More than any contribution it made to television innovation, gambling intrigue or Phil’s pocketbook, The Match reminded us that the Skins Game worked.
What a perfect time for the organizers of The Match to pick up the right to bring it back with modernized elements.
As The Match played out and the gambling possibilities were just too tricky to work out despite Shadow Creek’s endless walks between greens and tees, the simplicity of the Skins Game kept making so much sense.
With a few tweaks.
Skins died when the money became irrelevant for today’s players and you were left with oddball foursomes, including 2008’s gathering of K.J. Choi, Stephen Ames, Rocco Mediate and Phil Mickelson. It deserved to die.
And while The Match was never that interesting because of the $9 million at stake for the winner, you’re only going to get top players if it’s going to pad their pocketbook in a meaningful way.
More than anything, The Match reminded us that Skins was relatable, just unpredictable enough for viewers, and predictable enough for television to take a crack at showing it. At nine holes, it didn’t force us to sit around too long.
Perhaps a new Skins Game needs to return as a nine-hole event and for just one day with three holes played for $500k each, $1 million for the middle stretch and $2 million each for the final three. Lift the best elements of The Match, spread the wealth to four players and use the pay-per-view concept to justify renting an exotic golf course.
Oh, and make sure the credit card readers are working.