McIlroy, Johnson, Fowler, Wolff headline ‘TaylorMade Driving Relief’ to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts
The PGA TOUR, NBC Sports and Sky Sports today announced the return of televised golf with TaylorMade Driving Relief, centered around a $3 million charity skins match supported by UnitedHealth Group to raise money and awareness for the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation, two organizations helping to lead COVID-19 relief efforts.
On Sunday, May 17, from Seminole Golf Club, TaylorMade Driving Relief will feature two-time FedExCup champion and World No. 1 Rory McIlroy and 20-time PGA TOUR winner Dustin Johnson, teaming up against two Oklahoma State University alumni: PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler and 2019 first-time TOUR winner and 2019 NCAA National Champion Matthew Wolff. 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.
Additionally, Farmers Insurance® has pledged $1 million to back a birdies-and-eagle pool to benefit Off Their Plate, a charitable organization helping COVID-19 healthcare workers and impacted frontline shift employees.
Building upon this initial fundraising of $4 million, PGA TOUR Charities will announce a Text-To-Donate activation and online donation platform powered by GoFundMe to allow viewers to make additional contributions and raise funds for COVID-19 relief.
- Players: All four golfers will donate their time for the 18-hole, two-man team skins competition, with McIlroy/Johnson playing for the American Nurses Foundation and Fowler/Wolff playing for the CDC Foundation.
- Location: Seminole Golf Club (Juno Beach, Fla.) A majestic Donald Ross design with a clever routing on a rectangular site, each hole at Seminole encounters a new wind direction. Seminole has long been one of America’s most-revered clubs and this marks the club’s first ever golf event broadcast. No fans or spectators will be permitted on site.
- Date/Time: Sunday, May 17; live coverage will air from 2-6 p.m. ET
- Television Broadcast: NBC, GOLF Channel, NBCSN, Sky Sports and other PGA TOUR global media partners
- Digital: Unauthenticated streaming of the entire event available via PGA TOUR LIVE (NBC Sports Gold and Amazon Prime Video), GOLFPASS, GolfChannel.com and GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR. Pre-match coverage as well as the first two holes of the event also will stream on Twitter.
- Safety measures: PGA TOUR will follow all guidelines, executive orders and mandates issued by the state of Florida, Palm Beach County and the city of Juno Beach.
“We are excited about the safe and responsible return of live golf and the opportunity to raise significant funds for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic through the TaylorMade Driving Relief event,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “With four of the PGA TOUR’s top stars in Rory, Rickie, Dustin and Matthew of Team TaylorMade participating and UnitedHealth Group serving as the foundation of charitable giving, and Farmers Insurance providing an additional bonus pool, golf fans around the world can look forward to a unique, interactive and entertaining event that will help those in need.”
BROADCAST: PGA TOUR Entertainment will produce live coverage, which will feature commentary from NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico from his home in Michigan, as well as analysts Paul Azinger and Gary Koch and play-by-play with Rich Lerner from an off-site production facility. On site at Seminole Golf Club will be on-course reporters Jerry Foltz and Steve Sands.
“NBC Sports is proud to raise awareness for these charities that are directly making an impact on COVID-19 relief,” said Pete Bevacqua, President, NBC Sports Group. “We’re grateful to the four exceptional PGA TOUR players for donating their time, as well as all the sponsors for helping elevate this unique fundraising event, which will feature the first worldwide broadcast of a golf competition from Seminole Golf Club.”
“Seminole Golf Club is honored to host this charitable event and welcomes all golf fans and sports enthusiasts to tune in to the broadcast to see these world-class players take on our course,” said Jimmy Dunne, President of Seminole Golf Club. “This match is a pure public service, with all money raised providing COVID-19 relief to those most in need in Florida and around the country, and Seminole is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to such a worthy cause at this difficult time.”
FUNDRAISING AND IMPACT: Thanks to a pledge from UnitedHealth Group, the primary charitable component will see the teams compete in a $3 million charity skins match as each team will compete for one of two charities, the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation.
