King of Skins Set for 14th Appearance

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 LG Skins GameINDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- It only seems as if Fred Couples has played in every Skins Game.
'For me, this is the only tournament I play in, so I'm thrilled to get a sponsors' invite from LG and everybody,' said Couples, whose many titles include 'King of the Skins.'
Couples, defending champion Stephen Ames, Masters champion Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich will compete over the weekend for $1 million in the LG Skins Game.
The made-for-TV event will be played for the 25th time, and it will be Couples' 14th appearance. Since his Skins debut in 1992, he has won a record five times and his 86 skins have totaled a record $3.9 million.
'I think they have all been incredibly fun, from players like Nicklaus and Palmer, and this year we've got young guys. I'm lucky to still be in it,' he said.
Skins rookies Johnson and Wetterich also are happy to be in the foursome.
'There were a number of invites and opportunities, considering the early part of the year I had,' the 31-year-old Johnson said. 'This is one of the only ones I accepted.
'Growing up as a kid, throughout the years, I've watched the type of format and certainly the gentlemen who play in it. So it's an honor to be here and certainly a privilege and a nice way to end my 2007. I'm excited.'
Wetterich, 34, grinned and said, 'I did not have all the opportunities that Zach just mentioned, so when I got the call, I accepted right away.'
The other three chuckled at Couples' remarks about having played in the Skins Game so many times.
'It's comical, yes, but it's very fun to me, and to say what Zach said, I remember when I first got invited,' said the 48-year-old Couples, who hasn't played competitively in almost eight months because of a back injury.
'It's a tournament you want to play in, and whether people like it or not or pick on it or not, just to be part of it you'll see tomorrow it's truly fun. It's an extraordinary event.'
Couples obviously has enough skins experience to have developed a philosophy for the competition, and he said not getting frustrated is one of the keys.
'It's not serious. You obviously want to do your best and win, but it's a perfect format to play. Stephen played incredible golf last year and deserved to win. I felt like I did, too, but he made some choice birdies, and that's how you do it in this game.'
The 43-year-old Ames, who made a 3-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole last year for $270,000 and finished with $590,000, said, 'I just made the key putts and key birdies coming down to the end, and that's what you've got to do.
'When you're out of the hole, you've still got three other guys who have an opportunity. In that sense, it's a little more relaxing.'
In the Skins Game format, the first six holes each are worth $25,000 each, the next six $50,000, and Nos. 13-17 worth $70,000. The 18th hole has a $200,000 prize. A player takes a skin by winning a hole. If the hole is tied, the money carries over and all four players remain in the hunt. If there is a tie on No. 18, the players who tied go into a playoff.
The tournament begins with nine holes on Saturday, with the final nine on Sunday.
In the inaugural tournament, Gary Player won $170,000 to beat Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - LG Skins Game
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.