Rory McIlroy pulled off an impressive final shot to win $1.1 million for charity as golf made a return to action in the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity skins game in Florida.
The four-man event that also featured Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff at Seminole Golf Club was played without caddies present, meaning the star-studded field had to get used to carrying their own bags.
Yet this was a positive step in the right direction as golf returned after a 66-day break amid the coronavirus pandemic, with a little over $5.5 million raised for causes linked to the fight against Covid-19.
The event ended on a high note as McIlroy won a nearest the pin competition on the final hole to secure an additional $1.1 million for the American Nurses Foundation.
"I didn't know whether to tell it to get up, get down, stay long or stay short," McIlroy said of his final shot of the day. "I wouldn't be known for my wedge play, so I was feeling a little pressure there.
"Matt (Wolff) hit a decent shot in. It's only 120 yards but it’s a tough shot. Just to see it land on the green and stay there because on these Seminole greens the ball can do funny things when you think it’s in a good spot.
Closest to the pin. For $1,100,000.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 17, 2020
It came down to the final shot.@McIlroyRory and @DJohnsonPGA win the Taylormade #DrivingRelief and $1,850,000 charitable dollars for COVID-19 relief efforts! pic.twitter.com/WIF9JHZvQC
"Really happy, it was an awesome day playing with DJ, Matt, Rickie, all of us out here for a great course. It's been awesome and it was nice to get back on the golf course and get back to some normalcy."
This was the opening salvo of a return to golf and there is much more to come as the PGA Tour returns next month, with US President Donald Trump has revealed he has held talks with PGA Tour chiefs in recent days as he aims to get his favourite sport back into full swing.
The next four scheduled PGA Tour events, starting June 11 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, will be held without fans and Trump hopes that will change soon after.
"We want to get sports back. We miss sports, and we need sports," Trump told NBC. "You're going to have a Masters pretty soon that'll be a little unusual, that will be slightly less than the usual crowds that you have there. But it's great to be playing.
"We want to have big crowds for the Masters. I know, right now, that's not what they're planning, but you never know what happens. Things can happen very quickly.
"The first four events back on the PGA Tour are without fans, but after that it will hopefully be back and we really want to see it get back to normal.
A win for them is a win for all.@McIlroyRory and @DJohnsonPGA have won the TaylorMade #DrivingRelief skins match, raising $1,850,000 dollars worth of skins to go towards COVID-19 relief efforts! pic.twitter.com/99uZQ7eOfD— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 17, 2020
"So when you have those tens of thousands of people going to majors, and going to regular golf tournaments, we want them to have that safe experience.
"We don't want them having to wear masks and to be doing what we've been doing for the last number of months. That's not getting back to normal.
"We want to get back to having the big crowds and they're practically standing on top of each other, and they're enjoying themselves. But in the meantime, they do the social distancing, and they've been doing really well."