Tiger Tracker: Woods leads Skins Challenge after 9 holes
It’s finally here.
The Skins Game returns on Sunday night (or Monday morning depending where you are) as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama tee it up at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan. All four will play in the PGA Tour’s Zozo Championship later in the week.
Woods has never won the event, which features $350,000 of total prize money. Here were the betting odds for the event: Rory McIlroy, 2/1; Tiger Woods, 3/1; Hideki Matsuyama, 5/2 and Jason Day, 7/2.
Follow along for shot-by-shot analysis of Woods’ performance and updates on the prize payouts for each hole of The Challenge.
Gallery: Best photos from The Challenge
Hole 12 – Par 4
OFF THE TEE: Tiger just carves the fairway right down the middle here. Beautiful shot. Good chance to get up-and-down for birdie from there and claim four more skins and $60k.
Hole 11 – Par 4
OFF THE TEE: With three skins and $45k on the line, Tiger goes driver here and comes up just off the fairway on the left side. Not his greatest effort, but it’s not a bad spot, either.
APPROACH SHOT: Fairway metal from the first cut and he misses this one short. May be in the bunker, if not, rough. With a 3 wood. On a par 4.
AROUND THE GREEN: TW was, in fact, on the beach with just an awful lie. He had to muscle this one out and didn’t get it to the green. Awful effort with his fourth to get on the green and he picks up. On to the next for the 15-time major champ.
WINNER: Rory and Hideki tie with par. Four skins and $60k on the line now on No. 12.
Hole 10 – Par 4
OFF THE TEE: Fairway metal. Pure. Left fairway. If Tiger can be this consistent off the tee later this week at the Zozo, we could be looking at win No. 82 on Tour. Yeah, I said it.
APPROACH SHOT: He’s got 136 yards from the fairway and throws this one high in the air. He lands it 40 feet beyond the hole and will have a downhill putt for birdie awaiting. Not bad, but Rory’s real close.
ON THE GREEN: Jason’s in for four. Tiger just didn’t have an eye for this one with the speed. He taps in for four as well. Hideki makes birdie, as does Rory.
WINNER: Birdie push, tough break for Rory. $45k and three skins available here on the 11th.
Hole 9 – Par 4
OFF THE TEE: Driver here for Tiger and this one is cranked down the right side of the fairway, into the first cut. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. He’s swinging his driver with confidence and man is it smooth.
APPROACH SHOT: After a 319-yard BOMB off the tee, TW has 171 to the hole. He’s asking for it to get up and it doesn’t quite listen, but he’s in decent shape. He’s below the hole, with some serious length for birdie (outside 30 feet), but it’s for birdie and a chance at $15k more.
ON THE GREEN: Tiger absolutely hammered this putt and it was tracking at the hole and hit the edge and bounced out. Right line, just didn’t quite match the speed. Great effort. Tiger makes his par, and the hole is tied.
WINNER: Par push. $30k on the line on No. 10.
Hole 8 – Par 4
OFF THE TEE: Big stick for the Big Cat here and Tiger crushed this one, but he’s in the right rough. The lie shouldn’t be *too* bad from there.
APPROACH SHOT: Tiger goes pin-seeking here and gets this one inside 10 feet. That’s a birdie putt awaiting and a chance to take the money lead from Jason.
ON THE GREEN: Boom! Tiger buries the putt and picks up the three Skins and $40k.
WINNER: Tiger Woods, three skins, $40k.
Hole 7 – Par 3
It’s the second charity hole, and first hole worth $15k ($25k with the last Skin included). Each golfer is paired with a rugby veteran in a two-man scramble. Each player hits a tee shot and they play best ball from there. $100k will be donated in the names of whomever wins to International Youth Foundation via FedEx Cares.
OFF THE TEE: Tiger’s on the green here from 144 yards out, inside 15 feet with a good look at birdie and $25k.
ON THE GREEN: Hideki made a birdie putt, as did Rory’s rugby partner, so the money carries over. Tiger missed, as did his partner, but it was just for fun anyways.
WINNER: Three groups made birdie, so the money carries over. No. 8 is now worth $40k.
Hole 6 – Par 5
OFF THE TEE: Right fairway with driver here from Tiger. Took an aggressive line with a solid stroke and was flirting with the water. Not much more to say there. Good ball.
