Jason Day won the Japan Skins game on Monday but the real winner was probably Tiger Woods, who reported a clean bill of health in his first competitive round since undergoing knee surgery two months ago.
Produced by GOLFTV and powered by PGA TOUR and streamed to fans across the globe, Day claimed four skins in what proved to be a pivotal 17th hole to see off the challenge of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and local favourite Hideki Matsuyama in front of more than 2,000 fans.
GOLFTV collaborated with FedEx and Discovery Inc. to support a number of charities during the event based around a series of challenge holes. FedEx will make a charitable donation for The Challenge: Japan Skins to International Youth Foundation and International Medical Corps. Throughout the event, Discovery supported Save the Children as part of its RISE initiative.
“The event was great. I think the back and forth was nice. Hopefully the fans all around the world enjoyed the banter.
"Overall, it was a brilliant afternoon / evening. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever finished under lights so that was exciting. I haven’t actually watched a skins game before.
"Apparently Tiger has played six skins matches himself, and he hasn’t won one yet so I am one up on him which is good! This is nice, it was clean, within the game and we had fun out there. Hopefully I get the invite back next year.”
Alex Kaplan, President & General Manager Discovery Golf, commented:
“We really wanted to bring something fresh and fun and I think it’s been a fantastic event with really memorable moments for everyone. We’re really excited by the response from fans and the players and look forward to making it even bigger and better next time.”
Jason Day (AUS) Skins won 8, $210,000 USD
Tiger Woods (USA) Skins won 5, $60,000
Rory McIlroy (IRL) Skins won 4, $60,000
Hideki Matusyama (JAP) Skins won 1, $20,000
HOW TO WATCH
Fans around the globe can watch a full replay of the event for free* by registering with GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR (outside of the U.S.) and visiting the challenge.golf.tv *Due to existing rights agreements in the UK and Ireland, fans will be required to subscribe to watch The Challenge. Passes start at £4.99/month.
WOODS EMERGES UNSCATHED
The competition it also afforded Woods a chance to assess his condition after having his left knee surgically repaired for the fifth time.
"I did not play well at the beginning," Woods said.
"I hit a lot of bad shots. It took five or six holes to find it but once I found my feet it came around quickly."
Woods has only this week's PGA Tour event, the Zozo Championship starting here on Thursday, to assess his form before finalising his team for December's Presidents Cup in Australia.
He will captain the American team, and can choose himself as one of the four wildcard selections he must make in a fortnight.
"I've got full range of motion and have no pain squatting," said Woods.
The 15-times major champion probably had more riding on Monday's skins than the other three at an event. He last year signed a long-term contract to provide exclusive material to GolfTV, the PGA Tour's global streaming partner.
"We wanted to do something that's different, something unique," Woods said.
"I just thought the competitive atmosphere was fantastic, the shots we hit were great, and on top of that, I think the banter back and forth, the needling, the jabbing, it was all good fun."
MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins Highlights
Hole 3 After the first two holes are halved, Aussie Jason Day claims the first three skins and captures the first $30,000US to take the early advantage.
Hole 4 The first ‘Challenge’ hole – The Double Green Challenge – gives each of the four players the chance to pick one of two greens to hit too - the winner to take $100k donated to Save The Children, supplied by Discovery Rise. The hole is halved.
Hole 7 When rugby meets golf. Four rugby legends - Mike Tindall (partnered with Tiger Woods), George Gregan (with Jason Day), Brian O'Driscoll (with Rory McIlroy) and Bryan Habana (with Hideki Matsuyama) – took on the second ‘Challenge’ of the day, the par 3 7th hole. Every team birdies and the hole is halved and there are some wild celebrations on the green.
Hole 9 Golf greats Tiger Woods - who leads the event with $60,000 after taking three skins on the 8th hole - and Rory McIlroy give viewers watching on GOLFTV an incredible insight into their respective playing strategies on the fairway of the 9th.
Hole 12 Rory McIlroy hits a superb approach shot on his way to a birdie and first three skins. The Irishman now ties for the lead alongside Tiger Woods with $60,000.
McIlroy spoke to GOLFTV on the fairway of the 12th to address recent comments made by American Brooks Koepka on the subject of rivalries.
Hole 14 The third and final challenge of the day saw the four players take on the One Club Challenge. The hole is halved but co-leader Rory McIlroy is talked out of his using his five-wood on the par 5 608-yard hole by his opponents!
Jason Day hits the ball out of the bunker with a long iron.
Hole 17 After three consecutive halved holes, Australian Jason Day pars the 18th to claim four skins – worth $80,000 – dramatically moving to the top of the leaderboard ahead of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy with one to play.
Hole 18 A tied hole on the last means Jason Day ends The Challenge: Japan Skins on $210,000, having won eight skins during the course of the day.
GOLFTVpowered by PGA TOUR is the new digital home of golf for the global fan community. At the heart of GOLFTV is a live and on-demand video streaming service, showing every moment of the PGA TOUR, European Tour and Ladies European Tour, featuring the world’s greatest players, to a global audience every week. Established with innovation at its core, GOLFTV brings new drive, creativity and immersive technology to the world of golf. It aspires to offer fans a new way to consume, watch, play and engage with the game every day. GOLFTV is part of Discovery, a global leader in real-life entertainment with an extensive portfolio of direct-to-consumer platforms. Visit GOLF.TV and follow @GOLFTV on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates. Discovery also has an exclusive global content partnership with Tiger Woods across both GOLFTV and Golf Digest. The collaboration with Tiger Woods includes a range of content, including My Game: Tiger Woods, insights to help players improve their game and exclusive access to some of the best golfers in the world.
About Excel Sports Management:
Founded as a basketball management agency, Excel Sports Management has grown to represent top-tier talent, blue-chip brands and marquee properties. The agency has twice won Sports Business Journal Best In Talent Representation and Management and most recently was named second most valuable sports agency in the world by Forbes. The agency’s golf roster represents eight of the top-50 golfers in the world and includes Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland and Justin Rose. The Challenge: Japan Skins marks the second made-for-TV golf exhibition that Excel has run in the past year following The Match: Tiger vs. Phil.
About PGA TOUR:
By showcasing golf’s greatest players, the PGA TOUR engages, inspires and positively impacts our fans, partners and communities worldwide.
The PGA TOUR co-sanctions more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Korn Ferry Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Series-China. Members on the PGA TOUR represent the world’s best players, hailing from 28 countries and territories (93 members are from outside the United States). Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to 226 countries and territories in 23 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations to maximize charitable giving. In 2018, tournaments across all Tours generated a record $190 million for local and national charitable organizations, bringing the all-time total to $2.84 billion.
The PGA TOUR’s web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.