Tom Watson, PGA Golfer Of The Year a record six times, will compete in the 1985 Skins Game at Bear Creek Gold Club, in Murrieta, Calif., announced Don Ohlmeyer, president of Ohlmeyer Communications Co.
The two-day, 18-hole unique event will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course southeast of Los Angeles in the Rancho California area. Nine holes will be played on Saturday and the final nine on Sunday.
The Skins Game is co-produced by Ohlmeyer Communications Company and Trans World International. It will be televised nationally by NBC-TV.
Watson, second top winner in last year’s Skins Game at the Desert Highlands course in Scottsdale, Arizona, was invited to participate by a special panel of golf-oriented executives and journalists, Ohlmeyer said.
Watson will join two giants of the game--defending champion Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer--in this elite foursome. The final member will be named later.
The red-headed Watson, who turned 36 on Sept. 4, has won 31 career tournaments, plus five British Opens. Among his other victories are the Australian Open and the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan.
The Stanford All-American is the second all-time money winner with $3,778,101 (through mid-September) in 13 years of campaigning on the PGA Tour. Nicklaus is the leader with $4,686,280.
Watson has won the Arnold Palmer Award as the leading money winner of the year five times, including 1984. He won three tournaments last year, the Seiko-Tucson Match Play, MONY Tournament of Champions and Western Open. Last fall, Tom also won the Australian Open.
The purse for the Skins Game has been increased $90,000 to $450,000. The money breakdown is $15,000 for each of the first six holes, $25,000 each for the middle six holes, and $35,000 for each of the last six.
If no player wins a hole outright, the prize money is carried over to the next hole. Last year, Watson dominated play on the front nine, winning $120,000. Then after the first eight holes of the back nine were tied by two or more players, Nicklaus sank a 10-foot fbirdie putt on the last hole to win $240,000.
Garth L. Chambers, executive vice president of Jack Nicklaus Development of California, said Bear Creek is a 650-acre exclusive residential community with many natural amenities. Undulating topography, four natural streams and three lakes have been blended to create a most picturesque setting.
Nicklaus personally supervised the construction of Bear Creek, modeling it after the classic golf courses of Scotland. Opened in October, 1983, the 7,024-yard championship course, which plays to a formidable par 36-36--72, is already regarded as one of the premier courses in California.