European Tour already planning a UK Swing in 2021 schedule

The UK Swing will again feature on the European Tour next season, while players could be mic’d up when competition returns in July.

Tour chief executive Keith Pelley confirmed on The Golf Show that “a different form” of the UK Swing, which features six events back-to-back starting on July 22, is already being planned for the 2021 season.

Pelley last week unveiled a modified schedule for the remainder of this year, with the British Masters at Close House heralding the return to action for the European Tour, with further events to follow at Forest of Arden, Hanbury Manor, Celtic Manor and The Belfry.

“There is no question we’ve learned a lot from creating this UK Swing and, no doubt, next year there will be a different form of it,” he said. “I’m pretty well convinced that the British Masters next year will have a couple of other events side-by-side.

“We’ve had 30 tournaments that have either been postponed or cancelled, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is the only tournament to be remaining in its original slot. It’s been a complex and comprehensive process to put this schedule together, but this is a glimpse of the future and I’m really excited about 2021.

“We have created and funded these tournaments all on our own, but now we’re looking for partners and we’ve already had some great interest from some who love the concept of the UK Swing.

“And our great broadcast partner in Sky is excited about it and, of course, during the UK Swing there will be £500,000 being donated to charity from the European Tour as well as £50,000 to the host venues.”

The six UK events will all be played without spectators, but Pelley is hopeful of having a selection of players and caddies wearing microphones to enhance the viewing experience for those watching live on Sky Sports Golf.

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Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy expects it to be postponed until 2021

Rory McIlroy has questioned whether the Ryder Cup will be able to go ahead this year and believes the contest will be postponed until 2021.

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The world No 1 is currently scheduled to make his sixth Ryder Cup appearance this September at Whistling Straits, where Europe arrive as defending champions after their 2018 success.

McIlroy has previously called for the biennial event to be delayed to next year if spectators are unable to attend, like many other players set to feature in Wisconsin, with the Northern Irishman feeling that the contest may follow many major sporting events in not being able to take place.

“My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen,” McIlroy told BBC Sport NI.

“I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special.

“The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup. I see it being pushed back until 2021 and, honestly, I think that will be the right call.”

McIlroy has already confirmed that he will play the first three PGA Tour events when tournaments resume, behind closed doors, on June 11, with the 31-year-old still hopeful of also being able to compete on the European Tour later in the season.

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“It’s a tough one,” McIlroy added. “There are a lot of things up in the air, but if there are some big events in autumn time, then I can. Maybe if Wentworth gets moved to October, which they are thinking of, then I could see myself going over and playing that event.

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Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson charity match in doubt due to thunderstorms

The eagerly awaited rematch between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is at risk of being called off due to bad weather in Florida.

The repeat of their 2018 showdown is set to take place at Woods’ home course, the Medalist Golf Club.

On this occasion, Woods is linking up with Peyton Manning and Mickelson is teaming up with Tom Brady to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts.

However, the weather forecast near the course says thunderstorms are expected throughout the day with heavy rain.

The event is due to get underway at 8pm in the UK (3pm local).

The format will see the front nine played in a four-ball then the back nine will be alternate shots.

Woods and Mickelson have enjoyed a memorable rivalry together over the past 20 years and unsurprisingly both men have been taking shots at each other in the build up.

“I can’t wait to go to Tiger’s place and take him down,” Mickelson told Golfweek.

“Tiger thinks he has a huge advantage playing there because he was insistent that this event is played on his home course.

“Despite everyone else wanting to play it elsewhere. That’s fine. We’ll take it to him and Peyton.

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“There will be no excuses. It’s his home course but Tom and I are going to go down there and put it to them, and we’ll make it that every time Tiger shows up at his home course, he’ll have a bad memory.”

“At the end of the day, our team’s going to win, it’s just a matter of how much we’re going to win by,” Woods said.

“Do we keep it close, do we blow them out … we don’t want to have viewers turn off if we’re 9-up through nine, that’s probably not going to be good.

“So we’ll just be 8-up through nine — something like that.”

How to watch Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson

The only place to watch the rematch between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on UK television is CNN International.

It was thought Sky Sports would show The Match: Champions for Charity but negotiations over the rights broke down this week.

CNN International is 506 on Sky in the UK, 607 on Virgin Media, 393 on BT, and 203 on Freesat.

Coverage of The Match: Champions for Charity begins at 8pm BST and runs until 1am.

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Tiger Woods set for star-studded return to the golf course

Tiger Woods set for star-studded return to the golf course as he and Peyton Manning take on Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in ‘The Match: Champions for Charity’ with $10m to be donated to fight Covid-19

  • Tiger Woods will return to the golf course for the first time since mid-February 
  • He and NFL star Peyton Manning will take on Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady  
  • It follows last week’s fundraiser at Seminole which included Rory McIlroy 
  • The huge $10million prize fund will be donated to help Covid-19 relief efforts 

Tiger Woods will be seen on a golf course for the first time since mid-February when he partners NFL legend Peyton Manning in a charity match on Sunday against Phil Mickelson and superstar quarterback Tom Brady.

