Oklahoma State will help the U.S. re-enter the sports world in less than two weeks.
On May 17 from 2-6 p.m. at Seminole Golf Club in Florida, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff will tee it up against the No. 1 player in the world, Rory McIlroy, and his partner the No. 5 player in the world, Dustin Johnson, in a skins match to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts.
The match, dubbed TaylorMade Driving Relief (all four golfers use TaylorMade products), has already raised $4 million from UnitedHealth Group and Farmers Insurance, which will go toward the American Nurses Foundation, the CDC Foundation and an organization called Off Their Plate, which “provides nutritious meals to the hospital teams we depend on and economic relief to local restaurant workers who have been most affected by COVID.”
McIlroy and Johnson will play for the nurses. Fowler and Wolff for the CDC Foundation. The Off Their Plate money will be sorted out in a birdies and eagles challenge during the event.
The event will be broadcast on NBC, Golf Channel and myriad digital outlets with Mike Tirico, Rich Lerner, Steve Sands and Paul Azinger on the mostly remote broadcast.
This match will take place probably a week before the big-time Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning match (no confirmed date) and [whispers] should be a lot better and a lot more fun than that one.
In woke golf architecture circles, Seminole is one of the 🐐s. Its annual pro-member has a better field than probably half the PGA Tour’s events. When you combine that with the fact that $4 million has already been raised with more possibly on deck with text-in options, and the reality that these are four of the best golfers on the planet, the whole thing becomes must-see TV.
“When I heard about this event, I couldn’t get involved fast enough,” said Fowler in a statement. “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.”
The OSU duo will be heavy underdogs, but Wolff is a big wild card as it relates to performance. We mostly know what we’re getting from the other three, not so much from Wolff.
“I’m fired up to play alongside Rickie and raise money to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Wolff. “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!”
According to the PGA Tour — which has about five weeks to figure out how it will hold a full-field event in Fort Worth Texas on June 11 — social distancing for Fowler, McIlroy and the crew at Seminole will be practiced.
The competition will follow strict CDC 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. [PGA Tour]
The event should be a good one. Rory and Wolff are massive personalities, Fowler will be good in this setting and DJ … is DJ. I’m excited to cover it and hopeful that it’s a true indication of what’s to come in the sports world for the second half of what has been a big bummer of a year so far.