Rory Hits Winning Wedge in Driving Relief

Rory McIlroy waited until the final moment to show that he is the No. 1 player in the world.

McIlroy hit his wedge shot to within 10 feet on the sudden-death, closest to the pin playoff hole to win the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity skins game with teammate Dustin Johnson at Seminole Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.

DJ and McIlroy hadn’t won a skin since the sixth hole, but the playoff hole was worth six skins and $1,100,000, giving them a total of 11 skins and $1,850,000 to seven skins and $1,150,000 for Californians Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.

But they weren’t the real winners.

The first event involving PGA Tour players since the Players Championship was canceled in March because of the Coronavirus pandemic raised $5,503,959 for Covid-19 relief efforts by the time the telecast went off the air, and that was expected to grow.

“It was great to play for such a great cause on a great course,” said McIlroy of the Donald Ross-designed course that opened in 1919 and supposedly was shown on television for the first time. “That’s a tough shot (on the playoff hole) and as I was watching it, was telling it to get up and then sit down at the same time. It looked like it was about pin high.

“ … It was great to get out and play golf again, with DJ, Rickie and Matt.”

McIlroy and Johnson were playing for American Nurses Foundation, while Fowler, from Murrieta, and Wolff, from Agoura Hills, represented the CDC Foundation, and those entities shared the entire $3,000,000 purse through the UnitedHealth Group.

Johnson earned three skins and $150,000 with a bunker shot to within inches for a birdie on the third hole, and McIlroy sank a three-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole to collect two skins and $1,000.

However, they didn’t win another hole until the playoff.

“We weren’t as sharp as we might have been because of the layoff, but it was great to play again and take part in something so meaningful,” said Johnson, who missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have settled the match right there.

“It’s wonderful to see how much money was made with the help of all the people who called in.”

There were no spectators on the course as players and officials observed social distancing guidelines.

Fowler was the best player on the course for much of the match, making a five-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole to get one skin and $50,000, before both he and Wolff both holed putts of a little over five feet to take three skins and $300,000 at No. 9.

Then Fowler put his team in command with a 20-foot birdie putt worth $200,000 on the 11th hole and a three-footer for another skin and $100,000 on the next hole.

That’s the way it remained until the playoff hole.

“I saved my worst shot for last,” said Fowler, who missed the green with his shot in the playoff. “But it was great to get out and play golf with friends again and make some money for Covid-19 relief.

“This was for something much bigger than golf.”

Said Wolff, whose tee shot on the playoff hole stopped about 15 feet away: “I played some of my best golf at the end. I was a little nervous playing with the best players in the world, but I was just happy to be part of it, to play for something much bigger than yourself.”

In addition to all that money for charity, the four players gave the millions of people watching on TV something they hadn‘t seen for more than two months—live golf.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Latest Articles