The long-awaited return of live televised golf did not disappoint. We saw long drives, precision putts and even a bit of drama on the 18th hole.
Ultimately, it was the team of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson that prevailed over Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. However, the success of the day was not purely measured by the results on the course, but instead by the giving nature of our golf industry family and those watching at home.
TaylorMade Driving Relief raised a total of $5.5 million during play, with the money raised going directly to organizations leading the COVID-19 efforts on the front line. Of that total, nearly $1.1 million came from viewer donations.
It’s not too late to contribute to the cause if you want to help. Go to www.pgatour.com/drivingrelief to make a donation. The window to donate will remain open until 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 19.
Driving Relief By the Numbers
- Date: May 17, 2020
- Location: Seminole Golf Club (Juno Beach, Florida)
- Winning Team: Rory McIlroy & Dustin Johnson
- Total Amount Raised: $5.5 million (to date)
- Reach: 2.35 million average viewers
- No. of Birdies: 15 (totaling $750,000 in the birdies/eagles pool)
Rory McIlroy | Dustin Johnson
- Charity:American Nurses Foundation
- Skins: 11
- Total: $1,850,000
Rickie Fowler | Matthew Wolff
- Charity: CDC Foundation
- Skins: 7
- Total: $1,150,000
There was something special about watching the best players in the world walking, carrying their own bags and chatting it up like a regular Saturday foursome. The fact that it was the first time Seminole Golf Club was televised added to the allure.
Once play started, it didn’t take long for the competitive juices to flowing and for the trash talk to begin. When a short putt wasn’t conceded at the second hole, Rory was quick to throw this jab at the young Matthew Wolff:
He wasn’t done there. When Wolff missed his next tee shot right, Rory promptly thanked him for social distancing. Shots fired early on.
However, Wolff would howl back. His 356-yard and 368-yard drives combined to win $450,000 for charity on the TaylorMade Long Drive holes at Nos. 2 and 14. Something to be proud of given the driving prowess of both Rory and DJ. The money for the Long Drive pool was contributed by TaylorMade and PGA Tour Superstore.
Rickie’s putter stayed hot throughout the day and pushed team CDC Foundation into a solid lead early on. With his TP5 pix with ClearPath Alignment™ on full display, he rolled in a birdie at No. 7 and then another long one on 11. He would make 7 birdies on the day, showing his familiarity with the Seminole layout.
Back and forth action down the stretch left the teams on the 18th green with 6 skins and $1.1 million on the line. (When was the last time someone carried their own bag as they walked to a putt worth more than a mil?)
DJ’s look from just under the hole just missed right and we went back to the 17th hole for a closest-to-the-pin playoff to decide the match.
Fittingly, it was Rory McIlroy who’s shot settled closest from the 120-yard forward tee. Rory was an instrumental player in bringing TaylorMade Driving Relief to life. He was fully committed to the cause from day 1 and engaged in the process throughout. He has a partnership with UnitedHealth Group and his father, Gerry, is a member at Seminole where Rory often plays.
Yes, it was great to see live golf again. Seeing the players in shorts, carrying their own bags and laughing together – it was refreshing. A different way of experiencing the pro game. During these times, it served as clear a reminder that we’re all the same, and no matter who we are this COVID-19 thing has affected all of our lives in some way.
However, there are unique ways that we can come together. Golf is one of them. These days, unity and supporting one another it what it’s all about. TaylorMade Driving Relief put that message on display for the world to see.