Australian Jason Day won the inaugural MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins champion after a thrilling climax at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan.
Produced by GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR and streamed to fans across the globe, Day claimed four skins in what proved to be a pivotal 17th hole to see off the challenge of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and local favourite Hideki Matsuyama in front of more than 2,000 fans.
Day said: “The event was great. I think the back and forth was nice. Hopefully the fans all around the world enjoyed the banter. Overall, it was a brilliant afternoon and evening. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever finished under lights, so that was exciting.”
He added: “I haven’t actually watched a skins game before. Apparently Tiger has played six skins matches himself, and he hasn’t won one yet, so I am one up on him which is good! We had alot of fun out there and hopefully I get the invite to come back next year.”
Alex Kaplan, President of Discovery Golf, commented: “We hoped to bring something fresh and fun for the players and viewers, and I think it’s been a great day with some memorable moments. We’re encouraged by the response of viewers so far, but we’re still at the start of the journey for GOLFTV. So we’ll continue to listen and learn from the feedback of our fans and and players and look to improve on what we have delivered here in Chiba.”
GOLFTV collaborated with FedEx and Discovery Inc. to support a number of charities during the event based around a series of challenge holes.FedEx will make a charitable donation for The Challenge: Japan Skins to International Youth Foundation and International Medical Corps.Throughout the event, Discovery supported Save the Children as part of its RISE initiative.
See below for highlights of the key holes in the match….
Hole 3 – After the first two holes are halved, Day claims the first three skins and captures the first $30,000 to take the early advantage.
Hole 4 – The first ‘Challenge’ hole – The Double Green Challenge – gives each of the four players the chance to pick one of two greens to hit too – the winner to take $100k donated to Save The Children, supplied by Discovery Rise. The hole is halved.
Hole 7 – Four rugby legends – Mike Tindall (partnered with Woods), George Gregan (with Day), Brian O’Driscoll (with McIlroy) and Bryan Habana (with Matsuyama) – took on the second ‘Challenge’ of the day, the par-3 7th hole. Every team birdies and the hole is halved.
Hole 9 – Woods – who leads the event with $60,000 after taking three skins on the 8th – and McIlroy give viewers watching on GOLFTV some insights into their respective playing strategies on the fairway of the 9th.
Hole 12 – McIlroy hits a superb approach on his way to a birdie and his first three skins. The Irishman now ties for the lead alongside Woods with $60,000.
Hole 14 – The third and final challenge of the day saw the four players take on the One Club Challenge. The hole is halved but co-leader Rory McIlroy is talked out of his using his five-wood on the par 5 608-yard hole by his opponents!
Hole 17 – After three consecutive halved holes, Day pars the 18th to claim four skins – worth $80,000 – dramatically moving to the top of the leaderboard ahead of Woods and McIlroy with one to play.
Hole 18 – A tied hole on the last means Day ends The Challenge: Japan Skins on $210,000, having won eight skins.
Jason Day (Aus) Skins won 8, $210,000
Tiger Woods (USA) Skins won 5, $60,000
Rory McIlroy (Irl) Skins won 4, $60,000
Hideki Matusyama (Jap) Skins won 1, $20,000
Watch a full replay of the event for free by registering with GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR (outside of the US) and visiting the challenge.golf.tv (https://challenge.golf.tv).