Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama will showcase (hopefully, at least) what everybody wants to watch on TV – birdies by the bunches – in “The Challenge: Japan Skins” on Oct. 21 (Oct. 20 ET) at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba. The event should be interesting because bad shots won’t matter, allowing the PGA Tour foursome to play aggressive golf.
So the old Skins Game, the one that was so popular when it was played in the desert, remains a part of history. But the new event in Japan and the new logo the PGA Tour has created did get people thinking: is it possible that the Skins Game could return someday?
In the current world of professional golf, it would be difficult at best. The $1 million purse for the Skins Game in 2008 wouldn’t raise an eyebrow among players today, although the Japan Skins reportedly has a total purse of $350,000, so you know appearance money is involved.
The participation of Woods, McIlroy, Day and Matsuyama shows that you can still attract a great four-player field, much as the first few Skins Games with players like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino.
The format is simple. Score lower on any given hole than everyone else in the game, and you win the hole – a skin. Nobody cares if you just three-jacked an easy par 4 for bogey, because anything higher than par is probably irrelevant in all but the most struggling of golfing circles.
Everyone kicks in a few bucks, and the total pot is divided by the number of skins won. For this made-for-TV edition in Japan, holes tied by at least two players carry over to the next hole. But that format only works well when the entire game consists of just four or five players.