INDIO, Calif. (AP) Greg Norman had all the odds in his favor as he stood over a bunker shot next to the 18th green yesterday at the Skins Game. No one had won a dime yet, but Norman was about to earn a bundle.
The only question was how big that bundle would be.
Norman ended up making it a cool $1 million, making a routine par on the 18th hole and adding a birdie on the second extra hole to sweep all the money.
Norman”s win in a new format made him the biggest winner in the 19-year history of the event. It also made losers out of Tiger Woods, Jesper Parnevik and Colin Montgomerie, who all went home empty-handed.
“Any win is a great win, whether it”s a Skins Game or a regular tournament,” Norman said. “It”s very satisfying to do it. Whenever you beat the caliber of players like that, it”s good.”
Norman, after making a birdie on the 17th hole to win all the previous skins, needed to only par the 18th to become the big winner.
That was because a new rule forced a player to at least tie for low score on the next hole after winning a skin.
He did it with a conservative sand shot and two putts that allowed him to cash in 17 skins worth $800,000. Still at stake, though, was the $200,000 skin from the 18th hole, which Norman added for good measure on a five-footer for birdie on the second playoff hole.
“I”ve never had to make a par for $800,000 in my life,” Norman said.
The course was set up so viewers could see birdies. On the stretch of five holes beginning on No. 12, there was no hole more than 388 yards and two of the par-4s were within driving distance.
But there were only two birdies on those holes both at the 300-yard 14th before Parnevik sank his 20-footer on 16.
Woods, who signed a television deal to appear in four Skins Games over five years, was supposed to boost ratings and galleries.
He may have, but his game was nothing more than ordinary, as he plodded along with nothing but pars on the back nine before the 18th hole.