GOLFTV and the PGA TOUR today announced the high-profile, live competition The Challenge: Japan Skins, which will see global golf icon Tiger Woods go head to head with reigning FedExCup champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year Rory McIlroy and multiple-time PGA TOUR winners Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in a globally-televised skins game.
The high-stakes exhibition event kicks off the Zozo Championship week, the first-ever official PGA Tour event to be played in Japan. Both events will be played at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, during the week of October 21, 2019. The Challenge: Japan Skins marks the first in a series of annual Challenge events that are set to become an addition to the global golf calendar, and tees off at 13:00 p.m. local time on October 21.
Endorsed by the PGA Tour and produced in partnership with Excel Sports Management, The Challenge: Japan Skins unites four of the top players in the world from separate continents, who will also participate in the Zozo Championship, in an exciting competition format.
Alongside special in-match challenges and surprises, and finishing under floodlights, each hole will be assigned an increasing monetary value as the competition plays out. Players need to win a hole outright to take a “skin” (tied holes result in a “push” of the skin to the next hole), so golf fans can expect to see aggressive play from start to finish.
Alex Kaplan, President and General Manager of Discovery Golf, commented: “The Challenge: Japan Skins is a unique experience that no golf fan will want to miss and will be an exciting way to begin Zozo Championship week. GOLFTV powered by PGA Tour is growing to become the one-stop-shop for all the best in golf, and The Challenge is another significant step in that direction.
“To be able to bring many of golf’s biggest names to GOLFTV screens for our customers is hugely exciting for everyone involved. On October 21, fans will be able to see a totally new competition join the golf calendar, supporting some fantastic charities and showcasing the very best golf has to offer in the most fun, exhilarating and unpredictable way.”
Fans around the world can watch the inaugural event live and on demand for free exclusively on Discovery’s GOLFTV. The Challenge: Japan Skins will be produced in Japanese and English. In the U.S., The Challenge: Japan Skins can be viewed live on Golf Channel starting at 12 a.m. EDT on October 21/9 p.m. PDT on October 20.
The Challenge and the Zozo Championship brings Tiger Woods back to Japan for the first time in more than 13 years. It is also the first televised exhibition match of Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama’s careers.
Looking ahead to the event, Woods said: “After discussing The Challenge with Discovery and GOLFTV, I wanted to be a part of it. I haven’t been back to Japan since 2006 and the golf fans there are some of the best in the world. It’s a unique format and a top field with Rory, Jason and Hideki. I can’t wait to play against them on a global stage.
“I haven’t played a skins format in quite some time, so it will be fun to try something a little different and add a few strategic elements as we compete. There has already been some friendly banter between us and that will continue until we get to the first tee.”
McIlroy commented: “There are so many fun elements to The Challenge that will have me wanting to take home that title – playing with Hideki on his home turf; Tiger coming back to Japan with a Green Jacket—the motivation is certainly there for me, and I’m a huge fan of the skins format. I love the way it rewards attacking play and think it suits my game quite well. Any time I can go directly at pins to try and make birdies and eagles, I think it puts me at an advantage.
“The other fun thing about skins is how you find yourself rooting for the other guys if you’re not in a position to win the hole. You’re hoping they can tie with someone else so you can play for that skin on the next hole. With the skins format, you’re always in it until the end.”
Day added: “I can’t wait to get out there and play in Japan. We don’t get the opportunity to play skins throughout the year and I’ve never actually played in an exhibition event like this, so The Challenge certainly stood out to me.
“It’s going to get really competitive between the four of us and that’s one of the great things about skins. The winner is going to be the guy who best executes an aggressive strategy on every hole, so there’s going to be plenty of twists and turns throughout the competition.”
Matsuyama said: “It’s a real honor for me to play with these guys in front of a home crowd. I’ll be grateful for all the support from the fans in Japan, but with the popularity of Tiger, Rory and Jason, I know they’ll also be strongly supported wherever they play. It’s amazing to have these great champions playing in Japan and doing so much to promote and grow the game in my home country, but you can be sure I’ll be trying to beat them on the course.”