Live golf returned to television today with pros Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff squaring off in a Covid-19 charity event in Florida.
Due to the pandemic and strict guidelines, there were no caddies with the players carrying their own bags for the TaylorMade Driving Relief event while a rules official was the only person to handle the flagstick.
The event is the first live action golf on TV since the opening round of The Players Championship on March 12 and many golf fans were happy to see the sport return.
That was until host broadcaster NBC interviewed US President Donald Trump during the round, who has been widely panned for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis. More than 89,000 deaths have been confirmed across the US.
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"This is the beginning of live events. We want to get sports back. We miss sports. We need sports in terms of the psyche of our country. That's what we're doing. We're getting it back," Trump said in an interview with host Mike Tirico.
But seemed many had already tuned out.
The relevant outcome of today's event is money for coronavirus relief. UnitedHealth Group is pledging US$3 million. McIlroy and Johnson's "earnings" go to the American Nurses Foundation. Fowler and Wolff are playing for the CDC Foundation. Farmers Insurance is pledging US$1 million toward birdies and eagles that goes to healthcare workers, and PGA Tour Charities has an online donation program during the telecast.
The PGA Tour has had 10 tournaments canceled or postponed since the last one completed, the Arnold Palmer Invitational.