Live professional golf to be televised next week with Rory McIlroy among those featuring




 

Rory McIlroy will next week take the leading role in the first professional golf to be televised live in more than two months. The world No 1 will partner Dustin Johnson in a charity match against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in Florida.

Sky Sports will screen the 18 holes, which will begin at 7pm at UK time on Sunday May 17, with NBC broadcasting it across America.

The behind-closed-doors event at Seminole - the much-lauded layout near McIlroy's Jupiter home where father Gerry is a member - will benefit the coronavirus relief efforts, with $4m being put up by UnitedHealth Group and Farmers Insurance.

Officials will follow social-distancing guidelines and there will be testing measures to protect the health and safety of the golfers, production crews and others on site. In that sense, it will be a useful guide for the PGA Tour, that intends to restart their schedule - under similar conditions, albeit with 140-plus players - at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Dallas on June 11.

And for McIlroy, after a seven-week break from the game which he broke last week by hitting his first practice shots since The Players Championship was abandoned after one round on Mar 12, this team skins showdown will represent a competitive return, of sorts.

"It's been difficult to witness what so many are enduring over the last several weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic," McIlroy said. "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."

McIlroy and Johnson are considered two of the best drivers of the ball, while Fowler is among the most popular characters in the game and alongside 21-year-old Wolff, one of the up-and-coming forces on Tour, the encounter is set to be an intriguing clash of swings and styles. The quartet are sponsored by equipment-makers TaylorMade.

The PGA Tour has sanctioned the event, with commissioner Jay Monahan saying: "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 Covic-19 pandemic. With four of the PGA TOUR's top stars in Rory, Rickie, Dustin and Matthew of Team TaylorMade participating… fans around the world can look forward to a unique, interactive and entertaining event that will help those in need."

A week later, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are set to play their own exhibition - also for Covid19 relief funds - with famed NFL quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as their respective playing partners.

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