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Golf returns in charitable fashion during the TaylorMade Skins game

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On Sunday afternoon, in the first instance of professional golf, since the season was halted, four of the PGA Tour’s best players gathered together at Seminole Hills Golf Club in Juno Beach, FL to participate in the TaylorMade Driving Relief Charity Skins game to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts. For those who aren’t aware, a Skins game was an unofficial money game held by four individuals on the PGA Tour to win individual holes, or “skins”, in a match-play format. Essentially, if your score was lower than your opponents, you’d win the “skin” and the money associated with it.

The two teams consisted of:

  • Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff
  • Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy

In a callback to their amateur days, all four players carried their own bags across the course, and the flagstick was only allowed to be held by PGA Tour president Jay Monahan.

Each team started the game with $500,000 for charity (McIlroy/Johnson were playing for the American Nurses Foundation while Fowler/Wolff played for the CDC Foundation) with chances to earn an extra $50,000 per hole and $100,000 if the hole was part of the “TaylorMade Longest Drive” competition. Farmer’s Insurance also had a special “Birdie/Eagle” pool where any birdies were worth $25,000 and eagles worth $100,000 to charity.

Below is a recap of each hole:

 

Hole #1- (Worth $50,000 and 1 Skin)

A coin toss was used to determine who would start the skins match off. Fowler and Wolff called heads, but the coin showed tails, giving Johnson and McIlroy the honors. Off the tee, it appeared as though McIlroy and Johnson had the advantage, but on his second shot, Fowler approached the green to just under 10 feet. While Johnson and Wolff both found bunkers with their second shots, McIlroy played his like Fowler’s and ended up close to the pin. However, both Fowler and McIlroy would miss their ensuing birdie putts.

Result: Tie

Hole #2- 480 yards (Worth $50,000 and 1 Skin; $100,000 for Longest Drive)

On the second hole, Wolff earned $100,000 for the longest drive, sending his first shot a whopping 356 yards (carry included). Fowler’s third shot from the green bunker barely landed on the green, while McIlroy’s third from the same bunker almost succeeded in an up-and-down, leading to a successful putt for par. Meanwhile, their teammates, who were already on the green, attempted to sink a birdie putt and give their team the lead. Johnson’s first two putts failed to sink, leading to a three-putt for bogey. Wolff’s putt was more of the same, also failing to sink. Both teams ended the second hole the same way as the first hole: tied.

Result: Tie; Wolff earns $100,000 for CDC Foundation for longest drive (356 yards)

Hole #3- 555 yards (worth $150,000 and 3 skins)

McIlroy’s tee shot was perfect, driving right into the fairway. Johnson was next, and his drive went left to right and landed in a beautiful location. Fowler’s drive didn’t get quite enough juice, and he landed in the sand. Wolff finalized the drives with a shot that landed in the sugar sand to the right of the tee box. From 255 yards away, McIlroy’s second shot landed in the bunker just short of the green but prevented a shot from the dunes. Fowler’s second from the bunker was crisp and landed right in the fairway. Johnson’s second was overcut, and he landed in the sand bunker on the far side of the green. Wolff’s shot from the dune didn’t travel too far, and his third shot was required to escape its clutches. Fowler’s third shot from 72 yards away landed perfectly on the green, setting up a birdie opportunity. McIlroy’s third shot from his bunker had a little extra power but did land on the green. Johnson’s third from the far bunker had a perfect spin and landed just a few feet shy of the cup, leading to a birdie. Wolff’s par putt. McIlroy’s birdie putt was unsuccessful, missing out on a $25,000 charity bonus, and Fowler’s putt to tie the hole just lipped out of the left side.

