LEN ZIEHM at PGA Village in Port St. Luice Florida (L), and member of the 2019 Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, adds his thoughts to Golfersongolf.com on a return of live golf to TV. _____________________________________________________________________
BY LEN ZIEHM-A special to Golfers on Golf…..
IT WON’T BE LONG NOW. Live television sports competition is about to return, and golf is leading the way. While tentative tournament schedules were drawn up months ago, now there’s something concrete and-as a purely personal perk-the first two events will be conducted almost in my backyard.
A four player charity skins game put on by equipment manufacturer TaylorMade will kick things off on Sunday. It’ll have three of the games top stars-Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler-participating along with a promising up-and-comer, Matt Wolff.
They’ll play at the Seminole Golf Club a famous course in Juno Beach that has never been on television. McIlroy and Johnson will take on Fowler and Wolff, both Oklahoma State alums, in a four hour telecast that will be played without spectators. It’ll raise at least $4 million for Covid-19 relief efforts.
Not only that, but the event-called the TaylorMade Driving Relief-will provide the first look at what tournament golf will be like in the “new normal.” The players won’t have caddies. They’ll be carrying their own bags, practicing social distancing and adhering to a variety of new policies designed to make golf safe in these trying times.
“We have a big responsibility on ourselves to make sure that we practice all the guidelines that the PGA Tour is going to set in place,” said Johnson. “Obviously everyone is going to be watching what we’re doing, so it’s very important to do this correctly.”
“It’s really cool to bring some live sports back,” said Fowler. “Everyone is taking the right measures to make sure it’s being done the correct way.”
NEXT WEEK the first major tour event since the pandemic concerns kicked in will tee off. The Korean LPGA Championship will have three members of the world’s top 10-all Korean players-among those competing for a $1.8 million dollar purse. There won’t be any American players or TV coverage for that one, but on May 24 another televised event will put the spotlight back on South Florida.
“The Match: Champions for Charity,” another four-player televised event featuring Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, will be played at the Medalist Club in Hobe Sound, which is just 18 miles from Seminole. “This will be more of a fun thing, with legendary quarterbacks rounding out the foursome. Woods will team with Peyton Manning and Mickelson with Tom Brady.
There’s some interesting, off course sidelight to this one, which also won’t have spectators. Mickelson is in the process of establishing a residence in South Florida and is joining Michael Jordan’s new club, Grove XXIII, which is also in Kobe Sound. Brady who signed with a new team-the Tampa Bay Buccaneers- in footballs off-season, recently became a member at Seminole.-LZ.