Rickie Fowler

Watch Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson win Driving Relief charity golf event


Watch Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson win Driving Relief charity golf event

First it was Bundesliga earlier this week, now the PGA tour has returned to the live sports lexicon with Sunday's TaylorMade Driving Relief event in Florida. Stars Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy faced off in a skins match against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff.

Adhering to social distance guidelines, McIlroy and Johnson managed to come away with the win, generating more than $5 million for charities supporting those taking on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The players found a way to have some fun amid the global crisis, as McIlroy brought fans the first bit of live trash talk in what feels like an eternity.

"I think you forget I've won two FedEx Cups that total to $25 million," McIlroy quipped after sinking a putt.

Despite taking the loss on the course, Fowler and Wolff definitely won the facial-hair contest.

[RELATED: Rory McIlroy continues to be leader, voice that golf desperately needs]

There hasn't been a PGA Tour event since the Players' Championship was canceled after the first round on March 12, but there didn't seem to be much rust on the competitors.

NBA and MLB games likely won't be coming back anytime soon, but it was nice once again to have a Sunday featuring the world's best playing down to the wire.

How to watch Rory McIlroy-Rickie Fowler Driving Relief charity match

NBC Sports

How to watch Rory McIlroy-Rickie Fowler Driving Relief charity match

Move over UFC, golf is back.

On Sunday, four of the top golfers in the world will compete in the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity skins match at Seminole Golf Club in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson will team up to take on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a match designed to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts.

McIlroy and Johnson will be played for American Nurses Foundation, while Fowler and Wolff will be playing for the CDC Foundation.

The Driving Relief event will be the first televised golf event since March 11, when the first round of The Players Championship took place.

Both sides will start with $500,000 in the pot, which each hole having a value attached to it:

No. 1 through No. 6 -- $50,000 each
No. 7 through No. 16 -- $100,000 each
No. 17 -- $200,000
No. 18 -- $500,000

Here's how to watch the Driving Relief match:

When: Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT
Stream: NBCSports.com

Rickie Fowler posts 'stress-free' 66 to tie for first round lead at U.S. Open


Rickie Fowler posts 'stress-free' 66 to tie for first round lead at U.S. Open

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. -- If anyone understands the saying, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride" it might be Rickie Fowler. 

The 30-year-old has posted nine top-10 finishes at majors in his career, including four consecutive top fives during the 2014 season. Almost every major Sunday you'll spot Fowler waiting by the clubhouse to congratulate whoever just added a major championship to their trophy case. He's been waiting patiently for his moment.

After firing a final-round 67 to finish one shot behind eventual champion Patrick Reed at the 2018 Masters, Fowler admitted he finally felt he was ready to break through at a major championship and understood what it takes. 

That breakthrough might just come this week at Pebble Beach. Fowler put on a ball-striking clinic during Thursday's first round of the 2019 U.S. Open, hitting 11-of-12 fairways and 13-of-15 greens in regulation en route to a stress-free 5-under-par-66 that has him one off the lead set by Justin Rose. 

"Yeah, that was a big week," Fowler said of the 2018 Masters following Thursday's first round. "Obviously, I had been in contention before, gotten close and been around, and had opportunities before, but to really kind of take the opportunity head on -- you know that back nine, the way I executed there was similar to today. 

"So yeah, that back nine there was very big. Especially, this year as well I had a chance to make a bit of run and I had a couple of putts slide by, a couple missed yet. It's been a fun run. I think it's been a long road to get to the point where majors felt like another week. Because they are bigger, they're majors, there's a lot going on, but now it's time to soak it all up and have some fun." 

Fowler certainly had some fun Thursday on Monterey Peninsula. 

With the wind barely blowing and cloud cover keeping the fairways and greens soft, Fowler attacked the toothless course with all the precision of a world-renowned surgeon. He birdied the 502-yard, Par-4 second hole and then racked up birdies at No. 4 and No. 7 before dropping a shot with a bogey at No. 9.

Despite the bogey at No. 9, the back nine belonged to Fowler. He got the dropped shot back at No. 11, sticking a wedge to seven feet before burying a birdie putt. Fowler birdied No. 14 and No. 15 before stringing together three straight pars to finish the day at 5-under. 

“I felt like that was about the highest score I could have shot today,” Fowler said. “Just happy with how stress-free and easy it was.”

With the course defenseless, Fowler played aggressively and put himself in position to be a factor at this U.S. Open. The Murrieta native is pleased with how he was able to take advantage of a windless Pebble and thinks he can rely on past major experiences to stay in calm and in the moment.

"I did a really good job of thinking through everything and being detailed," Fowler said. "If I had any worry, I backed off or made sure that I went through the process again. That gets more and more important especially when you get to Saturday, Sunday. Things start to speed up and I think that's been something that I've done a good job of the last few years and have learned from past experiences.

"It's a lot easier said than done, but I'm looking forward to it. Great start today. I loved what we were able to accomplish and it'll be nice to see if we can top that, or if not, keep matching it." 

[RELATED: Spieth hoping to return to ranks of golf's elite at U.S. Open]

Fowler once again is in position to become a major champion and finally lift the weight off his shoulders. 

He just has to stay calm and patient when the course toughens up and Sunday very well could be his coronation.