Team TaylorMade’s McIlroy, Johnson, Fowler and Wolff Headline TaylorMade Driving Relief

Ladies and gentlemen. Live golf will be back on television.

TaylorMade Golf has announced that four of its stars will be teeing it up in a charity skins match. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and young phenom Matthew Wolff will be taking part in “TaylorMade Driving Relief”.

TaylorMade Driving Relief

The PGA TOUR, NBC Sports, and Sky Sports made the announcement. The match to be played on May 17th is 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”.

Unlike “The Match”, I for one, will be tuning in to this event. And I cannot wait. New televised golf and I guarantee that with the guys playing, this will be entertaining. For more details, please see the press release below as shared by Nick Obritsch. Nick is the Senior Marketing Manager for TaylorMade Golf Canada.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

Carlsbad, Calif. (May 4, 2020) – The PGA TOUR, NBC Sports and Sky Sports today announced the return of televised golf with TaylorMade Driving Relief, centred 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.

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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.

EVENT INFORMATION:

  • 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. 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.

Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR Commissioner

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. 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.

Pete Bevacqua, President, NBC Sports Group

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. 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.

Jimmy Dunne, President, Seminole Golf Club

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. 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.

David S. Wichmann, CEO, UnitedHealth Group

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. 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.

Jeff Dailey, CEO, Farmers Insurance

 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. The return of live golf and the opportunity to raise money for those affected is simply fantastic.

David Abeles, CEO, TaylorMade Golf

RORY MCILROY, TAYLORMADE AND UNITEDHEALTH GROUP 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.

Rory McIlroy

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.

Dustin Johnson

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.

Rickie Fowler

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!

Matthew Wolff

If There Are No Fans… Does An Event Really Make a Sound?

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about sporting events continuing without fans.

When you think about it, the game of golf and its professional iteration of it is no different than other professional sports. In an article from 2019, I pointed out the contrasting similarities. It doesn’t matter which sports league it is, professional golf really is no different than say the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and NASCAR to name a few. How do I figure?

Well in what is a relatively easy question to answer, all of the sports have things in common. First of all, there’s free agency. Golf? How? Simple, when equipment contracts expire, often we’ll see a play jump ship to play a different brand. Look no further than Justin Rose who departed TaylorMade Golf in favour of Honma Golf. Granted, Rose did return back to a golf bag predominantly filled with TaylorMade Golf products, save for a COBRA Golf KING SPEEDZONE 5-wood when we last checked in March. Then there’s Sergio Garcia who left TaylorMade Golf for Callaway Golf just to… actually, we’ll leave that one alone. I wouldn’t touch that one with my dog’s 6-foot social distancing stick. Often money and more lucrative equipment deals are the “inspiration” for leaving one brand and joining another. It isn’t necessarily about better equipment to be had. There’s just so much parity in the golf equipment industry.

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Photo Credit: Golf.com

Merchandise. Yes, there’s that as well. You could be walking around your golf courses Pro Shop or local golf retailer and the “merch” is everywhere. Polos that say Adidas Golf or Nike Golf on them. At events, there’s always “pop-up” shops with logoed products of the event that you’re attending. Ultimately, the merchandise goes back to the golf manufacturer and in a roundabout way, that also partially pays for a player’s logo deal or apparel contract. Do you realize how much the fans of other professional sports ultimately pay owners and players by purchasing and wearing their jerseys or baseball caps? It’s a massive revenue generator.

All of the sports including professional golf also make a ton of money from ungodly television contracts. In 2019, every NFL team received $255M from the league’s television contracts. Recently, the PGA TOUR renewed its contract with CBS and NBC for an astronomical $700M per annum over the next nine years. That’s big money rolling into Ponte Vedra, FL. Without you, the fans, watching the events on your television that simply isn’t possible.

Basically, without fans none of this is possible. In saying “this” I am referring to professional sports even existing. Which ultimately gets me to my main point.

