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The head professional at Seminole Golf Club, scene of this month’s TaylorMade Driving Relief charity skins match, has hailed Rory McIlroy as the “king of the PGA Tour”.

Speaking to SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Bob Ford has lauded the Northern Irishman for his role in making the May 17 event happen and for helping to convince Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff to join him.

The $3m exhibition match will be screened live on Sky Sports in the UK and will see McIlroy and Johnson team-up to take on Fowler and Wolff. Money raised from the event will go towards the American Nurses Foundation and the CDC Foundation, two organisations that have played a frontline role in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

However, according to Ford, the tournament couldn’t have happened without the support of McIlroy.

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“Right now, he’s our Arnold Palmer,” said Ford. “He’s our Tiger Woods. He’s the king of the PGA Tour and the world tour for that matter. He’s the No.1 draw and the No.1 player but he also does all the right things. He ticks all the boxes.

“But he’s not doing this just to ‘do the right thing’. He believes in this. He knows what a crisis it is and he’s stepping up. He’s been a big player in getting the other guys to play. Everybody’s bored out of their minds and haven’t played much golf, so they’ll be a little rusty but I expect a good show from these guys.”

The event will follow all guidelines, executive orders and mandates issued by the state of Florida, Palm Beach County and the city of Juno Beach.

It will also be the first live golf to be shown on TV in the UK since the opening round of the abandoned PLAYERS Championship on March 12.

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“It’s been difficult to witness what so many are enduring over the last several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said McIlroy. “I’m excited and thankful to TaylorMade and UnitedHealth Group for making this event possible and providing us with the opportunity to show our support of those on the frontlines.

“I hope that we can provide some respite and entertainment for those tuning in across the globe. Dustin and I will have a lot of fun together and our games will fit well as we push to raise funds and awareness on May 17.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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