McIlroy, Johnson headline charity match for COVID-19 relief

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Rory McIlroy, left, bumps elbows with an official as he packs his vehicle after the PGA tour canceled the rest of The Players Championship golf tournament as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The PGA Tour first said there would be no fans. Now there will be no players. In a late Thursday night decision, the PGA Tour canceled the rest of The Players Championship and said it would not play the next three weeks. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Live golf returns to television in just under two weeks with a $3 million charity skins match for COVID-19 relief that includes Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and the broadcast debut of fabled Seminole Golf Club.

McIlroy and Johnson, both major champions who have reached No. 1 in the world, will face Oklahoma State alumni Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in an event billed as the “TaylorMade Driving Relief.”

UnitedHealth Group Inc. is backing the $3 million donation. McIlroy and Johnson are playing for the American Nurses Foundation, while Fowler and Wolff will play for the CDC Foundation.

All four players have endorsements and relationships with the groups involved. Farmers Insurance has pledged $1 million for a birdies-and-eagle pool to benefit “Off Their Plate,” which supports COVID-19 health care workers. PGA Tour Charities will have a “text-to-donate” online program for viewers to pledge additional money.

It will be the first live golf since the pandemic shut down sports worldwide seven weeks ago. And it will be the first time that Seminole, the Donald Ross course in South Florida, has a televised event.

Seminole is located on a tiny tract along the Atlantic Ocean in Juno Beach, designed in such a manner that nearly every shot faces a slightly different wind direction. It has never been ranked out of the top 20 on Golf Digest's list of “America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses” since the ranking began in 1966.

“I hope that we can provide some respite and entertainment for those tuning in across the globe,” McIlroy said.

The charity match will be televised by NBC networks, including Golf Channel, along with Sky Sports and the PGA Tour's global TV partners. It also will be streamed live on various platforms.