Televised golf will make its return on Sunday as the PGA Tour, TaylorMade and NBC have partnered to host a team skins match at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida for charity. Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson will team up to face Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a matchup of four of TaylorMade’s top athletes. The event will air on NBC from 2-6 p.m. ET.
Golf has been the rare sport that has continued on – to some degree – in the United States as it can conform to social distancing rules since it’s played outside without much human interaction. Mini tours in Arizona and Florida have been drawing some professional golfers for weeks now, and the ongoing Scottsdale Open has the most impressive field yet with a dozen recognizable names in the field.
With just four players in this skins match, officials determined they could produce an event for television that easily obeys social distancing. Some have reported this event will work as a warmup in some ways for the PGA Tour’s planned return on June 11 in Fort Worth, Texas.
How it will work
A team skins match sees all four players play their own ball and taking the best score from the team on the hole. If a team wins the hole, it wins the money pool for that hole. For this match, different holes have different money totals allocated with more money set for holes later in the round. If the hole is split, the money carries over in addition to the next hole. Holes 1-6 will be worth $50,000 each, holes 7-16 will be worth $100,000 each, the 17th hole will be worth $200,000 and the 18th will be worth $500,000. McIlroy and Johnson will be donating their money won to the American Nurses Foundation while Fowler and Wolff are playing for the CDC Foundation. There will also be bonuses for birdies, eagles and long drive contests.
Sports bettors and sportsbooks will likely be very active during the match – as there’s expected to be plenty of eyes on a live sporting event with some of golf’s biggest names playing.
FanDuel Sportsbook currently has McIlroy and Johnson as -240 favorites, while Fowler and Wolff are +180 to come out on top. This comes as no surprise with McIlroy being ranked first in the world and Johnson sitting closely behind at fifth.
Fowler, meanwhile, has fallen all the way to 27th in the world while adjusting to a swing change. Wolff is ranked 110th in the world at just 21 years old and one of golf’s brightest young stars. But he’s struggled in 2020 with one top 20 in seven events after winning the 3M Open in incredible fashion last season. FanDuel already has odds for the first hole up, and they’ll likely have live odds for each hole as the match is played.
Seminole Golf Club is one of the most private courses in the country, and it’ll see its first ever action on television Sunday despite being one of the top ranked courses in the world since Donald Ross designed it in 1929.
It’s a shorter, trickier course than most PGA Tour players see week-to-week, which will likely neutralize some of McIlroy and Johnson’s power off the tee. With raised, firm greens and severe run-offs into deep bunkers, precision on approaches and short games will be key.
Fowler sets up the best of these four on this style of course, while Wolff has struggled heavily around the greens this year.
Though Fowler could make this closer than expected, McIlroy and Johnson are too strong to bet against with Wolff as his partner. If props come up with individual bets like “most birdies” or “lowest score,” Fowler should be a nice wager with higher odds than McIlroy and Johnson.