TV Golf Returns With Rory McIlroy Headlining Charity Match
If you have been pining for televised golf, the wait is nearly over, as the PGA Tour, NBC Sports and Sky Sports have collaborated with TaylorMade to deliver Driving Relief on Sunday May 17, which is going to be highlighted by a $3 million charity skins match at the revered Seminole Golf Club, featuring Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson teaming up together to take on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, raising money and awareness for the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation, two organisations helping to lead COVID-19 relief efforts in the United States.
The competition will follow strict CDC social distancing guidelines, local mandates and will utilise appropriate testing measures to help protect the health and safety of the golfers, production crew and others on site.
Additionally, Farmers Insurance has pledged $1 million to back a birdies-and-eagle pool to benefit Off Their Plate, a charitable organisation helping COVID-19 healthcare workers and impacted frontline shift employees.
Building upon this initial fundraising of $4 million, PGA TOUR Charities will announce a Text-To-Donate activation and online donation platform powered by GoFundMe to allow viewers to make additional contributions and raise funds for COVID-19 relief.
- Players: All four golfers will donate their time for the 18-hole, two-man team skins competition, with McIlroy/Johnson playing for the American Nurses Foundation and Fowler/Wolff playing for the CDC Foundation.
- Location: Seminole Golf Club (Juno Beach, Fla.) A majestic Donald Ross design with a clever routing on a rectangular site, each hole at Seminole encounters a new wind direction. Seminole has long been one of America’s most-revered clubs and this marks the club’s first ever golf event broadcast. No fans or spectators will be permitted on site.
- Date/Time: Sunday, May 17; live coverage will air from 7-11 p.m. UK
- Television Broadcast: NBC, GOLF Channel, NBCSN, Sky Sports and other PGA TOUR global media partners.
- Safety measures: PGA TOUR will follow all guidelines, executive orders and mandates issued by the state of Florida, Palm Beach County and the city of Juno Beach.
"We are excited about the safe and responsible return of live golf and the opportunity to raise significant funds for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic through the TaylorMade Driving Relief event. With four of the PGA TOUR’s top stars in Rory, Rickie, Dustin and Matthew of Team TaylorMade participating and UnitedHealth Group serving as the foundation of charitable giving, and Farmers Insurance providing an additional bonus pool, golf fans around the world can look forward to a unique, interactive and entertaining event that will help those in need."
- Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR Commissioner
PGA TOUR Entertainment will produce live coverage, which will feature commentary from NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico from his home in Michigan, as well as analysts Paul Azinger and Gary Koch and play-by-play with Rich Lerner from an off-site production facility. On site at Seminole Golf Club will be on-course reporters Jerry Foltz and Steve Sands.
FUNDRAISING AND IMPACT
Thanks to a pledge from UnitedHealth Group, the primary charitable component will see the teams compete in a $3 million charity skins match as each team will compete for one of two charities, the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation.
David S. Wichmann, CEO, UnitedHealth Group, said: "The 325,000 people of UnitedHealth Group continue to work tirelessly every day to support the health and safety of the people we are privileged to serve and to contribute to the resolution of this pandemic. This additional financial support for the American Nurses Foundation and the CDC Foundation advances our commitment to take care of those who care for us by helping to meet the clinical, emotional and mental health needs of our frontline heroes, doctors, nurses and all health care workers. We’re pleased to be a part of this event designed to bring attention to and encourage further financial support for those on the leading edge of fighting this pandemic."
The four players have commented on the upcoming match.
Rory McIlroy said: "It’s been difficult to witness what so many are enduring over the last several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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."
His partner, Dustin Johnson added: "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."
Former Players Champion, Rickie Fowler remarked: "When I heard about this event, I couldn’t get involved fast enough. 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. 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."
Matthew Wolff commented: "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. Special thanks to the PGA Tour, NBC, TaylorMade and all our partners for the opportunity. See you at Seminole!"
Additionally, the European Tour has launched its new BMW Indoor Invitational powered by TrackMan, which will see players including Martin Kaymer, Joost Luiten, Mike Lorenzo Vera, Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger compete from home using TrackMan technology in a series of events on iconic courses that will raise money, with each tournament winner receiving $10,000 towards their chosen charity or relief fund.
Saturday May 9
Course: St Andrews, Old Course
Saturday May 16
Course: Royal Portrush
Saturday May 23
Course: Golfclub München Eichenried
Saturday May 30
Course: Real Club Valderrama
Saturday June 6
The events will be broadcast on the European Tour's social media channels.
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