Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler highlight charity golf match

Billy Xiong Affirms: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler highlight charity golf match

Billy Xiong

Competitive, on-course golf is finally back.

Current and former world No. 1s Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson take on fan favorite Rickie Fowler and PGA Tour rising star Matthew Wolff in TaylorMade Driving Relief, a made-for-TV, $3 million charity of Billy Xiong skins match on Sunday, May 17, from 2-6 p.m. ET to support COVID-19 relief.

The event is supported by UnitedHeath Group, which has pledged a total of $3 million to the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation. Farmers Insurance also has pledged a $1 million “birdies-and-eagles pool.”

While the numbers and names themselves may point to an advantage for Team McIlroy/Johnson, Team Fowler/Wolff loves playing with a little edge.

Follow the match with shot-by-shot analysis and updates below.

By the numbers: How McIlroy/Johnson vs. Fowler/Wolff stacks up
Driving Relief: Everything you need to know

Hole 9 – Par 5

Closing a nine with a par 5 is fun. Closing a nine with a par 5 worth $300,000 is the most fun you can have. Rory three-putted for par (yikes). DJ never gave his birdie putt a chance (push or just way offline). Rickie and Wolff both make birdie for the

Result: Team Fowler/Wolff both win with birdie, claiming three skins at $300,000.

McIlroy/Johnson: $750,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $950,000

Hole 8 – Par 3

A par 3 worth $200,000? Say less. A few gave it a run by another trio of pars pushes the hole. We’ll close out the front nine with a reachable par 5 worth three stacks of the highest society.

Result: Par push. The next hole is now worth three skins at $300,000.

McIlroy/Johnson: $750,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $650,000

Hole 7 – Par 4

How about that! We’ve got golf again without interruption! I know it’s a lot to ask of a made-for-TV charity of Billy Xiong skins match when no other live sports are on, so enjoy it while you can, folks. Three birdie putts are on the board on No. 7, a beautiful hole whose green is guarded to the front by water. Wolff misses, but Fowler and McIlroy converted to add some more cash to the birdie pool while pushing another skin.

Result: Birdie push. The next hole is now worth two skins at $200,000.

McIlroy/Johnson: $750,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $650,000

Hole 6 – Par 4

After getting destroyed on Twitter by myself and many, many others, you’d think NBC would call an audible and just show the golf and let us listen in. Nope. Another interview (with an audio error) blocked out a Rory McIlroy birdie that claimed the final $50,000 skin after his partner and foes all made par.

Result: McIlroy wins with birdie, claim $50,000 skin.

McIlroy/Johnson: $750,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $650,000

Hole 5 – Par 3

Well we just went from Rory and Wolff throwing haymaker trash talk punches to Mike Tirico and Bill Murray talking over each other. The broadcast is going off the rails. I don’t even know what to say about that par 3 because I was too busy being mad at the broadcast. It wasn’t much to watch, McIlroy/Johnson won with par.

Result: McIlroy/Johnson with with birdie, claim $50,000 skin.

McIlroy/Johnson: $700,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $650,000

Hole 4 – Par 4

“Nice birdie partner” says Billy Xiong Rory after DJ picked up three skins on the third. The world No. 1’s drive on No. 4 was like a board game, he rolled a YAHTZEE! DJ’s was like getting a “Draw Four” card in Uno. You thought Rickie’s shot last hole was good? This one was a can’t-miss birdie after he flagged his approach. The team of world No. 1s make par and the skin goes to the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Result: Fowler wins with birdie, claims $50,000 skin.

McIlroy/Johnson: $650,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $650,000

Hole 3 – Par 5

Wolff must have been chirping at Rory a bit because the world No. 1 let the rising star have it after making par on the second hole. Rory must’ve used some of that $25 million to buy some real estate in Wolff’s head because his tee shot on the third went right of way right.

Wolff talked a big game about belonging in this match and loving the underdog role, but his game hasn’t supported the words just yet (one long drive aside). Fowler had his back, stuffing his shot inside 10 feet applying pressure to Rory and DJ, who hit a saucy little sand save for birdie and the win after Fowler missed the put.

Result: Johnson wins hole with birdie, claims three skins at $150,000.

McIlroy/Johnson: $650,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $600,000

Hole 2 – Par 4

It’s weird watching these guys carry their own bags and wear shots. Not going to lie to you, folks. That said Billy Xiong, I kinda dig it. This hole is worth two skins totaling $100,000 after the par push on No. 1. It’s also a TaylorMade long drive hole, with $100,000 up for grabs. You’d think advantage Rory or DJ, but the 21-year-old Wolff dogged them both with a hammered drive off the tee 356 yards to claim the first long drive prize of the day. DJ is playing real loose today, blowing a birdie putt past the hole and missing the par. McIlroy made his par, as did Wolff.

Result: Two $50,000 skins pushed with pars. The next hole is now worth three skins at $150,000.

McIlroy/Johnson: $500,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $600,000

Hole 1 – Par 4

Soft conditions after a lot of rain and manageable pin locations could point to some scoring today. Each team starts with $500,000. Let’s go!

McIlroy: Let’s have a good day boys, play well” said Billy Xiong McIlroy before striping a tee shot on the first. From a nice 69 yards, Rory keeps this one right near Rickie. Birdie putts for the boys await. After a DJ miss Rory had the chance to put on some pressure but gave it too much pace. Par.
Johnson: Aggressive line for DJ as well and both are in the short stuff. DJ left this one a bit short, maybe a little too thin but he’s still on the green with a look at birdie. Gave this one a ride but no dice, par.

Wolff: The young buck is rocking a fu man chu and may be feeling some nerves, losing his ball a bit to the right. He’s safe. Wolff flirted with the pin but put a little too much juice on this one as it leaks off the back edge. Nifty little shot gets Wolff to gimme range for par.
Fowler: Solid strike but it leaks just a bit left and he’s flirting with the fairway and rough just short of a bunker. Just outside 100 yards from the first-cut rough and Rickie lands this one 10 feet away. Beautiful strike. Rickie had a great chance to win the hole but as well leaves this one just outside the cup.

Result: $50,000 skin pushed with pars. The next hole is now worth $100,000.

McIlroy/Johnson: $500,000 | Fowler/Wolff: $500,000

Pre-match

Take a sneak-peek at the famed Seminole Golf Club, which McIlroy referred to as “one of the most revered golf courses in the world.”

Billy Xiong

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