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The Ryder Cup. The bi-annual team event that pits the best professional golfers from the United States vs Europe. Being Canadian, I have no vested interest in who wins or loses because Canadian golfers are excluded. I’m just a fan of good golf. There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt that in the wake of the global pandemic facing us, the Ryder Cup will be played with no fans in attendance. Honestly, in my opinion, that makes this event borderline “pointless”. While the golfers themselves have something to play for, with no fans in attendance the event itself would be so sterile. The fans make the Ryder Cup what it is. They’re the ones who create the atmosphere. There’s talk that the NBA and NHL has vetted cities like Toronto to host the playoffs without fans. At that point, I wouldn’t even watch it on television. No atmosphere and no emotion. It’d basically be like watching a scrimmage where I’m the only person in attendance in the arena. The teams feed off of the energy of those in the galleries or stands.

Now what I do have is a crazy suggestion for the golf powers that be. Postpone the 2020 Ryder Cup until 2021 and keep the venue the same (Whistling Straits). What about the Presidents Cup you ask, which finally yielded an entertaining event in 2019? Play that in 2021 as well. Often, I’ve said that the U.S. has so much depth that they could field two teams. Put my theory to the test. Just look at all of the “Stars and Stripes” on the OWGR. It’d be a great chance for the USGA to see what they have for the future by immersing players like Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff, Max Homa, and others on the team. Not to mention guys like Kevin Na, Kevin Kisner, and say Phil Mickelson as a playing captain.

The television ratings for both would be amazing. Hello, television and TOUR executives. Just think of the dollar signs while you sit there in your “ivory towers”. Without the fans at live events, what’s the point?

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

The Pick’s Are In – Tiger Woods’ Picks

The night before Captain Ernie Els selected his Captain’s Picks and for the most part there weren’t any serious surprises. Although, this writer still takes Corey Conners over Joaquin Niemann every time. Especially considering, when we’re talking about a difference of one spot in the OWGR and the year that Conners had. Uh-oh… Here I go again. Stop it Alex. Oh no, now I’m talking in the third person. Hey! Speaking of which.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Last night, from the cozy confines of The Woods in Jupiter, Florida Tiger Woods took to the camera and made his Captain’s Picks for the U.S. Team at the upcoming President’s Cup set to take place at Royal Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. I actually tuned in to catch the picks being made and I prognosticated my picks just before he made them. Apparently, the stream, however, was on a bit of a tape delay. My predictions were…

To be totally honest, I don’t know what made me think Fowler (perhaps past success in team events) but I know why I selected Na. The guy (love or hate him) had a seriously good campaign in 2019. As much as I was gung-ho on Conners for the International team I was more than that about Na for the American team. As we now know, when the dust settled the picks were Tony Finau (totally off of my radar), Woodland (well-earned with a good year and a Major title), Patrick Reed who apparently mended the right fences after the Ryder Cup fiasco and Tiger Woods himself.

We all know that Patrick Reed is the guy who can get under an opponent’s skin so he has value there along with a solid resume of winning points for his team. Maybe, I was watching the wrong golf but was his 2019 that good? Of course, I understand that the OWGR isn’t based solely on the current year.

But then there’s the somewhat curious pick of Tiger picking himself and then talking about himself in the third person. Twitter was abuzz about it. Honestly, it really wasn’t that comical and actually, you get used to it after a while. I get it though. He won The Masters, just finished winning his 82nd event at the ZOZO and ultimately is ranked 7th in the OWGR. ranking alone, yes he should have been there. But then Paul McGinley had a great point.

While Na is no spring chicken at 36 years of age if you go by McGinley’s Tweet and the reason for the task force wouldn’t you get a kid like Matthew Wolff, or Collin Morikawa a shot as “Wild Card” picks? Now hear me out. The International Team has only won on one occasion with one draw for good measure. Wouldn’t this have been a good litmus test based on the reason why the task force was set up in the first place? The President’s Cup while being a competition is no contest. If It were the Ryder Cup, I actually support Tiger picking himself. But he actually let on that he would likely play in minimal matches.

