Tiger Woods will headline a skins competition next month ahead of the PGA Tour’s first-ever official event in Japan.
Woods, reigning FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Australia’s Jason Day and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama will compete in The Challenge: Japan Skins.
The one-day event will air on the Golf Channel in the United States on Oct. 20 at 11 p.m. EDT — prime time in the West Coast.
The Challenge: Japan Skins will be played at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, the same venue that will host the inaugural Zozo Championship from Oct. 24-27. The Zozo Championship will feature 78 players competing for $9.75 million in prize money.
In skins play, each hole is worth a set amount of money that goes to the player with the low score. If two or more players share the low score on a hole, the money carries over to the next hole.
Woods, 43, committed to play in the Zozo Championship back in April, but now he will be competing in Japan a few days earlier than originally planned.
“I haven’t been back to Japan since 2006 and the golf fans there are some of the best in the world,” Woods said in a statement. “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.”
Woods is coming off capturing his 15th major title this year at the Masters.
McIlroy won the Tour Championship in Atlanta last month to join Woods as the only two-time winners of the FedEx Cup. Last week, McIlroy edged Brooks Koepka in voting for the PGA Tour Player of the Year.
McIlroy said in a statement of the Japanese skins event, “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.”
Day said in a statement, “It’s going to get really competitive between the four of us and that’s one of the great things about skins.”
Matsuyama added in a statement, “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.”
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)