Funk Captures Record-Setting Victory with 15 Skins

Fred Funk won the 2005 Skins Game with a total of $925,000 and 15 Skins, clinching a record-setting victory when Tiger Woods missed an 8-foot birdie putt on #18 on Sunday.

The 49-year-old Funk became the oldest Skins Game winner with two-putt birdie on #18 that gave him the final $550,000 and six skins.  He won all $700,000 available on Sunday.

“I’m still in shock that I got asked to be in this thing,” said Funk, who was invited to his first Skins Game after winning The Players Championship in March.  “I’ve alway watched it on TV and was shocked to be part of it.  It’s something that I didn’t even dream of, actually.  First of all, I didn’t dream that I’d win the Players Championship.”

Almost as surprising as Funk winning practically the entire purse was Fred Couples, the King of Skins, getting shut out for the first time in 12 appearances.  Woods won the other $75,000 on the third hole on Saturday.  Annika Sorenstam was shut out for the second straight year.

“This course is long for me to start with, and you put some wind and some firm greens, it made it really tough for me to get it close,” said Sorenstam, the LPGA star playing in her third straight Skins Game.  “It’s an honor simply to come here.  This is a great experience for me.” Funk’s $925,000 earned 15 Skins were records for a rookie.

With more than half the purse up for grabs on the final hole, Funk played it brilliantly.  As usual, his drive was in the middle of the fairway on the 524-yard, par-5 finishing hole.  His approach shot left him with a 30-foot eagle putt, which curled just to the left, leaving him a tap-in for birdie.  With Couples and Sorenstam in trouble, Woods needed to make his birdie putt to halve the hole and force a playoff.  He missed just left.

“Wow,” Funk said.

“I played good, but still, it’s timing,” said Funk, who won $150,000 and three skins with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 12th, the day’s third hole.  “There just weren’t that many putts made.”  Said Woods, “I didn’t hit the quality shots.  He had a two-putt to force us to have to make birdie, and we didn’t.”

The previous oldest Skins Game champion was Gary Player, who was 48 when he won it in 1983.  Funk won the most money in one year and won the biggest hole in a regular Skins Game-not including the 2001 event that was played under a validation format.  Greg Norman won $800,000 on one hole in that 2001 event, and $1 million overall.

Woods and Couples both had chances to reel in Funk, who won $225,000 and six skins on Saturday.

Woods had a sensational approach shot out of the right rough on the par-5 16th and could have won $280,000 and four Skins, but his 25-foot eagle putt stopped about 4 inches short of the cup.

“Don’t do that, don’t,” Woods said before covering his face.

“Nice lag,” Sorenstam told him.

“I’ve got a pretty pink skirt for you,” Funk said to Woods, referring to the skirt he had to wear on No.3 on Saturday after Sorenstam out drove him.

On the par-3 17th, which was worth $350,000 and five Skins, Funk hit into water and Woods and Couples both missed long birdie putts.  Sorenstam made a par putt, forcing Woods and Couples to do the same to halve the hole and carry the money over to the 18th.