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McIlroy to headline made-for-TV charity golf match for Covid-19 relief

Rory McIlroy will headline a made-for-TV golf event on May 17 that will attempt to raise $4m for Covid-19 relief efforts.

The “TaylorMade Driving Relief” is scheduled to take place at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, and pit McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and rising star Matthew Wolff in a two-man team skins competition.

The fundraiser will give fans their first taste of competitive golf since the sport was shut down in March due to the health crisis. It comes ahead of “The Match: Champions for Charity”, which is scheduled to feature Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as well as legendary National Football League quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

The 18-hole event will take place from 2-6pm ET and be broadcast on NBC, The Golf Channel, NBCSN, and British broadcaster Sky Sports. Free streaming will be available on PGA Tour Live, GOLFTV, Golfpass and Golf Channel, while pre-match coverage as well as the first two holes of the event also be streamed on Twitter.

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.

The event will serve in part as a testing ground for the PGA Tour. 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. No spectators will be allowed.

The PGA Tour is planning to return to action in mid-June, with the initial four events in an ambitious revised schedule due to be played without spectators.

“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,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

UnitedHealth Group has pledged $3m in support of the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation, while Farmers Insurance has pledged an additional $1m to Off Their Plate, a charitable organization helping coronavirus healthcare workers and impacted frontline shift employees.

PGA Tour Charities will also 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.

McIlroy said in a statement: “I hope that we can provide some respite and entertainment for those tuning in across the globe.”

All four participants are endorsers of golf equipment company TaylorMade, the title sponsor.