The golf silly season is upon us, and its biggest event—the LG Skins Game—is this weekend.
Once able to attract the biggest names in golf—Palmer, Player, Watson, Nicklaus and Woods all have participated—the Skins Game now is a shadow of its former self. Asian tournaments with appearance fees are sucking away the biggest stars. But the event still is one of the most watched in golf and isn’t going away any time soon.
With the biggest stars absent, the one thing the Skins Game has really got going for it is spectacular scenery when much of the nation is immersed in ugly November or December grey. In 2007, the Skins Game will be held at Indian Wells Resort in the Santa Rosa mountains of Southern California.
The Skins game involves four players in what essentially is 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.
This year, each of the first six holes will be worth $25,000. Each of the second six holes will be worth $50,000. Nos. 13-17 will each be worth $70,000, and the 18th hole, the LG Super Skin, will be worth $200,000. The foursome will play 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 has 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. I’d like to see Lorena Ochoa take on the guys from the ladies’ tees, though.
The list of past winners is below: