This one-day competition will be held a few days before the start of the Zozo Championship which is a new tour event that will be played outside of Tokyo. The structure of the competition and the prize money haven’t been finalized yet but it is going to be sanctioned by the PGA.
Skins events used to be part of the PGA Tour but they haven’t been seen much since 2005. Last year, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson went head to head in a high-stakes match for charity and the event was streamed live on Bleacher Report Live but had technical difficulties. Still, that event signaled the return of the Skins Game.
While the 2019 Open Championship in Portrush was being played, it was announced that the skins game would return in Japan at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club on October 21, 2019. It was also announced that Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day will be the competitors of the said event.
Who Are The Competitors?
Rory McIlroy is the #2 ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings and the leader in the FedExCup rankings. The 30-year old from Northern Ireland is having an excellent 2019 season with 14 Top 10 finishes in 19 tournaments played. McIlroy won the Tour Championship last month and also won the RBC Canadian Open in June. Last March, McIlroy won THE PLAYERS Championship. He also placed 8th at the 2019 PGA Championship and 9th at the 2019 U.S. Open.
Tiger Woods needs no introduction. Woods is considered one of the best golfers of all-time and he ranks second to Jack Nicklaus in total Major Golf Tournaments won with 15. Woods was the world’s #1 golfer for a long time but he vanished from the scene after personal issued. He resurfaced last year and this year won his first major in over a decade at the 2019 Masters. He is currently ranked 8th in the Official World Golf Rankings and is coming off a T37 outing at the BMW Championship last month.
Hideki Matsuyama will be the sentimental favorite, being from Japan. Matsuyama is currently #26 in the Official World Golf Rankings and #9 in the FedEx rankings. He has seven Top 10 finishes in 24 events played this season. He has not won a tournament this year but finished third at the Farmers Insurance Open back in January and 3rd at the BMW Championships last month. Matsuyama is also coming off a T-9 effort at the Tour Championship.
Jason Day is the 23rd ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings. The 31-year old Australian has 11 Top 25 finished in 21 tournaments played this season. He finished in the Top 10 in six of those tournaments but doesn’t have a Top 3 finish this year. Day finished 5th at the 2019 Masters, 8th at the PLAYERS Championship but finished T50 in his last outing at the 2019 BMW Championship.
The exact details of this skins game aren’t officially announced yet but usually, players play for a certain sum of money per hole. If a player wins the hole outright, he takes home the hole prize. If there is a tie, the prize is carried over to the next hole until one player wins the hole. The player who sinks the ball with the least number of strokes wins the particular hole.
Tiger Woods has played in a total of six Skins game in his PGA career but has never won a skins game. He finished as runner-up in 2001, 2004 and 2005 skins game though. Day and Matsuyama have not won a tournament this year and aren’t playing very well. McIlroy is having a fine 2019 but is in a majors drought. Woods has not played well after winning the Masters.
This one is really up for grabs. And for me, I will ride with the golfer who has had the most consistent year and that is Rory McIlroy. Tiger Woods has the most experience in this type of contest but he’s never won a single event. Day and Matsuyama are a long shot to me. Prediction: Rory McIlroy