Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson won the playoff shootout for a whopping six skins worth $1.1 million to claim the TaylorMade Driving Relief honours, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
A total over of $5.5 million was raised but it was the team of McIlroy and Johnson that took the bragging rights beating Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff $1.85m to $1.15m.
The match was played in good spirits with the focus on raising funds to aid Covid-19 relief efforts as the world got to see the wind-swept Seminole Golf Club broadcast for the first time. The reigning world No 1 McIlroy carried his partner, a former world No 1 himself, in early action as the big-hitting Johnson struggled to find his best stuff.
In some early action Wolff outdrove both players to add some funds to his team’s cause. A feat he would repeat later as he enjoyed mixing with the best players on the planet.
During the middle of the contest McIlroy was unable to stop a red-hot Fowler, who found his A game and entertained with a splendid array of wedge play to complement his electric putter stroke.
Fowler’s charge put his side in front but they were unable to land the knockout blow. Wolff got up and down from the 16th greenside bunker to halve the hole and then Fowler missed a lengthy birdie to try to end the contest on the 17th. McIlroy held his nerve at the same hole to send the four players down the last with $1.1 million on the line.
Wolff produced a fine lag putt that nearly dropped on the last but was able to breath a sigh of relief as first the planet’s best missed and then Johnson, who suffered with a number of pushed putts, stepped up saying, ‘I’m going to roll this one in’ but saw his ball slide by on the low side.
The halved hole sent the two sides back to the treacherous 17th for a nearest to the pin contest from 120 yards.
‘Rise to the occasion,’ Fowler said to his junior partner. ‘Show me something.’
Wolff produced a solid effort as Fowler and Johnson missed the green.
That left McIlroy, who admitted walking down the last that playing with his chosen charity’s tally on the line weighed on him, with the final say.
He flirted with disaster but his wedge into the green ultimately awarded the win.
Golf’s return to TV despite the ongoing pandemic was successful, with charity the outstanding winner at the end of the afternoon.
Next week, golf heads to Medalist Golf Club when Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning face Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in The Match: Champions for Charity.