Maybe just maybe Tiger picking himself was a two-fold situation. Partially driven by the PGA of America to boost ratings and maybe… Just maybe an ego thing? Another feather in the cap of “The Legend of Tiger Woods”. Let’s be honest here. Him just being there as a Captain will mean that he’ll be on camera a lot. The broadcasting agencies could introduce us to “The Captain Cam”.. Great for viewers looking to see him. But Tiger as a Playing Captain will entice viewers more. Just food for thought.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Powered by M5 Driver, Team TaylorMade’s Matthew Wolff Claims Maiden PGA TOUR Victory at 3M Open

Wolff’s maiden PGA TOUR Victory is the 14th win on Global Tours for TaylorMade’s New M5 & M6 Drivers with Injected Twist Face Technology; Fellow TaylorMade Stablemate Collin Morikawa Finishes in Tie for 2nd

 

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What You Need to Know:

  • Wolff wins his first PGA TOUR tournament in just his 3rd start as a professional (4th overall).
  • After playing the majority of his final season in college with the M5 driver, Wolff began his PGA TOUR by playing the first two weeks on Tour with a 8° M6 driver set to lower. This week, he opted for an 8° M5 driver, still equipped with Graphite Design’s AD-TP 7TX shaft, which he’s used extensively over the last few years.
  • Matthew also added a new 15° M5 fairway to his arsenal this week in Minnesota, equipped with a Graphite Design BB 8X shaft.
  • Matthew’s P760 2-iron, used as a driving iron, is complemented by a 4-PW set of P750 Tour Proto Irons, which he prefers the shape, workability and forgiveness of. He has them equipped with Nippon’s N.S. Pro Tour 130x shafts.
  • A dynamic wedge player, Wolff generally employs a 3-wedge setup (in addition to PW) and this week was no exception, opting for a 52°, 56° & 60° (bent to 62°) setup in the Milled Grind (raw).
  • Wolff made a quick switch into TaylorMade’s Spider X Putter following it’s debut, having played it in each of his tournaments as a professional to date. Matthew plays his single bend model at 33″ in length.
  • With the win, Wolff is projected to rise more than 1500 places in the Official World Golf Rankings – from #1659 into the top 150.

Matthew Wolff’s Winning Bag at the 3M Open

M5 Driver | 8° | Graphite Design AD-TP 7TX

M5 Fairway | 15° | Graphite Design BB 8X

P760 2-Iron | Nippon N.S. Pro Tour 130X

P750 Tour Proto Irons | 4-PW | Nippon N.S. Pro Tour 130X

Milled Grind Raw Wedges | 52°, 56° & 60° (bent to 62°) | True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Spider X Putter | Single Bend 33” | KBS CT Tour

Driven by Performance, Matthew Wolff Chooses Team TaylorMade with Multi-Year Full Bag Agreement

NCAA All-American and 2019 NCAA Division I individual champion set to play full arsenal of TaylorMade product as he makes his professional debut this week at the Travelers Championship

Carlsbad, Calif. (June 19, 2019) – Having already added top amateur standout Collin Morikawa to its dominant stable of athletes this summer, TaylorMade Golf Company announced today the addition of yet another amateur standout, consensus collegiate player of the year Matthew Wolff. Per his new multi-year agreement, Matthew Wolff will play TaylorMade’s metalwoods, irons, wedges, putter and ultimately, the company’s flagship golf ball, TP5x. The announcement comes on the heels of the 20-year-old’s decision to forego his final two seasons at Oklahoma State to turn professional.

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Wolff, known for his unique and immediately identifiable swing paired with prodigious distance off the tee, has the charisma and demeanor far exceeding his 20 years of age and carries high expectations into his professional debut. The California native made his PGA TOUR debut earlier this season as an amateur at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open on a sponsor’s exemption and is making his professional debut on Tour this week at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.

Victorious a school record six times with a 68.7 scoring average as a sophomore – the lowest in the history of college golf – Wolff capped off his tremendous collegiate career with an NCAA Individual title and both the Jack Nicklaus and Fred Haskins awards, given annually to the top collegiate player in the country.

Wolff joins a TaylorMade’s Tour staff that is widely considered the strongest in the industry, which includes Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, John Rahm and Tiger Woods, among others.

Matthew Wolff’s Bag at the Travelers Championship

M6 Driver | 8° | Graphite Design TP 7TX

M6 Fairway | 15° | Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 TX

P760 2 Iron | Nippon Modus 130x

P750 Tour Proto Irons | 3-PW | Nippon Modus 130x

Milled Grind Raw Wedges | 52°, 56° & 62 with True Temper DG x100

Spider X Copper Putter | Single Bend

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