Woods complained of a sore back after shooting a final-round 77 which saw him finish last at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles.

‘How my back feels now is like night and day to how it felt then,’ he said. 

 Tiger Woods will be seen on a golf course for the first time since mid-February on Sunday

Woods and Peyton Manning will take on Phil Mickelson and superstar quarter back Tom Brady

‘I feel a lot better than I did then. I’ve been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be.’

The match will be shown live at 8pm on CNN International and the purpose is to raise £8million or more for COVID-19 relief efforts, and provide entertainment with four of the biggest stars from the PGA Tour and NFL.

Another appeal to the Sunday made-for-TV exhibition, ‘The Match: Champions for Charity,’ is a chance to see Tiger Woods swing a golf club for the first time in 98 days.

The match will be shown live on CNN with the aim of raising £8million for Covid-19 relief funds

Woods complained of a sore back after shooting a final-round 77 at the Genesis Invitational

Woods was last seen on television on February 16 at the Genesis Invitational, where he moved cautiously in California’s chilly late winter weather and posted weekend rounds of 76-77 to finish last among the 68 players who made the cut at Riviera.

He skipped a World Golf Championship in Mexico City, and said his surgically repaired back wasn’t quite ready in sitting out the opening three weeks of the Florida swing. And then the pandemic took over, and there has been no place to play. 

Woods and retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will face Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and signed this year with Tampa Bay.

Rust is to be expected for players who haven’t competed in nearly two or three months

The match will be at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida which is Woods’ home course and about 20 minutes from Seminole, where last week Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff ushered golf’s return to live television.   

Just like last week, rust is to be expected for players who haven’t competed in two months – three, in the case of Woods. 

No fans will be allowed, just like last week at Seminole. One difference is the players will be in their own carts, whereas the four PGA Tour players last week carried their bags. 

No fans will be allowed but players will be in their own carts after carrying their bags last week




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Woods/Manning v Mickelson/Brady – how you can watch golf charity duel

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning take on Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in ‘The Match: Champions for Charity’ on Sunday night… so here’s how you can watch the duel for $10m, and just how NFL and golf legends can compete

  • Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will face off again in a money-spinning match
  • This time Woods and Mickelson will be paired up with their own NFL legend 
  • Peyton Manning will play with Woods and Tom Brady will be Mickelson’s partner
  • The match is for a whooping $10m, which will be donated to covid-19 charities  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

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After waiting two months for any live golf, for the second week running there will be action to watch on Sunday night. 

Remember ‘The Match’, the slightly grubby, at times bizarre, often cringeworthy, yet strangely entertaining duel for $9million between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in 2018?

Well, it’s back for a second installment, this time not so players can line their own already cavernous pockets but in aid of Covid-19 charities. And this time there’s a big twist… 

Phil Mickelson beat Tiger Woods in a 22-hole match at Shadow Creekin 2018 to win $9 match

WHO’S PLAYING, AND WHERE?

The two main men are back, after Mickelson won their duel last time round. This time each is joined by a legendary NFL quarterback to play a team game which looks to reignite two long-time rivalries. 

Woods is joined by Peyton Manning, who won Super Bowls with the Indiana Colts and the Denver Broncos, while his great rival, Tom Brady, a six-time Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots – and widely considered the sport’s greatest of all time, partners up with Mickelson, who has been Woods’ only real rival during his domination of golf.

With such fierce competitors involved, expect some trash talk. Just pray that it’s better than the contrived ‘banter’ heard last time round. 

They will battle it out at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida. Founded by Greg Norman back in 1995, it is an ultra-exclusive playground for the super-rich, and happens to be Woods’ home club. Many other stars of the sport use it as their base for practice, including Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler. 

NFL legends Peyton Manning (L) and Tom Brady (R) will play alongside Woods and Mickelson

WHAT IS THE FORMAT?

18 holes of match play, with a twist. The first nine holes will be a fourball, just like in the Ryder Cup, with the best individual player’s score winning the hole for their team. A hole is halved if there is a tie. 

Manning, who is a member at Augusta National, the home of the Masters, is a 6-handicap, while Brady plays off 8, and they will both be given three shots on the front nine – one on a par-3, one on a par-4 and one on a par-5, but the exact holes are not yet known.

The back nine sees a change, with modified alternate shot used. Otherwise known as Greensomes, this format sees both players tee off, but only the best tee shot chosen to play. From there, each team member plays alternate shots until the ball is holed.

