Anyone Miss The Skins Game?

imageThere’s no American golf event this Thanksgiving weekend. That wasn’t always the case, though. From 1982 to 2008, the Skins game was a staple of the holiday.

In its heyday, the Skins game attracted the biggest names in golf: Palmer, Player, Watson, Nicklaus, Strange, Couples and Woods. The last playing was in 2008 at Indian Wells Resort in the Santa Rosa mountains of Southern California.

The Skins game involved four players in what essentially was a match play format. Each hole has a monetary value, and the low score on the hole takes the prize. If two or more are tied for the low score (players take a half), the money carries over to the next hole. If the final hole is halved, there’s a playoff.  Any player that didn’t half the hole in a playoff drops out of the competition.

Each of the first six holes was worth $25,000. The second six holes were worth $50,000. Nos. 13-17 were at $70,000, and the 18th hole, $200,000. The foursome played nine holes for $300,000 on Saturday and nine for $700,000 on Sunday.

A variation of the format was used in 2001, when the player winning a hole had to halve or win the next hole to collect his skins from the previous hole. Only one player—Greg Norman—managed to pull it off.  Norman won the 17th and tied for low on the 18th to collect $800,000, the largest skin collected for one hole. He won the $200,000 in a playoff to win the entire $1 million dollar prize money.

Fred Couples has been called “Mr. Skins” because of his dominance in the Skins Game. He has won $3,515,000 and 77 skins in 11 appearances. He won five of the Skins Games overall. He’s also known as the King of the Silly Season.

Annika Sorenstam is the only female player to participate in the Skins Game.

If nothing else, the Skins game offered viewers television visions of warm climes and wonderful scenery.

The list of past winners is below:

Year Winner Winnings
2008 KJ Choi $415,000
2007 Stephen Ames $675,000
2006 Stephen Ames $590,000
2005 Fred Funk $925,000
2004 Fred Couples $640,000
2003 Fred Couples $605,000
2002 Mark O’Meara $405,000
2001 Greg Norman $1,000,000
2000 Colin Montgomerie $415,000
1999 Fred Couples $635,000
1998 Mark O’Meara $430,000
1997 Tom Lehman $300,000
1996 Fred Couples $280,000
1995 Fred Couples $270,000
1994 Tom Watson $210,000
1993 Payne Stewart $280,000
1992 Payne Stewart $220,000
1991 Payne Stewart $260,000
1990 Curtis Strange $225,000
1989 Curtis Strange $265,000
1988 Ray Floyd $290,000
1987 Lee Trevino $310,000
1986 Fuzzy Zoeller $370,000
1985 Fuzzy Zoeller $255,000
1984 Jack Nicklaus $240,000
1983 Gary Player $170,000
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2 thoughts on “Anyone Miss The Skins Game?”

  1. Yes, I miss the Skins Game. It was unique and something closer to what golf used to be. We get a nearly year-round PGA season as a sort-of compensation.

    As with the rest of professional athletics, there’s more ‘professional’ and less ‘sport’.


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