Golf is primed to make its much-anticipated return to the calendar on Sunday when four of the sport’s biggest current stars will go head-to-head in the TaylorMade Driving Relief skins match.
Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy will team up to face Rickie Fowler and rising star Matthew Wolff in a four-ball skins game, with all money generated by the event going to charities chosen by the players.
McIlroy and Johnson are understandably the favorites given the former is current world No. 1 while his partner has previously held that title. Fowler’s highest world ranking was reaching No. 4 in January 2016, and he’ll be banking on the talents of 21-year-old prospect Wolff to aid their chances.
2020 Driving Relief Skins Golf Details:
Date: Sunday, May 18
Venue: Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, Florida
Start Time: 2 p.m. ET
USA TV Info: NBC, Golf Channel, NBCSN, Sky Sports
Prediction: Johnson/McIlroy to beat Fowler/Wolff.
Wolff has built a greater following since winning the 3M Open in July 2019—his sole PGA Tour win to date—but the all-star team of Johnson and McIlroy looks leagues ahead by comparison.
One factor that could aid the youngster, however, is the fact he’ll be slightly more accustomed to carrying his own bags than the other stars in attendance, one of the required changes due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, per ESPN’s Michael Collins:
NO CADDIES… NO CARTS!?! Rory McIlroy/Dustin Johnson vs. Rickie Fowler/Matt Wolff will carry their own golf bags during the televised skins match Sunday at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, FL. https://t.co/trTYzlDQEz— Michael Collins (@ESPNCaddie) May 14, 2020
McIlroy and Johnson boast some of the strongest driving games in golf over the last few years, but neither Fowler nor Wolff are small threats in that area. As such, Fowler has said he expects much of the focus to fall around who’s putting is best on the day, (via Forbes):
“Obviously you look at it on paper and Rory and DJ are nothing short of impressive. But we have a lot of these two-on-two games at home, whether it’s during this time or weeks off throughout the year, and any given day, I think you see it, as well, out on TOUR, the depth of golf over the last few years and even past that, on any given day it’s such a fine line.
“We’ll take the underdog spot, but when that day comes, basically it’s a toss-up on who has got the hot putter. It could be just a battle throughout the day.”
Each of the holes at Seminole Golf Club in Florida is worth a predetermined amount. The lowest score on any given hole will win the amount for that player’s team, while each pair will also start with $500,000 in reserve to bet as they see fit.
The skins value for each hole is as follows:
- Holes 1-6 are worth $50,000.
- Holes 7-15 are worth $100,000
- Hole 17 is worth $200,000
- Hole 18 is worth $500,000.
Players will also be rewarded for recording low scores as birdies are worth an extra $25,000, eagles yield $50,000 and double eagles (or holes in one) worth $150,000.
Johnson and McIlroy are predicted to win with the bookmakers and carry a -225 (1.44) price with William Hill for New Jersey customers, who lists the team of Fowler and Wolff as underdogs at +165 (2.65).
A lower-pressure environment should coax strong performances out of each star in their return to the course, but it’s difficult to see past Johnson and McIlroy when comparing the two pairs.
2020 Driving Relief Skins Golf Results Prediction:
Johnson/McIlroy to beat Fowler/Wolff.