PGA Tour stars Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler will give golf fans their first live-action entertainment since league play was suspended due to the coronavirus when they clash in a May 17 charity match.
Fowler, McIlroy, Johnson and Matthew Wolff will battle in the TaylorMade Driving Relief skins competition at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla. The televised fundraiser will aid coronavirus relief efforts. Play will air from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT May 17 on NBC and Sky Sports. It will also be available to stream for free.
“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,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a news release.
“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.”
McIlroy and Johnson will play on behalf of the American Nurses Foundation. They will take on Fowler and Wolff, who will play for the CDC Foundation. UnitedHealth Group has also pledged $3 million in charity skins, cash prizes provided to the winner of a hole.
Farmers Insurance pledged $1 million for a birdies and eagles pool. Those funds will go toward Off Their Plate, an initiative that helps healthcare workers. Viewers will also be able to use text messages to donate and make online donations on a GoFundMe account during the competition.
“The competition will follow strict [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] social distancing guidelines, local mandates and will utilize appropriate testing measures to help protect the health and safety of the golfers, production crew and others on site,” the PGA Tour said.
No fans will be allowed to attend the event. NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico will provide commentary from his home in Michigan. Paul Azinger, Gary Koch and Rich Lerner will provide commentary from an off-site production facility. Reporters Jerry Foltz and Steve Sands will attend the competition.
The PGA Tour has been suspended since March 13 but plans to return in mid-June. The first four tournaments planned will be closed to the public.
“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.”