Sport: Randall's Rant: Tiger, skins game prove they still have much to offer - - PressFrom - US
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Sport Randall's Rant: Tiger, skins game prove they still have much to offer

21:15  21 october  2019
21:15  21 october  2019 Source:   golfchannel.com

Tiger Woods is finally writing a memoir—and it has the perfect title

  Tiger Woods is finally writing a memoir—and it has the perfect title HarperCollins Publishers has acquired the rights to the first-ever memoir authored by Tiger Woods.HarperCollins Publishers announced on Tuesday it has acquired the world rights to the first-ever memoir by Woods. And the title is succinctly perfect: Back.

How much is Tiger Woods’ smile worth to the game?

Tiger Woods holding a baseball bat© Provided by NBC Sports Group

The possibilities he sets up for next year after seeing his smile fully intact during the “MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins” made staying up late Sunday in the United States worth the effort for Tiger fans.

As much excitement as Woods put back into his game with his victory at the Masters last spring, there was frustration seeing him unable to follow up in a limited, ultimately handicapped aftermath. News that he required another knee surgery in August made sense. Though it was an arthroscopic procedure to repair minor cartilage damage, a fifth surgery to a soon-to-be 44-year-old’s left knee still causes alarm, because of what it potentially forebodes.

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  Rory McIlroy says he's 'good' with Brooks Koepka after rivalry comments, takes playful shot at himself If Rory was upset over Koepka's rivalry comments, he did a nice job of hiding his anger when asked about them during The Challenge: Japan Skins“I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn't won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour,” Koepka told AFP ahead of last week’s CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges."So I just don’t view it as a rivalry.

If you’re all-in on seeing an attempt to rewrite golf’s history books, you are holding your breath watching Woods return from this last surgery.

Yes, Woods had some rust to work off in the Skins Game, but he passed an important test on his way to this week’s Zozo Championship and to December’s Hero World Challenge – and possibly the Presidents Cup, too. He didn’t win the Skins Game, but he didn’t get shut out, a result that would’ve dampened the nature of the exhibition.

Improving Skins Game: More money, fewer problems

Jason Day was the big winner with $210,000 in skins, followed by Woods and Rory McIlroy with $60,000 each and Hideki Matsuyama with $20,000.

Now that Woods appears in play for at least two more starts this year, we should have a better feel by year’s end whether a record-tying 82nd PGA Tour victory and a 16th major championship victory are realistic possibilities in 2020.

Woods delayed knee surgery after winning 2018 Tour Championship

  Woods delayed knee surgery after winning 2018 Tour Championship Tiger Woods delayed surgery on his left knee after winning the 2018 Tour Championship and played all of last season while dealing with the ailment. "I was intending to actually get it done last year after the Hero World Challenge," Tiger revealed Sunday at his Japan Skins press conference. "And because I played well in the playoffs and won the Tour Championship, I figured I'd keep rolling with it." Woods wanted to keep his strong play going for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and wouldn't have been able to tee it up had he underwent surgery in December 2018.

As much star power as Brooks Koepka, McIlroy and Justin Thomas offer as headliners next year, they don’t combine to offer what a healthy Woods offers.

About the Japan Skins Game, it pales in comparison to real PGA Tour drama, but it was never meant to compete with that. It’s a silly-season echo that Woods continues to inject with possibilities, regardless of the prize money offered. Really, the drama those giant Skins Game purses offered in the original model can’t be resurrected. The big FedExCup money offered today makes it difficult to replicate the kind of pressure players once felt over lucrative putts in the original Skins Games.

Yeah, sure, the real future of the Skins Game is still all about big money, because it will be all about gambling and how to bring “the action” to fans in the form of interactive prop betting, but Monday’s exhibition showed there is still room for made-for-TV exhibitions.

Tiger Woods starts slow as Jason Day runs away with Japan Skins title with $210K

  Tiger Woods starts slow as Jason Day runs away with Japan Skins title with $210K Tiger Woods didn’t have any issues with his knee. © Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLCRust, on the other hand, was a pesky disorder with which he had to deal. All in all, however, Woods was just glad to be back inside the ropes.After a two-month break and another surgery to his left knee, Woods began getting his game back in full order Monday in The Challenge: Japan Skins at Narashino Country Club.

The show in Japan raised new possibilities for more pure shotmaking fun in the format.

A combination of the Skins Game and the former Skills Challenge would work.

We saw the appeal of that with the one-club challenge at the 14th hole, where Day played the entire hole with a 6-iron. He showed Seve-like skill opening the blade of that club in a greenside bunker and splashing to 6 feet to save par.

While forced bantering and needling is part of this kind of show, hardcore fans get more than a little satisfaction seeing real shotmaking, and also hearing players talk about the how and why in the execution. That’s the kind of appeal future Skins Games like this can build upon.

So how about ramping up the challenges?

How about shotmaking challenges that force players to make great escapes, with a hole starting in the rough, behind a tree, forcing a player to hit a hook to the green? And another hole forcing a player to hit a slice? And one hole where the player can choose whether to hook or slice around a tree?

Shackelford's skins takes: Tiger looks healthy; pace rushed

Tiger Woods starts slow as Jason Day runs away with Japan Skins title with $210K

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And how about a challenge recreating some of the game’s greatest shots?

For example, how about trying to recreate Phil Mickelson’s shot off pine straw through a narrow gap between two trees, across water to a green more than 200 yards away (a la his second shot at the 15thhole at the 2010 Masters). Yeah, you can’t exactly recreate it, but who cares? Something like that allows the competitors to talk about some of the game’s greatest shots while trying to pull them off.

And how about recreating Woods’ approach shot from that fairway bunker 218 yards from the 18thhole in the final round of the 2000 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey?

These wouldn’t be goofy golf challenges by any means.

They would be meaningful, realistic shotmaking challenges that not only enhance a Skins Game for real golf fans but would add to the appreciation of skills required to win.

They would also add meaningful discussion and remembrance of historically important moments in golf.

There’s a lot the old-fashioned Skins Game can still offer outside giant purses, a lot to make more than Tiger Woods smile.

Tiger Tracker: Woods in contention, tied for lead at Zozo Championship .
Tiger Tracker: Woods in contention, tied for lead at Zozo ChampionshipThe Tour is hosting its first official event in Japan this week at the Zozo Championship at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, following Monday’s The Challenge: Japan Skins event won by Jason Day.

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