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Field Announced for 2007 Wendy's Champions Skins Game

26th November, 2006
WAILEA, Maui – The teams are back and so are the game’s legends: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson and Ray Floyd. So is Dana Quigley, who found glory in his first Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME. And joining them are a couple of new faces in Loren Roberts and Jay Haas, who are eager to find the same kind of rookie success as Quigley did with Floyd in 2006.

The 20th edition of the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME returns to the spectacular Wailea Resort’s Gold Course on Jan. 13-14 with the alternate-shot, team format that proved popular upon its debut last February. The players will play nine holes each day, with ESPN televising the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME on a same-day, tape-delayed basis Saturday, Jan. 13 and Sunday, Jan. 14 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. ET, 1 p.m.—3 p.m. PT and 11 a.m.—1 p.m. HT. (Times vary in different areas; check your local listings).

Once again, Nicklaus and Watson form one team, taking on defending champions Floyd and Quigley, along with Palmer and newcomer Roberts. Player and Haas round out the eightsome.

Wailea Resort is the host of the event for the seventh 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.

“Once again, you’ve got a dream field of legendary players who never seem to miss opportunities to put on a show,” said Tony Renaud, vice president of new business for ESPN and the executive overseeing the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME. “The last few years, we’ve seen some incredible performances that I have no doubt will continue with this field.”

One of those incredible performances came in February. The Floyd-Quigley tandem bided their time and spent 16 holes jockeying for position before striking hard on the 17th hole, when Floyd drained an 8-foot putt that brought the pair $410,000. Two holes later, Floyd struck again, sinking a 10-foot putt that earned the pair another $100,000.

“Raymond kept saying to me, ‘We have to keep prolonging this until we get a chance to win some aggregate skins,’ “ said Quigley, who was playing in his first SKINS GAME of any nature.

The $510,000 afternoon broke Hale Irwin’s mark ($450,000 in 2002) for most money won in a single event and the $410,000 putt on No. 17 blew away Floyd’s record for most money won on a single hole ($290,000 in 1995).

“The way it unfolded was incredible,” Floyd said. “Of all the SKINS GAMES, and this is my 11th, I’ve never seen a SKINS GAME unfold like that where one team tied the other. And then the misses, I’ve never in SKINS seen so many misses where you could capitalize.”

And Floyd has capitalized on his remarkable knack for the skins format to become the most successful Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME player in event history. Last February’s victory gave Floyd his sixth Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME title and first since winning the event an unprecedented five consecutive times (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998). All told, he has won six of the eight Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAMES he has competed in. The winner of four major championships, Floyd has captured 60 titles worldwide.

Returning as his partner is Quigley, who became only the second event rookie (Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1988 being the other) to prevail in the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME. The 59-year-old Quigley became the oldest player to win on the Champions Tour in 2006 when he captured the Greater Kansas City Classic. In 2005, Quigley became the oldest player to earn the Arnold Palmer Award and the only player that season to crack the $2 million mark in earnings.

Waiting for them are the winners of the last two individual Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAMES: the team of Nicklaus (2005) and Watson (2004). The pair banked the $260,000 that escaped Floyd and Quigley in February, lifting Nicklaus to familiar heights in relation to his counterparts. In his 16 previous Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAMES, Nicklaus’ $1,393,000 haul on the front nine along is more than $1 million ahead of his next closest pursuer and he owns event record for most skins (86), most front-nine skins (58) and most career money ($2,135,000).

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 and is largely retired from competitive golf after a career in which he was named Golfer of the Century by GOLF Magazine in 1988 and by Golf Monthly U.K. in 1996. A five-time PGA TOUR Player of the Year, the PGA TOUR and Champions TOUR Player of the Year honors now bear his name.

His partner, Watson, will be playing in the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME for the fifth time. Beside his victory, he finished second in 2000 and 2006 and third in 2005. 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 19th 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, and is winding down his incredible competitive career.

Paired with Palmer is Roberts, who enjoyed the career year most observers predicted for him. In his first full season on the Champions Tour, Roberts won four titles – including the Senior British Open. In so doing, Roberts became the first player to win his first three starts of the season and set a Champions Tour record by shooting 25-under-par 191 to win the MasterCard. In 21 appearances on the Champions Tour, Roberts earned $2,365,395 and failed to finish in the top 10 on just three occasions.

The final pairing features one of the SKINS GAME pioneers in Player, who won the inaugural SKINS GAME in 1983 and captured the Wendy’s 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 and this year, he bettered his age twice and also matched it once during the season. The 70-year-old Player shot an opening-round 69 at the Senior British Open and also shot an opening-round 69 at the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.

Playing with Player is Haas, who became the fourth player and the first since Watson in 2003 to claim both the Arnold Palmer Award as the Champions Tour’s leading money winner as well as the Charles Schwab Cup. Haas tied Roberts for the most victories (four) and like Roberts, also captured a major championship, when he prevailed in a playoff in the Senior PGA Championship. This season, Haas banked $2,420,227 and nipped Roberts by 20 points for the Charles Schwab Cup

“You saw what Ray Floyd and Dana Quigley did last year. Now, look at the remarkable seasons that Jay Haas and Loren Roberts had and take into account how dangerous Gary Player, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus can be in this format and add a legendary player like Arnold Palmer and it’s easy to understand how exciting this field is for our viewers,” said Barry Frank, vice chairman of Trans World International (TWI).

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 2007 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 Beach Villas, Wailea Golf LLC, and the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

For general information about the 2007 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.championsskinswailea.com.

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