McIlroy, Johnson, Fowler and Wolff glad to be back competing in the spectator-less new normal

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff are glad to be back in the competitive swing of things, even though yesterday’s TaylorMade Driving Relief supported by UnitedHealth Group was a charity skins 18-hole event played without spectators.

“It was good. It was nice to feel it again,” said World No 1 McIlroy. “It’s only — what’s it been, nine weeks since The Players? It feels much longer than that.

“Obviously we just went through a very unprecedented time, and we’re used to feeling like that week in, week out … so to be at home for these few weeks and not feel that, it was nice to get back out here today even though it’s a different setting than what we’re used to. But to get those competitive juices going again, it was nice
to feel it.”

McIlroy teamed up with Johnson to claim victory at Seminole Golf Club in Florida by collecting 11 skins for a total of US$1.85 million that will be donated to the American Nurses Foundation, while Fowler and Wolff won seven skins worth US$1.15 million for the CDC Foundation.

“It’s incredible what we did, and obviously it’s very nice to be a part of something so cool. Yeah, just to get back out and play golf again, and a little bit competitive. It was a lot of fun,” said Johnson.

Sharing a social-distanced laugh (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

In golf’s return to televised competition, the total amount raised from the match, relief partner donations and fan contributions as of the conclusion of the match exceeded US$5.5 million. Fans at home contributed to the fundraising efforts via PGA Tour Charities through online donations at and Text-To-Give options powered by GoFundMe. The online donation page will remain active until Tuesday, May 19.

Farmers Insurance added a US$1 million pledge through a birdies-and-eagle pool to benefit Off Their Plate, a fundraising initiative through World Central Kitchen that helps both frontline Covid-19 healthcare workers and impacted restaurant shift employees. Fowler led all players with seven birdies during the match.

Following the first hole of the competition, TaylorMade announced a pledge of US$350,000 through two TaylorMade Long Drive Holes. During the broadcast of the competition, PGA Tour Superstore announced an additional US$100,000 as part of the long drive at the 14th hole. Both were won by Wolff with drives of 356 yards and 368 yards.

“With Rory, DJ and myself, we’re definitely the longest on the tour, I’d say, along with a couple other guys. But the most important thing was raising money for charity. I think a couple other people donated on 14 and raised it up to $350,000 for that long drive, so that was pretty awesome,” said Wolff.

Fowler added: “It’s just fun being out here, being able to play golf, play with some of our close friends for a really good cause, or multiple causes, but all kind of central around Covid relief. It’s all a bonus just being able to play golf, a good heated battle. We had some fun.”

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