Result: Johnson/McIlroy win $150,000 and 3 skins; Johnson’s birdie earned $25,000 for Farmer’s Pool

Hole #4- 495 yards (Worth $50,000 and 1 skin)

McIlroy led off with a shot that traveled right to left and landed smack dab in the fairway. Johnson’s tee shot stayed true, leading to the ball landing in the fairway bunker. Wolff’s tee shot also stayed straight, but unlike Johnson’s landed right in the fairway. Fowler was last in the box, and his tee shot had a baby draw that ended with the best lie of the foursome. Johnson’s second from a bad lie in the bunker landed just short of the green. Fowler’s second shot from 172 yards away was arguably a thing of beauty, almost converting for an eagle. Wolff’s second shot landed just left of the hole, and McIlroy’s second shot from 153 yards landed about 15 feet behind the hole. Johnson’s third shot just missed from the fringe, which led to an opportunity for par. McIlroy was first for putting by virtue of length to the cup, and his attempt broke too much, leading to par for his team. Meanwhile, Wolff’s birdie putt just missed right, leaving Fowler to convert and win the hole for his team.

Result: Fowler/Wolff win $50,000 and 1 skin; Fowler’s birdie earned $25,000 for Farmer’s Pool

Hole #5- 205 yards (Worth $50,000 and 1 skin)

Wolff’s tee shot from the first par-3 of the course landed in the middle of the two bunkers on the right of the green. Fowler’s shot wasn’t much better, landing in the bunker to the left of the green. McIlroy’s tee shot was long but just avoided landing in the far bunker. However, the same could not be said of his partner Johnson, who did land in the aforementioned bunker. Wolff’s second shot was short but ended just inside the green, while Fowler’s bunker shot landed just a few feet shy of the cup. Johnson’s bunker shot was more of the same as Fowler’s, also landing just short of the cup, while McIlroy’s second saw him use his putter and scoot the ball right of the cup. Wolff’s par putt did not sink, and his partner Fowler wasn’t much better, leading to Johson and McIlroy picking up another skin.

Result: McIlroy/Johnson win $50,000 and 1 skin

Hole #6- 390 yards (Worth $50,000 and 1 Skin)

Johnson’s tee shot looked good but just missed the fairway, landing in the sand. McIlroy’s tee shot landed left of the fairway bunker, but also near the tee box of the fourth hole. Wolff’s tee shot landed right in some trees, and Fowler’s tee shot was perfectly in the middle of the fairway. Fowler’s second shot from 136 yards stayed low, leading to an uphill putt for birdie. Johnson’s second shot from 130 also went right but landed a smidge better than Fowler. Wolff’s second from 123 yards out was lofted but had a little too much power, landing over the green. McIlroy’s second from 93 yards away appeared to be deliberate later as his shot landed just in front of the cup. Wolff used his putter for his third and also had a little extra power, going left of the cup. Fowler also failed to earn a birdie here but settled for par, leading to two opportunities for McIlroy and Johnson to secure another skin. While Johnson failed, McIlroy succeeded, earning the hole for his team.

Result: McIlroy/Jonhson win $50,000 and 1 skin; McIlroy’s birdie earned $25,000 for the pool

Hole #7- 430 yards (Worth $100,000 and 1 Skin)

On the first hole with a special amount of money available for their respective teams, McIlroy’s and Johnson’s tee shots had high fades but landed in the fairway. That said, Johnson didn’t have enough luck with his shot, just barely taking a drink. Fowler’s tee shot stayed straight, landing in the fairway, and Wolff’s shot pulled up the left side of the fairway, landing smack dab in the middle. From 110 yards out, Wolff’s second landed roughly 10 feet away from the cup, and Johnson’s third shot landed roughly in the same location as Wolff. McIlroy’s and Fowler’s second shots also landed on the green, giving Team Johson/McIlroy one chance to prevent Team Fowler/Wolff from converting and earning the special amount. Wolff’s birdie attempt broke left late, leaving Fowler as the last chance for his team like McIlroy. Spoiler alert: both converted. Another hole tied.

