The first televised golf in over two months will air on Sunday night when Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson team up against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in an all-star ‘skins’ game at Seminole Golf Club in Florida.
The match is being played in aid of coronavirus charities, and its prize money is worth some $4million.
Here’s all you need to know about the event – called TaylorMade Driving Relief – including how you can watch the action, how the skins format works, and how it’s all possible despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Rory McIlroy is the star name as golf makes its first return to live TV on Sunday night
McIlroy is one of four players lined up to play in a skins game to benefit coronavirus charities
WHO’S PLAYING, AND WHERE?
Rory McIlroy is the star name on the bill. The world No 1 from Northern Ireland, who is a four-time major champion, will play on a huge-hitting team with Dustin Johnson, a former US Open winner and the world No 5.
They will face a team of two more Americans: Rickie Fowler, who is yet to win a major but is the darling of much of the US golfing public; and Matthew Wolff, a 21-year-old Californian who is tipped as one of the stars of the future and has already won on the PGA Tour.
The host course is historic Seminole, one of the most exclusive clubs in America, located at Juno Beach, Florida. Designed by Donald Ross in 1929 it has been the playground for, among others, Presidents Gerald Ford and John F Kennedy, and NFL legend Tom Brady is reportedly a current member.
Former US Open champion Dustin Johnson will team up with McIlroy for the match
They will take on Rickie Fowler, the poster boy of American golf, in playing for a $4m pot
Rising American star Matthew Wolff is the final player, and he partners Fowler
WHAT IS A SKINS GAME?
The two teams will play to win ‘skins’ – one hole is worth one skin, which has a certain monetary value. Each player will play their own ball and the lowest score on each hole wins the skin for their team. If the lowest scores for the hole on both teams are tied then the skin is carried over onto the next hole, which continues until one team outscores the other on a particular hole. That team then wins all the accumulated unclaimed skins.
Each team will start with $500,000 and the team with the most money – not skins – at the end wins.
HOW MUCH ARE THEY PLAYING FOR?
Each skin on the first six holes are worth $50,000, then the next 10 are worth $100,000 each. The par-3 17th is worth $200,000 and then the 18th is worth a whopping $500,000 to the winner.
If the final skin is not won, the teams will play the 17th again, with either the lowest score winning or, in the event of another tie, the closest tee shot to the pin.
McIlroy’s team will play to raise money for the American Nurses Foundational and Fowler’s pair for the CDC Foundation, which raises funds to fight against infectious diseases.
UnitedHealth Group is funding $3m of the prize fund, with Farmers Insurance contributing $1m.
That money goes towards additional prizes, with players earning an extra $25,000 for every birdie, $50,000 for every eagle, and $150,000 for an albatross or hole-in-one.
There are also long-drive prizes of $100,000 on the 2nd hole and $150,000 on the 14th, which should be great entertainment with all four players able to boom massive drives – although Fowler might feel a little left behind in this race.
The skins game will take place at the historic Seminole Golf Club at Juno Beach in Florida
HOW DO THE PLAYERS STAY SAFE?
The protocols are similar to that unveiled by the PGA Tour this week: everyone at the course will be tested for coronavirus and asked to submit questionnaires and have temperature checks; social distancing will be enforced; and there will be no fans present. In this match, rules officials will handle flagsticks, which have been disinfected. There will be no bunker rakes.
HOW CAN I WATCH?
Sky Sports is showing all the action from 7pm on Sunday night on its Golf and Main Event channels.