Up front, I enjoyed passing some COVID-19 time watching Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in the TaylorMade Driving Relief Skins Game Sunday.
It wasn’t the Masters, but it wasn’t bad either.
And golf, showing it can be managed with social distancing in mind, passed the test, too.
I liked the air high-five. I liked that everybody on the grounds was checked out before the show commenced. I liked the on-course interviews with distancing mentioned often. That just needs to the case right now. If you have a problem with the personal freedoms thing, hang in there. In my mind, this was as simple as asking somebody to put on a seat belt.
We can’t fully escape the real world back into golf just yet, but we are getting closer.
GOLF DRIVES FUNDRAISING WONDERFULLY
I found some things I enjoyed:
It raised $5.528 million for relief for those on the front lines of this pandemic. That’s a lot of money, and golf showed once again that it is good at raising money and helping charity. When we get golf outings back and you feel safe in groups again, support your local charity outings. They do great things. As for Sunday, the team of McIlroy/Johnson finished with $1.85 million in skins for the American Nurses Foundation, while the Fowler/Wolff team, which led most of the match, won $1.15 million for CDC Foundation.
McIlroy was the star of the show in all ways to the last shot – playing, talking and in his motivation for being part of it. He offered perspective. He was humble. He clearly is most comfortable when he is playing golf. And his talent is incredible.
All four golfers were rusty, but they can still beat all of us on our best days by like 20 shots. They crush the golf ball. TaylorMade had its long-ball guys out there to sell more drivers, no doubt. They did great things for charity, but those were TaylorMade clubs smashing the balls to oblivion.
I saw on Twitter a top of the swing position photo of each of the four, and all were remarkably different. So much for those folks who think these great players are all the same. That is not the case. Wolff’s chicken wing swing looks like something from the Monday Night Golf League, or the swing of my buddy Grincz. Nobody in the Monday League and not even Grincz can melt the golf ball like that guy though. It proves once again, it’s not so much the way it looks, but the results.
DONALD ROSS: THEY DID WHAT?
When the group played No. 16 at Seminole, which is a classic par 4 on one of the best designs ever by legend Donald Ross, three of them (D.J., Rory and Wolff) launched driver over the incredible sand area and trees toward the green complex. I thought: Ross never designed this thinking one day three players in a foursome would take on the green on this hole. In his time, he couldn’t have imagined the golf club and ball technology the game wrestles with these days, or the size and strength of these players.
DJ is not used to toting his own bag, or at least the one he had with him. It had two straps, but sometimes he was using just one. He just seemed awkward with it, and sort of funny. I’m thinking he didn’t start in the game as a caddie. He has played most of his golf with a caddie or cart. I really wanted to help him out. Here, DJ, stay six feet away, I’ll put some gloves on and carry the bag for you. Driver, wedge, putter. That’s your game. I’ll toss them to you.
I’m sure people will push back on the event for various reasons. That’s what we do. We argue about everything these days.
I enjoyed it though. It raised a lot of money for people who really need it. They also should let the guys wear shorts on the PGA Tour. And with a Forrest Gump closing, that’s all I have to say about that.
Photo from Golf Digest Twitter account