RICHMOND- The tournament is not over, but a major headline came during the very first match.
Jeopardy’s all time money winner Brad Rutter had never lost a tournament let alone a match to any human player. The tournament streak is still alive, but the match streak is over.
Rutter’s daily double misses caused him to fall behind and finish in 3rd place while Ken Jennings took Match 1. James Holzhauer finished 2nd and now Jennings leads the tournament 1-0-0.
In Game 1 of Match 1, Jennings came out blazing thanks in large part to the category: Before, During, and After. Rutter could not seem to find his footing early on despite hitting a vast majority of the Daily Doubles.
Jennings even got a favorable category in “The Oscars” which helped him back in 2004 set a then one-day record of $75,000. That record was later broken by Roger Craig with $77,000 before James broke it twice with $110,914 and $131,127 respectively.
Holzhauer meanwhile started off showing his trademark of aiming for the higher value clues, but with Rutter getting all the Daily Doubles, we never got to see a James wager that relates to a date reminding him of his family such as 11,914.
At the end of Match 1, Rutter was down with 10,400 compared to James’ 33,200 and Jennings in control with 45,000. However, it is a two game total point affair so Rutter could catch up.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as Holzhauer and Jennings simply dominated. Holzhauer even poked a small laugh when he answered a question about Philadelphia in front of Rutter. (Brad is from Pennsylvania).
There was also a category on Triple Rhyme Time which was a throwback to the Jeopardy All Stars tournament that Rutter won along with Larissa Kelly and David Madden. Jennings placed 2nd while Holzhauer had yet to make his debut.
Both games featured cameos from multiple celebrity guest stars including comedy star Kevin Hart referencing Jumanji, David Muir presenting clues from his show on ABC, and beyond. Ryan Seacrest even mentioned clues from American Idol along with Lionel Richie and Katy Perry.
In the end, it came down to a Final Jeopardy about Astronauts with the clue referencing the only human’s remains left on the moon. That would be Eugene Shoemaker, an American geologist, and one of the founders of the field of planetary science.
Shoemaker is best known for co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with his wife Carolyn S. Shoemaker and David H. Levy.
Rutter missed the final and ended up with a two game score of 10,400. Jennings answered correctly and ended with a total of 63,400. Holzhauer?
Right per usual, but not enough to catch Ken as he finished with 63,200. Oh so close!!
Jennings now leads the series 1-0-0. But the goal is not one match. It takes 3 to win this tournament. The next two games will air on Wednesday and Thursday. If anyone but Jennings wins on either of the next two days, the competition goes into Game 4 on Tuesday.
If not, Jennings can take it in a 3-0 sweep. But that doesn’t seem likely considering the level of competition between these three players. Who will win Match 2? Find out tomorrow at 8pm EST only on ABC.