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Punch Shot: Bring back the Skins Game?

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The Skins Game was a staple on the fall golf schedule for the better part of three decades, but after 2008 the event was dropped. Is it silly that this former silly season event is no more, or should we petition to bring it back? GolfChannel.com writers debate. (Click here for Skins Game gallery)

By RYAN LAVNER

Yes, but not as the version that appeared on TV each fall for 25 years.

Money won’t entice any of the competitors, not in this era of FedEx Cup cash. The total prize money for the event used to be $1 million. That’s pocket change to these guys – less than what they could get for playing in, say, the John Deere or Mayakoba event. Even the purse at the Shark Shootout tops $3 million.

But the Skins Game could work, once again, as a kind of Tavistock Cup (R.I.P.) spinoff, only without the helicopter entrances and snooty spectators. 

My proposal is for a pair of two-man teams from different parts of the country squaring off against each other in the skins format: SoCal vs. SoFla, Texans vs. Sea Islanders, Las Vegans vs. Arizonans, Ponte Vedrans vs. Orlandoans. Add elements of a home-course advantage. All money donated to a charity of their choice.

A perfect idea? Maybe not. But it’s a better option than no golf in the U.S. on Thanksgiving weekend.


 By JASON SOBEL

No.

I used to enjoy watching the Skins Game as much as the next guy – but I wouldn’t be in favor of bringing it back.

Nothing against the informal nature of the tournament or its format or structure, but it was previously contested during what was widely known as golf’s silly season.

Well, guess what? There’s nothing silly about this time of year anymore.

With the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai extending the seasons on their respective tours, followed almost immediately by the start of the next campaign, golf has become a 52-week-a-year endeavor with little time for such frivolities that don’t come armed with world ranking points and official money. Throw in a month of serious competition in Australia and Tiger WoodsWorld Challenge and the dance card starts filling up quicker than that of Kate Upton at an all-boys school.

What it means is that elite players need to take their breaks when they can get ‘em. Unless you can guarantee me a foursome of one-named superstars like Tiger, Phil, Adam and Rory in an updated Skins Game, I’d rather not run the risk of so many invitations being denied that it features a watered-down version of its previous self with a quartet of third-tier professionals.

The Skins Game was great for what it was, when it was. The golf world has evolved since those days, though, and quite honestly the schedule doesn’t have room anymore for anything too silly.


By RANDALL MELL

No. Let the Skins Game rest in peace.

There is no way to re-create the wonder the original silly season concept possessed. There is so much money, so many monster purses, so many more big events in the game today than there were when the Skins Game was at the height of its popularity in the '80s and '90s. Back then, a $1 million payday was exciting stuff. So was the idea of seeing the game's biggest stars in the offseason. With the World Golf Championships, the FedEx Cup, the Race to Dubai and Tiger's December All-Star Game, there is hardly a month we don't get to see the game's biggest stars.

I suppose there would be intrigue if players were playing for their own money, the way the rest of us do when we play for skins, but that's never going to happen. The Skins Game is never going to regain its original appeal.


By WILL GRAY

No. Perhaps I wasn’t tuning in when the event was at its peak popularity, but I don’t miss the Skins Game and would be in no rush to spark its return.

In the early 1980s, I can understand how a televised exhibition like the Skins Game would be an interesting novelty. Fast forward 30 years, though, and players have no shortage of opportunities to play for unofficial cash, while viewers are not exactly hurting for chances to see their favorite players in action. The evolution of the tournament’s field – from Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus taking the first two titles to Stephen Ames and K.J. Choi claiming the last two – speaks volumes to the event’s gradually declining demand.

Add in the increased options for televised sports around the Thanksgiving holiday, and the hole once occupied by the Skins Game on a viewer’s “plate” has been more than filled. With the advent of the PGA Tour’s wraparound schedule and the increased number of playing opportunities in the winter months, the golf offseason is now measured in weeks, not months. Adding to the schedule at this time of year, even for a four-person cash grab, just doesn’t seem warranted.