“The 325,000 people of UnitedHealth Group continue to work tirelessly every day to support the health and safety of the people we are privileged to serve and to contribute to the resolution of this pandemic,” said David S. Wichmann, UnitedHealth Group Chief Executive Officer. “This additional financial support for the American Nurses Foundation and the CDC Foundation advances our commitment to take care of those who care for us by helping to meet the clinical, emotional and mental health needs of our frontline heroes, doctors, nurses and all health care workers. We’re pleased to be a part of this event designed to bring attention to and encourage further financial support for those on the leading edge of fighting this pandemic.”
Additionally, Farmers Insurance also kicked off fundraising efforts with a $1 million pledge, to back a birdies-and-eagles pool to benefit Off Their Plate, whose work creates a conduit for local communities to provide nutritious meals to the hospital teams we depend on and economic relief to local restaurant workers who have been most affected by COVID.
“For more than 90 years, serving our customers and helping communities impacted by disasters around the country has been in our DNA, and that remains true now more than ever. On behalf of everyone at Farmers, we’re proud of first responders and frontline workers for what they continue to do every single day during this unprecedented situation,” said Farmers Insurance CEO Jeff Dailey. “It’s a privilege to support this event, alongside our brand ambassador Rickie Fowler, and provide much needed funds to Off Their Plate, so they can continue to help those most impacted in this uncertain time.”
COMPETITORS: TaylorMade brings four of the world’s best and most exciting players to the event, and all are donating their time to be a part of the COVID-19 relief effort.
“While all of us navigate through the impact of this pandemic, we wanted to do our part for first responders and nominated COVID-19 charities. After speaking with our Team TaylorMade athletes, we are thrilled to make this TaylorMade Driving Relief event happen with our partners at the PGA TOUR and NBC Sports,” said David Abeles,CEO, TaylorMade. “The return of live golf and the opportunity to raise money for those affected is simply fantastic.”
Rory McIlroy, TaylorMade and UnitedHealth Group Health Ambassador:
- The reigning FedExCup champion and 2019 PGA TOUR Player of the Year is currently ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. McIlroy has 18 PGA TOUR victories and an additional nine wins worldwide including four major championships, the 2019 PLAYERS Championship, three World Golf Championships and the 2019 and 2016 FedExCup titles.
- “It’s been difficult to witness what so many are enduring over the last several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m excited and thankful to TaylorMade and UnitedHealth Group for making this event possible and providing us with the opportunity to show our support of those on the frontlines. I hope that we can provide some respite and entertainment for those tuning in across the globe. Dustin and I will have a lot of fun together and our games will fit well as we push to raise funds and awareness on May 17.”
Dustin Johnson, TaylorMade Ambassador:
- Johnson, a 20-time PGA TOUR winner, is currently No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Johnson’s 20 victories include the 2016 U.S. Open, six World Golf Championships events and four FedExCup Playoffs events.
- “I’m really excited to team up with Rory and to get back out on the golf course. Seminole is a great venue and it will be cool to show it to the world through this event. I’m sure Rickie and Matthew will be ready for us, but hopefully Rory and I can take them and help generate a lot of money and support for charities and those affected most by COVID-19.”
Rickie Fowler, TaylorMade Ball and Farmers Insurance Ambassador:
- Fowler owns nine victories worldwide, including his memorable win at THE PLAYERS Championship in 2015 when he played the finishing stretch of holes 15-18 in a 5-under total of 11 strokes.
- “When I heard about this event, I couldn’t get involved fast enough. 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.”
Matthew Wolff, TaylorMade Ambassador:
- Wolff turned professional last June and by July, he earned his first career PGA TOUR victory at the inaugural 3M Open. Playing on sponsor exemptions, he needed just four starts to capture that first title and earned his PGA TOUR card at age 20. Wolff became the third player to win the individual title at the NCAA Championships and a PGA TOUR event in the same year, joining Ben Crenshaw and Tiger Woods.
- “I’m fired up to play alongside Rickie and raise money to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts. 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!”