Rory McIlroy knocked a ball to within 13 feet of the pin on the 17th hole at Seminole Golf Club to win a closest-to-the-pin playoff and clinch victory alongside Dustin Johnson in Sunday’s TaylorMade Driving Relief exhibition match.
Johnson and McIlroy defeated Matthew Wolff and Rickie Fowler in the match, which raised more than $5 million for charity.
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McIlroy shot last in the playoff, in which all four players took a swing from 120 yards away. Wolff was the only other player to hit the green, and sat 18 feet away before McIlroy hit the winning shot.
Closest to the pin. For $1,100,000.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 17, 2020
That ball earned McIlroy and Johnson the final six skins of the contest, worth a total of $1.1 million. In total, their team earned $1.85 million for the American Nurses Foundation. Fowler and Wolff earned $1.15 million for the CDC Foundation.
The players also earned money for various charities and relief funds through longest drive contests – Wolff won both, earning $450,000 – and through a birdie and eagle fund set up by Famers Insurance. The four players combined for 16 birdies, raising an additional $655,000.
Viewers kicked in more than $1 million in additional donations, bringing the total charitable pledge to more than $5.5 million.
“I’m proud to be part of an event to entertain people at home on a Sunday afternoon and to raise money for people who need it,” McIlroy said during the 18th hole.
Johnson and McIlroy nearly clinched victory on the final hole of regulation. After jumping out to an early lead, the duo failed to win a skin the rest of the way, but both had birdie puts on the 18th to take the match. After both missed, the contest went to the shootout tiebreaker.
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Fowler and Wolff nearly pulled off a fairly significant upset. McIlroy is ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, while Johnson is ranked fifth. Fowler (No. 27) and Wolff (No. 110) rank far lower. Heading into the match, William Hill had McIlroy and Johnson as a -210 favorite over the Fowler/Wolff team (+180).
“It was an awesome day,” McIlroy said afterward. “It was nice to get back on the golf course and get back to some sort of normalcy.”
Golf fans will have another high-profile match to watch next weekend. On Sunday, May 24, the team of Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning will battle Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in “The Match: Champions for Charity.” The match, which will take place at Medalist Golf Club in Florida, aims to raise $10 million for COVID-19 relief funds.
Sports bettors will also have an opportunity to get some action on the match. FanDuel Sportsbook lists the Woods/Manning pairing as a -230 favorite over Mickelson/Brady (+192). Mickelson defeated Woods in the first edition of “The Match” back in 2018.
The PGA Tour plans to hold its first full tournament on June 11, when the Charles Schwab Challenge begins at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.