Tiger Woods will be playing a limited schedule in the coming months, choosing to skip the WGC in Memphis in favor of rest ahead of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs in August.
Once the playoffs end, we likely won’t see Woods again until October, when he’ll play in the inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan, as well a new, made-for-TV event.
As part of a multi-year deal with Discovery-owned GolfTV, Woods will play alongside Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in a skins game that will be broadcast around the world on the digital service. ESPN first reported on the deal. The one-day affair, played Oct. 21 at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan, will have a hefty prize pool. The PGA Tour, which has a stake in the success of Golf TV with Discovery, will sanction the event. The format and prize pool are still being finalized.
Days later, the Zozo Championship will be a no-cut, 78-player event with a $9.75 million purse. It will likely be Woods’ only PGA Tour appearance before hosting the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas before captaining the American Presidents Cup team at Royal Melbourne in Australia in December.
Woods’ agreement with GolfTV compels him to provide exclusive post-round commentary, as well participate in other interviews and video features pulling back the curtain on his professional life and preparation for events. GolfTV does not operate currently in the United States due to rights-holder agreements with various American networks. However, there are negotiations in place to air the special on American TV.
McIlroy has a deal with Golf Channel’s Golfpass to provide similar exclusive content.
The Skins Game was a holiday staple from 1983-2005, in which an 18-hole match was played between a set number of competitors, usually a foursome. On each hole, a particular dollar value was assigned, only to be collected by a player if they won the hole without a tie. If there were any ties, the money from that hole would be added to the value of the next hole.
This deal seems to suggest a future pay-per-view match involving Woods and Phil Mickelson, as a sequel to last November’s The Match in Las Vegas, is on the back burner for now. Woods and McIlroy competed against each other in one-day exhibitions in China, with McIlroy winning both affairs in 2012 and 2013, respectively, by a shot.