20 Dec Paradise Welcomes Greats of the Game at the 2011 Ka’anapali Champions Skins Game
For Immediate Release
KAANAPALI, Maui – Two of the greatest performers in sports—Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson — will defend their title against fellow Hall of Fame members and major championship winners as the 24th Kaanapali Champions Skins Game returns to the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii and the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course Jan. 29-30, 2011.
If the dynamic twosome of Nicklaus and Watson are not enough, this year’s field also includes three more Hall of Fame members Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer and Nick Price. In addition, three of golf’s most recognized personalities and multiple major championship winners Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara and Fuzzy Zoeller will compete.
For the sixth consecutive year, the players will compete in the alternate-shot, team format which has produced memorable shots, a sprinkle of intrigue and a bundle of player commentary. The players will play nine holes each day, with Golf Channel televising the Kaanapali Champions Skins Game on a tape-delayed basis Saturday, January 29 6-8:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, January 30, 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET. (Times vary in different areas; check your local listings). The broadcast will also be available on Golf Channel HD.
Nicklaus and Watson, who are paired for the sixth consecutive time, return to the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course at Kaanapali Beach Resort to defend their title against 2009 champions Crenshaw and Zoeller. Couples and Price will team for the second consecutive year, while Langer and O’Meara are paired together for the first time.
A year ago, Nicklaus and Watson won nine of the first 10 skins and withstood a late charge from defending champions Crenshaw and Zoeller to win the 2010 Kaanapali Champions Skins Game. Nicklaus and Watson collected 10 skins overall and $350,000, while Crenshaw and Zoeller finished second with five skins and $230,000. For Nicklaus, it was his fourth victory in the Kaanapali Champions Skins Game and second with Watson (2007) since the event switched to a team/alternate-shot format in 2006. Last year’s victory also marked Watson’s third overall in the Kaanapali Champions Skins Game.
This marks the fourth year Kaanapali Beach Resort Association will host the event at Royal Kaanapali Golf Course. The competition is presented by Administaff, Time Warner Cable and Fuzzy’s Vodka.
“Each year, we find that hosting the Kaanapali Champions Skins Game is such a positive experience for the players and all of our hotel guests,” said Michael Jokovich, the president of the Kaanapali Beach Resort Association Board and General Manager of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. “To watch the crowds gather and follow these great players each year is truly a wonderful sight and an exciting setting because these Champions Tour players love to interact with people. We are proud and grateful we have the opportunity to help showcase this experience again.”
“When you have Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson together it is a rare glimpse these days at two of golf’s greatest. Add the rest of these incredible players who are competing and it is a recipe for superb competition and an even better chance to listen what really goes on behind the ropes when friends and competitors gather,” said Barry Frank, Executive Vice President Media Sports Programming IMG, who brought the Skins Game concept to television. “These eight players not only represent hundreds of victories around the world but they also hold the values and display the personality which makes this such a great game.”
In the Kaanapali Champions Skins Game format, each hole becomes a tournament within itself and the prize money is carried over if no team wins the hole outright. The $770,000 purse is distributed 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 earnings to a charity of their choice.
Here is a snapshot of the four teams:
Jack Nicklaus—Tom Watson: These two legends and Hall of Fame members have entertained and amazed sports fans for decades. Still considered the greatest to play the game, Nicklaus started his professional career by winning the 1962 U.S. Open for the first of an unmatched 18 major championship titles. Watson excited the sports world in 2009 as he led the British Open late into Sunday before losing a playoff to Stewart Cink. It would have been Watson’s sixth Open title. Together this twosome has won 134 official events on both the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour.
Ben Crenshaw—Fuzzy Zoeller: While Zoeller has won two consecutive competitions as an individual—teaming with Peter Jacobsen in 2008 and Crenshaw in 2009—as a duo they nearly became the first team to win back-to-back titles a year ago. The twosome earned three skins on the final day and finished second. Hall of Fame member Crenshaw has accumulated 19 PGA TOUR victories, including the 1984 and 1995 Masters. Zoeller won the 1979 Masters, the 1984 U.S. Open and the 2002 Senior PGA Championship during a career that has included 12 victories.
Fred Couples—Nick Price: Last year marked the debut for both of these players in the Kaanapali Champions Skins Game. They will also be the youngest team in the competition. Following his Champions Tour debut at this event last year, Couples went on to win three consecutive Champions Tour titles, finished second in season-ending honors to Langer and was named Rookie of the Year. Couples owns15 career titles on the PGA TOUR and has won the Tour’s version of the Skins seven times. Price, an 18 time winner on TOUR, made a four-foot birdie putt in a playoff last year to help this team win two skins and finish third.
Bernhard Langer—Mark O’Meara: This team is in place for the first time. Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has enjoyed another magnificent year by winning nearly all the Champions Tour major awards, including the Charles Schwab Cup (point’s leader), the Jack Nicklaus Trophy (Player of the Year) and the Arnold Palmer Award (leading money-winner). He also became the first Champions Tour players in history to win the Jack Nicklaus Trophy and the Arnold Palmer Award three consecutive years. O’Meara, also a multiple major championship winner, earned his first two Champions Tour titles this year. He won 16 titles on the PGA TOUR.
Located on Maui, along one of the most stunning coastlines in the world, Kaanapali is rich in history and tradition. From the shores of Kaanapali, the neighbor Islands of Lana’i and Moloka’i are in clear view. The slopes of Mauna Kahalawai, the West Maui Mountains, serve as the dramatic backdrop for this luxury, 1,200-acre resort destination which was once a warrior training ground and the playground for Hawai’i’s royalty. As the state’s first planned resort, Kaanapali established a pinnacle for other destinations on the islands to strive to attain over the years. Kaanapali Resort is set beside three miles of white sand beach and is home to Maui’s only oceanfront shopping Center, 11 hotels and condominiums, three world-class spas, two golf courses and over 40 restaurants.
Recognized as the playground of the Pacific, over a half a million visitors choose to visit Kaanapali annually.
The Royal Kaanapali Course, a Robert Trent Jones Senior design, opened in 1962 and has tested the skills of golf professionals and amateurs alike. A Par 71 stretching 6700 yards, the Royal Course combines wide fairways and undulating greens, making it both distinctive and demanding.
Home of the Champions Tour Kaanapali Classic for 14 years, the Royal Kaanapali Course also hosted Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, the Canada Cup and LPGA Kemper Open, donning such golfing greats as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Jan Stephenson and Betsey King. Kaanapali Golf Resort invested over $13 million in renovations and infrastructure from 2005-2007. Golf course architect, Robin Nelson, was brought in to oversee the rework of the Kaanapali Kai Course and “nip/tuck” enhancements to the championship Royal Kaanapali Course. For more information about Kaanapali Beach Resort visit www.kaanapaliresort.com and Kaanapali Golf Resort visit www.kaanapaligolfcourses.com or call (808) 661-3271.
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