Irwin Wins Skins Game


Senior Skins GameHale Irwin holed a five-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for $260,000 to win his third consecutive Senior Skins Game in Wailea, Hawaii. Irwin won in 1999 and 2001, but skipped the event in 2000.
He has now won eight tournaments in the Aloha State, including the past three Senior Skins Games he has entered.
'I've had such a great run of successes in Hawaii,' Irwin said after winning the last 11 skins Saturday for a record $450,000.
'It's hard to put your finger on it, other than there's something in the air, people, in the land. You name it. But it seems to work,' he said. 'It's sort of like a coming back home. It's always a treat.'
Jack Nicklaus, who has been battling nagging back problems, collected the first seven skins for $150,000 and second place. Arnold Palmer, 72, and Senior rookie Fuzzy Zoeller were shutout.
Irwin's first skins came when he sank a five-foot birdie on 10th hole to take three skins and $90,000.
'Finally,' he said. 'Finally, I'm on the board.'
He then made birdie on the par-5 13th to add three more skins to give him a total of $190,000.
The next four holes were halved. Irwin then clinched the remaining skins by sticking an 8-iron from 142 yards.
Nicklaus picked up the first seven skins when he sank a six-foot birdie on the par-5 seventh.
'I'm tickled pink I won some skins,' he said. 'I think I did pretty well. I didn't know what to expect coming in.'
The only hole where his back problems were noticeable was on No. 14 when he nearly rolled the ball on his second shot.
'I had a couple shots that hurt, but it was actually pretty good,' Nicklaus said. 'I think it hurt more because I hit a bad shot, more than my back hurt.'
The first six holes were worth $20,000, No. 7 to No. 12 $30,000, the next five $40,000 and the final hole worth $100,000.
The first 11 holes were televised on ABC on Saturday. The players changed clothes after No. 11 for the final seven holes, which will be shown Sunday.