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|TaylorMade Driving Relief Information
|TaylorMade Driving Relief
|Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, FL
|Sunday, 17 May 2020, 14:00 PM EST
|How to watch
|NBC, Golf Channel, NBCSN, Skysports; streamed on PGA Tour Live (NBC Sports Gold, Amazon Prime Video), GolfPass, GolfChannel.com
With the return of the PGA Tour not scheduled until June 11, golf fans are desperate for some live-action and they’ll get in on May 17 in the form of a special skins game at famed Seminole Golf Club in Florida.
The TaylorMade Driving Relief is a two-man 18-hole shootout, with Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson taking on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, the no-fan event – which will follow social distancing guidelines – aimed to raise funds and awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Skins golf, both teams compete to win each hole under a matchplay better-ball format. If no-one wins the hole outright, the value of the skin gets added to the skin for the next hole. The process continues until an individual hole is won.
|Rory McIlroy/Dustin Johnson
|Rickie Fowler/Matthew Wolff
Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
It’s pretty easy to see why McIlroy and DJ are hot favorites to win this one. The duo have five majors between them (Fowler and Wolff have zero) while, in terms of world rankings, it’s Nos. 1 & 5 vs Nos. 27 & 110.
In terms of this season before golf went into lockdown, their respective positions on the FedExCup season standings were: 3rd McIlroy (6 events played), 94th Fowler (6 events), 99th Wolff (10 events), 111th Johnson (4 events).
Rory McIlroy’s return to the top of the world rankings has been fuelled by a run of high-class consistency that doesn’t look like coming to an end anytime soon.
Since signing off the 2018/19 campaign with victory at the Tour Championship, he’s made the top five in every PGA Tour event he’s started – a run that extends to seven tournaments and includes a victory in the ZOZO Championship in Japan.
In addition, with the event taking place in the Sunshine State, it’s worth noting that Rory has won two of his last five starts in Florida, placing in the top six in two others. In other words, he’s comfortable on Bermuda grass. DJ has notable recent Florida form of 6-5-17-12.
But let’s also acknowledge the location form of Florida resident Rickie Fowler. Two of his five PGA Tour wins have come there (2015 Players Championship and 2017 Honda Classic) and he has four other top threes. Wolff’s career is just starting but he’s 2-for-2 in Florida this season.
While being acknowledged as one of the United States’ great courses, Seminole will be a mystery to most. Indeed, it’s the first time that TV cameras have been allowed there.
From the yardage book, we know it’s short at just 6,836 yards which could negate the big hitting of all four men. While McIlroy and Johnson are monster hitters, Fowler is no slouch and Wolff is ranked 21st in Driving Distance this season so really gets it out there.
But if not brute power, then what?
Ben Hogan used to practice endlessly at Seminole when prepping for The Masters and it’s most definitely a shotmaker’s course.
One another angle is that it’s been described by Ray Floyd as the most difficult layout from 150 yards and in. Looking at a relevant metric (PGA Tour: Approaches from 125-150 yards)] shows McIlroy ranked 8th, Johnson 28th, Fowler 127th and Wolff 230th.
A successful partnership can just be a case of two guys being happy in each other’s company so it’s worth noting that the McIlroy-DJ team hasn’t just been thrown together by TV companies; they get on great and had planned to play this season’s Zurich Classic (another team event) together.
It also bodes well for the two Ryder Cup stars that they’ve played well when paired together in PGA Tour events.
That’s happened on four occasions (twice at Riviera and twice at the WGC-Mexico) in the last 14 months with McIlroy shooting 67, 68, 68, 67, and Johnson 66, 72, 66, 66 – an average of 67.5 for both.
Fowler and Wolff – both Oklahoma State University men (they’ll be highly visible in orange) – haven’t been seen together in tournament play while the former has an overall losing record of 6-7-7 in team events (Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup). So does DJ, for that matter, (12-13-1) although McIlroy’s is strong (12-8-3).
WSN Pick: Take the favorites – there’s a fair argument that you blindly back the underdog in these types of events but Rory and DJ simply look too strong.
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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