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Legends of golf will usher in new format for 2006 Wendy's Champions Skins Game

27th November, 2005
WAILEA, Maui – It is a golf fan’s dream, the opportunity to see what kind of magic Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson can create when paired together on a golf course. Or the chance to see what would happen when Gary Player and Hale Irwin put their considerable golfing intellect to a similar purpose against the charismatic duo of Arnold Palmer and Peter Jacobsen and the talented and dangerous tandem of Raymond Floyd and Dana Quigley.

Add in the dreamlike setting of the Wailea Resort’s championship Gold Course and you have the field for the 19th edition of the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME, which will be played for the first time in an alternate-shot, team format, keeping the traditional SKINS GAME format. ESPN will televise the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME on Monday, Feb. 6 from 6:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET. (Times vary in different areas, check your local listings).

“This is like a fantasy golf team. When you have the chance to put legends like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Ray Floyd together with standout players like Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Peter Jacobsen and Dana Quigley, you don’t think twice,” said Chuck Gerber, executive vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television, Inc. “We are very excited about this format, one that we know will be a treat to our viewers.”

Wailea Resort is the host of the event for the sixth time, following 11 years at Mauna Lani on the Big Island of Hawaii. The inaugural match was played in 1988 at Turtle Bay Golf Club on Oahu, and the second in 1989 at the Mountain Course at the La Quinta Hotel Golf Club in La Quinta, CA.

Nicklaus is the defending champion of the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME, blazing his way to 11 skins and a career-best payday of $340,000 in the 2005 edition of the popular Super Bowl weekend event. It was Nicklaus’ first competitive round of golf in nearly nine months and he had been battling back and leg ailments for much of the year.

“I did fine. I certainly don’t have any complaints. I didn’t expect to play this well. I certainly didn’t expect to play this well at all,” Nicklaus said.

“Jack Nicklaus’ performance last year was one of the most remarkable things I’ve seen on a golf course,” said Barry Frank, vice chairman of Trans World International (TWI). “Given our format and the caliber of players we have challenging him and Tom Watson this year, I think you can expect to see another amazing finish in 2006.”

Nicklaus, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, will be playing in the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME for the 16th time. The winner of an unprecedented 20 major championships, including six Masters, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens and two U.S. Amateurs, Nicklaus has won 113 tournaments worldwide.

Named Golfer of the Century by GOLF Magazine in 1988 and by Golf Monthly U.K., in 1996, Nicklaus won the 1991 Champions SKINS GAME. He is No. 1 on the all-time leader on the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME money list ($2,005,000) and skins list (79) and second on the all-time combined Merrill Lynch SKINS/Wendy’s Champions SKINS money list ($2,655,000). A five-time PGA TOUR Player of the Year, the PGA TOUR and Champions TOUR Player of the Year honors now bear his name.

Watson, who won the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME in 2004, will be playing in the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME for the fourth time. Beside his victory, he finished second in 2000 and third last year. A member of the original SKINS GAME field in 1983, along with Nicklaus, Palmer and Player, Watson played in six SKINS GAMES, won it in 1994 and finished second three times (1984, 1985 and 1996).

Palmer, who will be playing in his 18th Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME, is the owner of 97 career titles, including four Masters, two British Opens, one U.S. Open and one U.S. Amateur.
He didn’t play in 1997 because of prostate cancer. He won the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME three times in the 1990s, most recently in 1993.

The popular and loquacious Jacobsen will be making his Wendy’s Champion SKINS GAME debut. He played In the SKINS GAME in 1995, finishing third and winning $30,000. After following his U.S. Senior Open victory in 2004 with this year’s Ford Senior Players Championship, Jacobsen shares a rare distinction with Nicklaus and Palmer -- they are the only three golfers to make their first two Champions Tour victories major championships.

One of the SKINS GAME pioneers, Player won the inaugural SKINS GAME in 1983 and captured the Champions SKINS GAME in 1986, 1988, 1991 and 2000.  One of five men who own the Career Grand Slam, Player has won 108 tournaments worldwide.

He teams with the most decorated player in Champions Tour history – Irwin – who enjoyed another head-turning season in 2005. The 60-year-old Irwin won four tournaments, boosting his career victory total to 44, and narrowly missed winning $2 million for the eighth time in his career. He won the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME in 1999, 2001 and 2002.

Anchoring the fourth team is the most successful Champions Tour SKINS GAME player in event history: Floyd, who won the event an unprecedented five consecutive times (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998). The winner of four major championships, Floyd has captured 60 titles worldwide.

His partner is another Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME rookie, Quigley, who parlayed his iron-man routine – his streak of 264 consecutive tournaments ended this year -- into the top spot on the Champions Tour Money List. In so doing, the 58-year-old Quigley became the oldest player to earn the Arnold Palmer Award and the only player in 2005 to crack the $2 million mark in earnings.

In the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME, each hole is a tournament within itself, with the prize money carried over if no player wins a hole outright. The $770,000 total purse is broken down to $30,000 for each of the first six holes, $40,000 for each of the middle six holes, $50,000 each for holes 13 through 17, and $100,000 for the 18th hole. The players will donate 10 percent of their winnings to charity – 5 percent to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and 5 percent to the charity of their choice. 

The Wailea Gold Course is the most challenging of Wailea Golf Club’s trio of courses. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the 7,078-yard Gold has been lauded by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the world’s best designed golf courses. Since it opened in 1994, the course has earned honors as one of the country’s 10 best new resort courses by both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, as well as received a historic preservation award from the Maui Historical Society. 

About Wendy’s Restaurants
Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers Restaurants was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas and is the third largest quick-service hamburger restaurant chain in the world, with more than 6,250 restaurants in the United States, Canada and international markets.

About ESPN Regional Television
ESPN Regional Television (ERT) is the nation’s largest producer and distributor of collegiate sports programming, producing more than 1,000 sporting events per year. In addition to event sponsorship, ERT produces 800 events for national, regional and local networks, serves as the exclusive syndication rights-holder for college conferences (Big 12, Big Ten and BIG EAST) and exclusive marketing rights-holder for select schools (Kansas, Oregon, South Florida and Iowa State). In recent years, ESPN, Inc. has created or acquired events it owns, markets and televises to increase its value to advertisers and affiliates. 

About Wailea
The Wailea Gold Course is one of three award-winning layouts at the Wailea Golf Club on Maui. Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, the Gold has received numerous accolades, including being named one of the best designed golf courses in the world.

The 2005 Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME is also sponsored by Destination Resorts Hawaii, Diamond Resort, The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, Four Seasons Resort Maui, Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Maui Visitors Bureau, Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort, The Shops at Wailea, Wailea Golf LLC, and the Wailea Marriott.

ESPN-TV Will Broadcast the $770,000 Alternate-Shot Team Event Monday, Feb. 6, from Wailea, Maui

For general information about the 2005 Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME at Wailea, please call 1-888-328-MAUI (toll-free from the U.S. and Canada), 1-808-875-7450 or visit http://www.skinsgamesseries.com.