SECOND SHOT: He gave this one a good whack but comes up short and right of the green in the rough. Went for that one in two but came up a good 20-30 yards short.
AROUND THE GREEN: Solid effort with the pitch leaves this one about 10 feet short. He’ll have a good look at birdie there for a chance to tie/steal the Skin.
ON THE GREEN: Misses the putt and picks up. No dice.
WINNER: Rory and Jason push with birdies. $25k on the line on the seventh.
Hole 5 – Par 3
OFF THE TEE: The boys have 177 yards on the second par 3 of the round. Another just flat-out bad shot from Tiger misses the green after Jason Day rinsed his ball short of the dance floor. Then Rory rinsed a ball of his own, and that looked so fun Hideki followed suit. Tiger could win this with bogey.
AROUND THE GREEN: Tiger gets this one close from the beach and has just a few feet for par. He’s in the driver’s seat for a payday and should be able to two-putt for the win.
ON THE GREEN: Scratch that: Hideki made his bogey putt, so Tiger needs to make his par putt to pick up the $20k Skin. Tiger converts and picks up the cash and two skins.
WINNER: Tiger Woods, $20k. No. 6 is the final $10k skin hole.
Two skins and one big smile for @TigerWoods.
He’s in second place with $20,000.#TheChallengeJapanSkins pic.twitter.com/K7wtZ2IFkC
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 21, 2019
Hole 4 – Par 4
The fourth hole is the first of three charity holes of the round. At any point, the players can choose from either green on the hole (most courses in Japan have two greens per hole: a summer grass green and winter grass green) to play to. The winner will get $100k donated to Save the Children in their name, supplied by Discovery Rise.
OFF THE TEE: Tiger drives this one down the left side. Useful shot, should have a good look at either green to get on the board.
APPROACH SHOT: Well … we don’t know which green Tiger picked. His ball went right inbetween, resting in a collection area in the middle of the two. He can still choose which one to play to from there.
AROUND THE GREEN: Nice little chip there from Tiger. He sticks it close for a good look at par.
ON THE GREEN: Tiger finally putts out and makes par, completing his first hole of the day.
WINNER: Push with pars again. $20k on the line on No. 5.
Hole 3 – Par 3
OFF THE TEE: Par 3. 152 yards. He wasn’t even close to the green, and he took an earful from the boys for that poor effort. The other three found the green and will be putting for $30k after pushes on the first two holes.
APPROACH SHOT: Tiger’s in the bunker after airmailing his second, and Rory is just giving him the business.
AROUND THE GREEN: Pretty decent out from there and Tiger picks up. No money yet for the Big Cat.
WINNER: Jason Day makes birdie and picks up the first three Skins, worth $30k. On to the fourth with $10k on the line.
3 skins and $30,000 for @JDayGolf.
He takes the early lead.#TheChallengeJapanSkins pic.twitter.com/SR8F5pLAHT
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 21, 2019
Hole 2 – Par 4
OFF THE TEE: After the $10k push on the last hole, No. 2 is worth $20k. Stinger with a fairway metal off the tee for TW goes right down the middle. Useful.
APPROACH SHOT: Hideki’s close so pressure was on for Tiger, who left his shot outside 30 feet short of the pin. Tough putt but it’s a birdie chance.
ON THE GREEN: Tiger’s first putt of the day! For birdie and a chance at $20k, Tiger blew it well past the hole, like, 15 feet past. That was … not good.
WINNER: Once again, nobody. Pars push the pot up to $30k on the third hole.
Hole 1 – Par 4
OFF THE TEE: They’re going by seniority, so Tiger is first up. Driver for The Big Cat and this one finds the left rough. We’re off, let’s have some fun. As they walk down the fairway, Tiger and Jason Day were talking about sweaters. And not knowing where the green was! Off to a great start.
APPROACH SHOT: After a 292-yard drive, Tiger had 97 left to the hole. He pulled 9 iron and missed the green left. “It’s actually over over there” joked McIlroy.
AROUND THE GREEN: First chip came up short, and the second finds the green. He’s lying four and picks up. No money on the first hole for Tiger.
Winner: Nobody. A few tied so the $10k moves on to the next hole.
Tiger had a Q&A for 17 minutes before the event.
.@TigerWoods competes in Japan for the first time in 13 years. Live press conference before #TheChallengeJapanSkins. https://t.co/HB8O7tOII2
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 21, 2019
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