Four of the best golfers in the world met on Monday in Japan for a skins round, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. In the end, Jason Day emerged as the winner of the MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins over Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Hideki Matsuyama.
The Australian won $210,000 of the $350,000 prize money on offer. Most of that ($180,000) came on the final two holes with Day draining back-to-back birdies to give himself the win.
All in all, the 12-time PGA Tour winner Day won three skins with a birdie on the Par-3 3rd, then four more on the Par-4 17th after saving par, and finally on the Par-5 18th $100,000 super skin with a birdie. Up until that point, all four players had a chance to win going into the final hole.
“It was fun. It’s nice to be able to beat the caliber of player I did today,” Day said after the contest. “It was nice to be able to hole some putts coming down the stretch, hit some good shots. The short game really showed up today, and that’s usually the strength of my game.”
All in all, Day won eight skins for $210,000. Woods won five skins and took home $60,000, while McIlroy also won $60,000 on four skins. Matsuyama was victorious on one skin and claimed $20,000.
For Woods, this was his first event since August, following a procedure on his knee to repair some cartilage damage. He played well enough to warrant consideration to pick himself for the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in Australia. Woods is the captain of the United States team and needs to make his selections by early next month.
“I did not play well at the beginning. I hit a lot of bad shots and did not putt well,” Woods said. “Once I got into the flow of competing and feeling the round, it just got exciting. We were competitive, the banter was great, the back and forth.”
McIlroy also started slowly, but the FedEx Cup Champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year turned it on as the competition got going. He also had to address the comments made by Brooks Koepka regarding their “rivalry” from earlier this week.
“What Brooks said wasn’t wrong. He’s been the best player in the world the last couple of years, (winning) four majors,” said McIlroy. “I don’t think he had to remind me that I hadn’t won one in a while, but I love Brooks, he’s a great guy, obviously super competitive like we all are.”
This skins match was held to kick off the week of the Zozo Championship, Japan’s first-ever PGA Tour event. All four of these players will be a part of the field that will tee it up starting this Thursday. The field will also consist of several Japanese Tour players, as well as other PGA Tour stars like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Xander Schauffele