Result: Tie; both teams converting birdies earned $50,000 for the pool

Hole #8- 237 yards (Worth $200,000 and 2 Skins)

The second par-3 on the front nine, McIlroy’s tee shot landed on the left side of the green with a lengthy putt for birdie. Johnson’s tee shot was more of the same, adding a baby draw in his shot. Wolff’s shot was smoked and pulled with the wind, landing in the same location as the other two, and Fowler’s shot started left and ended left, completely off the green. His second shot landed on the green, setting up a long putt for par. McIlroy’s birdie putt broke early, ending a streak of three straight one-putts but setting up an easy par conversion. Johnson’s birdie attempt also failed to convert, and he settled for par, leaving Wolff to potentially win the hole for his team with a putt almost the same length as McIlroy’s was. However, he didn’t give it enough power, and another hole tied between the two teams.

Result: Tie

Hole #9- 545 yards (Worth $300,000 and 3 Skins)

On the second par-5 and final hole of the front nine, McIlroy’s tee shot landed in a fairway bunker on the left side, and Johnson’s drive landed in a better position, right in the middle of the fairway. Wolff’s drive, however, landed right in the second cut of rough, and his teammate Fowler landed his drive in a perfect location of the fairway. Wolff’s second shot from just outside 272 yards landed in a bunker just on the right side of the green. Fowler’s second shot had better luck, landing on the green and setting up an opportunity for eagle. McIlroy’s second from the bunker carried long enough to land just on the green and a two-putt opportunity at minimum, while Johnson sent his second shot over the green. Wolff’s third shot landed perfectly on the green to set up a birdie opportunity, while McIlroy’s third from just on the fringe didn’t have enough power. Johnson’s third shot, a chip, had a little extra power and didn’t sit in a favorable location, leading to a two-putt for par. Fowler’s eagle attempt had enough power but failed to read the green effectively, leading to a birdie opportunity. McIlroy’s birdie putt just missed left, and he settled for par. That combination effectively led to Fowler’s birdie putt, converting a huge amount for their team.

Result: Team Fowler/Wolff wins $300,000 and 3 skins; both Fowler and Wolff birdied, earning $50,000 to the pool

Front Nine Results: Team Johnson/McIlroy ($750,000 and 5 Skins); Team Fowler/Wolff ($850,000 and 4 Skins)

Hole #10- 425 yards (Worth $100,000 and 1 Skin)

The back nine began with Wolff using his long iron to send his tee shot on the left side of the fairway. As for Fowler, his tee shot landed in roughly the same location as his teammate. McIlroy’s tee shot was much of the same, and so was Johnson, setting up four approach wedge shots for the competitors. From 177 yards out, McIlroy’s second shot looked like it was going to end up in the water but barely stayed up, setting up a birdie chip. Fowler’s second shot, however, was perfect and landed just short of the cup. Wolff’s second shot had a little more aggressiveness but also set him up for birdie. Johnson was so perfect, he didn’t have to look. McIlroy’s chip shot was in a deep rough, leaving Johnson as the final piece for their team. Wolff’s birdie putt failed to drop, allowing Johnson a chance to sink a birdie, which also failed. That left Fowler as the last chance to keep momentum, but he failed as well.

Result: Tie

Hole #11- 465 yards (Worth $200,000 and 2 Skins)

Wolff led off the proceedings on the 11th hole, sending his drive into the sugar sand right of the fairway. Fowler’s drive, however, fared better, staying true down the middle of the fairway. Johnson’s drive went right but landed in the water, and McIlroy’s tee shot was just as pristine as Fowler’s. Wolff’s second shot from the dune was very impressive as he managed to just barely make the green. Fowler’s second was much of the same, staying straight on approach to the green. Meanwhile, McIlroy’s second, from 132 yards, also made the green. On the green, Wolff’s birdie putt fell off to the left of the cup, and McIlroy’s birdie attempt broke just a hair early; had it not, it would’ve sunk. That left Fowler with the final birdie opportunity and to keep the momentum, and he converted.

Result: Team Fowler/Wolff wins $200,000 and 2 skins; Fowler’s birdie earned $25,000 for the pool

Hole #12- 370 yards (Worth $100,000 and 1 Skin)

Wolff had the honor of teeing off first for his team, and his shot stayed right but in excellent fashion, landing in the fairway. His teammate Fowler had a bit of a low fade but also landed in the fairway. Their opponents, Johnson and McIlroy, had the same level of success, guaranteeing every competitor landed within 80 yards of the green. Fowler’s second shot had a hint of backspin and rested perfectly next to the cup, while Johnson’s took a hop right to the hole and fell backward. From 68 yards out, Wolff sent his right of the cup but still on the green, and McIlroy’s second landed in roughly the same length as Fowler’s. Johnson’s birdie putt was pushed right, and Wolff’s just missed as well, leaving their teammates as the last chance to either win or draw this hole. While McIlroy’s putt lipped out, Fowler converted for the second straight hole and third in the last four.

Result: Team Fowler/Wolff wins $100,000 and 1 skin; Fowler’s birdie earned $25,000 for the pool

Hole #13- 155 yards (Worth $100,000 and 1 Skin)

The first par-3 of the back nine saw Wolff swing first for his team and barely land on the fringe left of the green but above the bunker. Fowler’s shot, however, missed the green and landed in the middle of the bunker on the far side of the green. McIlroy’s shot had a bit of a fade but landed in a great location to save par, and Johnson’s shot went left like Wolff’s but landed in the bunker. Fowler’s second shot from the bunker landed on the green, and Johnson’s was much of the same. McIlroy’s second, a tough decision, saw him attempt to convert a putt for birdie but was unsuccessful. Wolff’s birdie putt to win for his team failed to drop, allowing McIlroy to convert for par and tie the hole.

Result: Tie

Hole #14- 510 yards (Worth $200,000 and 2 Skins); TaylorMade Long Drive: $350,000

The first of two back-to-back par-5s saw Fowler and Wolff go first by virtue of previous advantages. The first drive, which was completed by Wolff, was absolutely demolished and landed in the fairway, while his partner Fowler’s drive swung right and barely missed the target area. Meanwhile, McIlroy’s drive landed in the fairway, and Johnson’s drive was hit well but pulled and landed just left of the water. For his second shot at 207 yards out, McIlroy went aggressive at the green and was successful, and while his partner Johnson was from 191 yards out, his shot stayed right and just rolled off the green. Fowler’s second shot from 202 yards away saw him use a 5-iron but land just off the green and above the bunker, while Wolff’s second landed roughly in the same location as McIlroy. Fowler’s third shot was a short chip to land on the green, and he was almost successful in converting for eagle. The same result was said for Johnson, who landed a smidge closer with his chip. However, McIlroy’s eagle attempt was just a little too powerful and failed to break, leaving Wolff one chance to convert an eagle and win the hole. Unfortunately, his broke right just early, and both teams would convert at least one birdie opportunity.

Result: Tie; Wolff wins Long Drive and $350,000; all four competitor’s birdies earned a $100,000 addition to the pool

Hole #15- 555 yards (Worth $300,000 and 3 Skins)

Continuing a trend, Wolff led for his team at the par-5 15th and hit an absolute beauty, landing right in the middle of the fairway. Fowler’s tee shot was also long but landed just in between two left fairway bunkers. McIlroy’s tee shot stayed straight throughout and landed in the fairway. Johnson’s shot was rocketed into the water, ending his run on this hole. Fowler’s second shot, also using his driver, sailed straight and landed just short of the green. From 263 yards out, McIlroy’s second shot went left and landed in the bunker by the green. Wolff’s second shot climbed and rested on the bunker, leaving him to have to up-and-down. For his third shot, Fowler attempted to chip onto the green for a better birdie attempt and succeeded with a great lie. From his bunker, McIlroy’s sand shot had better success, albeit from a closer location than Wolff’s. Wolff then attempted to convert a long birdie opportunity and came within inches of succeeding, but had to settle for par. Fowler then attempted to convert his birdie, but it broke right just shy of the cup, allowing McIlroy the opportunity to win the hole for his team. But for the second time today, McIlroy’s putt would lip out, and he was forced to settle for par.

Result: Tie

Hole #16- 410 yards (Worth $400,000 and 4 Skins)

On his drive, Wolff hit a beautiful shot and landed in a bunker just off the side of the green. His teammate Fowler, however, opted for a safer shot and used his iron to land in the fairway. McIlroy and Johnson both attempted to duplicate Wolff’s aggressiveness, and while McIlroy also landed in a bunker, Johnson had a much better lie. Fowler’s second shot from the fairway was just as smart as the initial drive, landing a few feet shy of the cup. Johnson did much of the same, also making it onto the green but from a longer distance than Fowler. McIlroy’s bunker shot was a thing of beauty, just barely missing out for an up-down but guaranteeing a birdie. Wolff’s second from his bunker was just like McIlroy’s but didn’t nearly come as close to sinking. Johnson’s birdie attempt was unsuccessful, giving Fowler and Wolff two chances to tie the hole. Wolff converted to guarantee another hole was tied while Fowler added another for good measure.

Result: Tie; Wolff’s, Fowler’s and McIlroy’s birdies added an extra $75,000 to the Farmer’s Insurance pool

Hole #17- 177 yards (Worth $600,000 and 5 Skins)

The famous 17th hole at Seminole Hills lived up to its name, especially with what was at stake. Wolff’s tee shot looked good but long and ended in a bunker, while Fowler’s shot had better success. Johnson’s tee shot was short but stayed on the green, while McIlroy’s approach faded into the same bunker as Wolff. For good measure, both players succeeded in escaping the bunker. Johnson’s putt for birdie was mainly an approach putt to save par, leaving Fowler a chance to essentially seal the victory for his team. However, he just barely missed it.

Result: Tie

Hole #18- 445 yards (Worth $1,100,000 and 6 Skins)

The final hole came down to a winner-take-all with many ramifications. Either Wolff and Fowler were winning by their earlier success, or McIlroy and Johnson would complete an incredible comeback. Wolff’s tee shot wasn’t the greatest, landing in a left fairway bunker. That said, Fowler’s drive was more successful, landing on the fairway. McIlroy’s drive had a nice little draw and also landed in a great fairway location, while Johnson’s drive landed in roughly the same location as Fowler’s. Speaking of Fowler, his second shot from 180 yards out looked great at first but ended up in the bunker right of the green. Wolff’s second shot from his bunker landed on the green but almost guaranteed a par for their team. Johnson’s second shot was a thing of beauty, landing a few feet short of the cup and setting up a great birdie opportunity. McIlroy opted for a cut swing from 151 yards out, also succeeding in landing on the green. From the bunker, Fowler’s shot had too much power, while Wolff’s birdie shot ended just short of the cup, setting up two huge chances for Johnson and McIlroy. Unfortunately, both couldn’t convert.

Result: Tie

Second Nine Results: Team Johnson/McIlroy ($750,000 and 5 Skins); Team Fowler/Wolff ($1,150,000 and 7 Skins)

By virtue of the 18th and final hole ending in a tie, an extra hole needed to be contested in a closest-to-the-pin format,. The players teed up from 120 yards out at the 17th hole. In this playoff, Wolff’s shot landed in a beautiful position, giving his team an early advantage. Fowler’s shot, however, sailed right into the sand. Johnson’s shot landed in the bunker, leaving McIlroy as the last chance. In a clutch moment worthy of a champion, McIlroy’s shot proved why he’s ranked #1 in the world, just barely edging out Wolff and the over 1 million dollars for their charity that came with it.

Final Results: Team Johnson/McIlroy ($1,850,000 and 11 Skins) def. Team Fowler/Wolff ($1,150,000 and 7 Skins)

 

 

 

 

Joe Carlino
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