of the first events returning to television is very exciting and I’m proud to have Farmers, one of my sponsors, be a partner of this event as well.
“Playing aggressive has never been a problem for Matthew and me so we should have no issue testing the birdies-and-eagles bonus pool that has been backed by Farmers Insurance $1 million pledge.”
Said Wolff, who is from Agoura Hills and is ranked 110th: “I’m fired up to play alongside Rickie and raise money to benefit Covid-19 relief efforts. Rory and DJ have welcomed me to team TaylorMade with open arms and become great friends so I can’t wait for a fun competition against us Cowboys. Rickie and I are ready to bring our best and more importantly help the frontline heroes getting us through this extremely difficult time. … See you at Seminole.”
The four players will donate the full $3-million purse to the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation through the UnitedHealth Group. McIlroy and Johnson are playing for the American Nurses Foundation, while Fowler and Wolff will play for the CDC Foundation.
In addition, Farmers Insurance has pledged $1 million to back a birdies-and-eagle pool to benefit Off Their Plate, a charitable organization helping COVID-19 healthcare workers and impacted frontline shift employees.
And viewers will receive information during the telecast on how they can donate.
“It’s been difficult to witness what so many are enduring over the last several weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” McIlroy said. “I’m excited and thankful to TaylorMade and UnitedHealth Group for making this event possible and providing us with the opportunity to show our support of those on the frontlines.
“I hope that we can provide some respite and entertainment for those tuning in across the globe. Dustin and I will have a lot of fun together and our games will fit well as we push to raise funds and awareness on May 17.”
Said Johnson: “I’m really excited to team up with Rory and to get back out on the golf course. Seminole is a great venue and it will be cool to show it to the world through this event. I’m sure Rickie and Matthew will be ready for us, but hopefully Rory and I can take them and help generate a lot of money and support for charities and those affected most by Covid-19.”
The PGA Tour said the competitors and officials involved in the match will follow social distancing guidelines, executive orders and mandates issued by the state of Florida, Palm Beach County and the city of Juno Beach.