Match will be played at Medalist Golf Club on Sunday and is available on certain TV channels 

If the match is tied after 18 holes, the play-off will be a shortened version of the 18th hole, played from 125 yards from the green, with players taking alternate shots. 

HOW MUCH ARE THEY PLAYING FOR?

A whopping $10m. But all of this will go to Covid-19 relief, with WarnerMedia and the four golfers making all the donations, which TV viewers will be able to contribute to.

WHAT ABOUT THE SIDE ACTION? 

Just like in The Match in Las Vegas, there will be a number of side bets, but again this time these will be to raise additional money for charity. One hole is set to be played with only one club allowed for each player. 

NBA legend Charles Barkley will also play one hole as part of a Bogey or Better challenge for an additional $200,000. Also expect to see long drive and closest to the pin prizes, and perhaps spot challenges, where Mickelson, for example, might bet on Woods missing a certain putt.

NBA legend Charles Barkley will also play one hole for an additional $200,000

HOW DO THE PLAYERS STAY SAFE?

The protocols will be those used last week when Rory McIlroy and Co played their charity game at Seminole, and the same as the PGA Tour’s new rules. Everyone at the course will be tested for coronavirus and asked to submit questionnaires and have temperature checks; social distancing will be enforced; and there will be no fans present. 

Rory McIlroy plays a shot during a charity event at Seminole Golf Club in Florida last week 

HOW CAN I WATCH?

Negotiations with Sky Sports apparently broke down, but UK viewers can see all the action on CNN International from 8pm. 

You can fined it on channel 506 on Sky for the HD broadcast and channel 878 for SD.

It is channel 207 on Freesat.

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Shane Lowry, Jamie Donaldson or Russell Knox: Which Irish Open win should be repeated on Sky Sports?

The Irish Open has produced numerous remarkable finishes through the years, but which of the final rounds would you like to see again on Sky Sports?

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The Rolex Series event is this week’s topic in the #SkyChooseday poll, on the week the tournament was due to be held, with Sky Sports viewers taking control of the schedule to decide the tournament they want to see all over again.

We have gone through the archives to pick out three final rounds in their entirety, but it’s down to you whether it will be the 2009, 2012 or 2018 contest that’s shown next Tuesday evening.

The 2009 event was a history-making week at County Louth Golf Club, as a young Shane Lowry became only third amateur ever to win a European Tour event after defeating Robert Rock in a dramatic play-off.

Jamie Donaldson secured his breakthrough European Tour win in 2012 at Royal Portrush, which would go onto host The Open in 2019, while Russell Knox produced an incredible finish in 2018 to see off Ryan Fox in a play-off and snatch victory.

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TaylorMade Driving Relief event puts golf on the road to return

Sunday’s skins match may have been tournament golf unplugged but the sound from Seminole was sweet soul music for our troubled minds.

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Nothing was perfect about the golf or the television production, but the overall effect was a soothing balm to ease away worry and tension. More than that, it may have given us the confidence to look ahead and realistically anticipate the return of proper golf.

In times to come, we will perhaps look back on the day a bag-carrying Sunday fourball on the east coast of Florida looked out at the Atlantic Ocean and turned the tide in sport’s favour.

Maybe it’s too optimistic to think along these lines and perhaps too soon after so many deaths, but we have to start somewhere and the impact of a gentle afternoon stroll around the hallowed grounds of Seminole should not be underestimated.

Four golfers and a small entourage of officials and television crew took a calculated risk to raise more than $5m for the people most in danger and, at the same time, provide much-needed entertainment for millions of sports fans. Part of the fun was seeing how awkward the whole occasion was for everyone involved.

For a start, the players were wearing microphones most likely designed to pick up light-hearted chit-chat but, given the rustiness of their games, the outcome was more likely to be a series of swear words. To their credit, they maintained their composure and I enjoyed their quiet exchanges about the line and weight of their putts.

That’s all that was needed because there’s nothing worse than sportsmen trying too hard to be funny and after a couple of early attempts at humour, the players seemed to sense it wasn’t the right time anyway.

Which brings us to the inclusion of Bill Murray as a guest. For such a likeable, intelligent and comedic individual, Murray has the surprising ability to be remarkably unfunny.

I know we should be grateful he was willing to get involved but perhaps someone should have taken him to the Skype practice range and given him some tips about speech delays which, in fairness, also caught out some of the professionals on the broadcast.

None of that, of course, troubled President Trump when he called in from the White House just as the players were approaching the turn.

His conversations tend to be a shade one-sided at the best of times so he was very much at home with the latitude afforded by a sports environment. As he warmed to his theme of the American economy and the millions of virus tests being achieved, I tried to imagine what percentage of the TV audience was changing channels or turning off.

NBC’s Mike Tirico tried to politely keep him on point about the return of golf and even risked a reference to Rory McIlroy’s criticism of the President’s performance over the last two months.

