There’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: