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Rory McIlroy's final shot in a closest-to-the-pin playoff caps big day at Seminole for COVID-19 relief efforts

Tom D'Angelo, The Palm Beach Post on

Published in Golf

Golf returned Sunday for the first time in more than two months with the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity skins match and from the start, everything was different.

Four players in shorts. All carrying their own bags. Wide-open unobstructed views of plush fairways, sand dunes, palm trees and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. No spectators. No caddies. Players spying the hole through rangefinders. No handling of the flagsticks. No one shouting, "Get in the hole."

And, some trash talk.

"I think you forget I've won two FedEx Cups that totaled $25 million," said McIlroy, ranked No. 1 in the world, schooling the 21-year-old Wolff after paring the second hole.

The first live golf in 66 days, or since the first round of The Players Championship in March, took place Sunday in Juno Beach and all for a good cause. More than $5.5 million was raised to help COVID-19 relief efforts as the match came down to a closest-to-the-pin playoff on a shortened 17th hole.

With six skins and $1.1 million on the line, the teams halved the 18th hole. They moved to No. 17 and set up 120 yards from the pin.

 

Wolff was the only one on the green when Jupiter's McIlroy, hitting last, addressed his ball. As the ball was in flight, McIlroy wasn't quite sure where it was headed, saying he didn't know whether to tell it to "get going, stay long, stay short.

"I wouldn't be known for my wedge play. Still a little pressure there. It's only 120 yards but it's a tough shot. Just to see it land on the green and stay there. These Seminole greens, the ball can do funny things when you think it's in a good spot."

Even when the ball settled, McIlroy wasn't sure who was closer. He raised his arms. Then brought them down. He looked around and said, "you think?" Finally, getting the final word, he pumped his fist and let out a shriek.

In the end, the big winners were the charities. But bragging rights went to McIlroy and Johnson, representing the American Nurses Foundation and winning 11 skins worth $1.85 million, compared to the seven skins for $1.15 million that went to Jupiter residents Fowler and Wolff of the CDC Foundation Team.

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