Trump brushed that aside easily and carried on regardless. Perhaps it was my imagination, but I thought the President was noticeably more fluent and coherent in the context of a sports broadcast than he is in the more chaotic political arena.

Having said that, he still used up his entire month’s supply of the words “great, tremendous, and incredible” in 10 minutes. I’m sure someone in the NBC production team must have thought about patching President Trump straight through to Rory, but that moment of sheer bliss for us would surely have ended badly for everyone on the ground.

Instead, the greater good prevailed and, generally, that was the essence of the whole day, an occasion when the players and the TV people and us, the viewers, tolerated something far short of perfection in return for a few hours of gentle therapy.

It showed us what we may have to get used to in the coming months because, despite Donald Trump’s obsessional optimism, we have a long way to go before we get to his utopia of packed sports stadiums and thronging galleries at golf tournaments. But it also showed us that the phrase ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ is no empty cliché.

Rory, Dustin, Rickie, and Matthew were the stars of a show created by people prepared to go the extra mile, even if the eventual outcome was not as slick as they wpuld like it to be.

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The Golf Show: Andrew Johnston, Rich Beem, Laura Davies and more

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, Rich Beem, Dame Laura Davies and Meghan MacLaren all a busy edition of The Golf Show this week on Sky Sports.

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Johnston will share how he has been coping with no competitive golf and look at the logistics of the European Tour getting back underway, as well as marking Mental Health Awareness Week by talking about his own personal struggles through the years.

Golf Channel’s Anna Whiteley will provide the view from America and the react to live televised golf resuming this week with the TaylorMade Driving Relief, while Beem will share details of his own fundraising challenge he has undertaken to help with Covid-19 efforts.

MacLaren and Davies can look at the state of the women’s game and how the Ladies European Tour has been affected by sports’ extended stoppage, plus Richard Kaufman looks at how the schedule could look once golf resumes.

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Putting tips: Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau provide advice

Bryson DeChambeau, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are among the golfers to have visited the Sky Zone to offer their hints and tips on how to improve your putting.

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The world’s top players regularly come into our purpose-built studio on the range to discuss the mechanics of their swing and explain how they work on their game, as well as to share advice to pass onto amateurs watching the coverage on Sky Sports Golf.

With the Zen Green also there to allow players to demonstrate breaking putts and a whole lot more, we’ve gone through the Sky Sports archives to look back at the best of the putting advice given.

DeChambeau gave a remarkable masterclass on the scientific approach he takes to putting during an extended putting session with David Livingstone ahead of the 2018 Players Championship, while Westwood shared the routine he goes through on the greens to better his chance of holing a putt.

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Rory McIlroy slams Donald Trump with brutal assessment of coronavirus response

Rory McIlroy has slammed President Donald Trump for lacking diplomacy and for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. McIlroy thinks the US President has made the pandemic political and like a ‘campaign rally’ as he aims to be reelected before the end of the year.

McIlroy was criticised for teeing up with Trump before he became President, but admits he wouldn’t do so again.

“We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now,” McIlroy told the McKellar Golf Podcast.

“He’s trying to politicise it and make it a campaign rally, saying that [the US] administers the most tests in the world like it’s a contest.

“It’s just not the way a leader should act and there is a bit of diplomacy that you need to show, and I just don’t think he’s shown that, especially in these times.”

The current world No 1 played with Trump in 2017 and admitted he learnt a lesson over the volatile reaction.

And while saying he enjoyed his company on the day, he stressed he would avoid any opportunities in the future.

Golf in coronavirus: A full guide on how YOU can play during lockdown

“I don’t know if he’d want to play with me again after what I just said,” he added.

“I know it’s very self-serving of me to say ‘no’ and, if I don’t, then it means then I’m not putting myself in position to be put under scrutiny and that I’m avoiding that. But I probably wouldn’t, no.

“The day that I did spend with him and others was very enjoyable. He is very charismatic and was nice to everyone. He obviously has something, or he wouldn’t be in the White House.

“That doesn’t mean I agree with everything – or, in fact, anything – that he says.”

America has lost 86,000 people to he virus so far and is now the worst-hit country in the world.

When are the golf Majors in 2020? Full list after schedule changes

McIlroy is playing a skins event this Sunday to help raise money for charities helping to battle the virus.

The TaylorMade Driving Relief pits McIlroy alongside Dustin Johnson and they take on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff at the Seminole Club.

The match has already raised $4m before it begins with the hope more can be raised as they play.

“For us to go out and play a golf match, it’s awesome that we can do that, bring some entertainment to quite a few people but also to help in some way,” McIlroy told the PGA Tour website.

“What we’re doing is a great thing, it’s a very small piece of all this but I’m just happy to be able to help in some way and bring some joy to people, I guess, when they haven’t had anything to really look forward to for a couple of months.”

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