Royal Kaanapali Becomes New Host of the Wendy's Champions Skins Game - Kaanapali Resort
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Royal Kaanapali Becomes New Host of the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game

Former Home of LPGA, Champions Tour Tournaments
Returns to the Scene in 2008 With Popular Winter Event

KA’ANAPALI, Maui – – Executives with ESPN Regional Television, Trans World International and the Kaanapali Beach Resort Assn. announced that Royal Kaanapali Golf Course will become the new host course for the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME.

The Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME, which enjoyed its 20th anniversary in January, also gets a new, later date. It will take place Feb. 23-24, 2008 and be televised on ESPN.

The three-year agreement keeps the event on Maui and means the Champions Tour will continue to have a presence on Maui to complement events on the Big Island and Oahu. Royal Kaanapali takes over from Wailea Golf Club’s Gold Course, which hosted the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME the last seven years.

Before that, the event spent 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, Calif.

“We could not be more pleased to bring this event to a showcase like the Kaanapali Golf Resort,” said Tony Renaud, vice president of new business for ESPN and the executive overseeing the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME. “With Champions Tour and LPGA events played here at one time, this facility has a history of providing a backdrop to championship-quality golf and this event will do nothing but enhance and build upon that tradition.”

That tradition spotlight found the stunning, Robert Trent Jones-designed course with the LPGA’s Kemper Open and the Champions Tour’s Kaanapali Classic, which was played at Royal Kaanapali from 1987 to 2000. The course also hosted the Canada Cup and Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, among its more high-profile events.

“We are looking forward to playing at the beautiful Kaanapali course. We are certain it will be a challenging test for our players and an exciting experience for our viewers,” said Barry Frank, vice chairman of Trans World International (TWI).

While Royal Kaanapali is no stranger to high-profile golf, the arrival of the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME will showcase a multi-million dollar renovation to the course. Golf architect Robin Nelson, who has worked on more than 30 courses in Hawaii, supervised the renovation, which took nearly a year to complete. When defending champions Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson return to Maui to defend their title against three other teams, they’ll do so on a 6,700-yard course.

“We are excited to host the 2008 Wendy’s Champions Skins Game,” said Ed Kageyama, general manager of the Kaanapali Golf Resort. “The Kaanapali Golf Resort has more than 45 years of celebrated tournament history and we look forward to carrying on the tradition of championship golf at our facility and showcasing the newly renovated Royal Kaanapali Course in a professional event like this.”

“As the first master-planned resort in Hawaii, Ka’anapali Beach Resort has invested more than a billion dollars in our product,” said Chip Bahouth, president of the Ka’anapali Beach Resort Association. “The recent renovation of both resort courses and becoming the new host of the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME solidifies Ka’anapali as a world-class golf and visitor destination.”

Earlier this year, in the second edition of the four, two-man team format, Nicklaus and Watson prevailed by winning $260,000 on the 11th hole, then held off a furious charge from the team of Gary Player/Jay Haas to win the Wendy’s Champions SKINS GAME.

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 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.

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 Kaanapali
Located on Maui, along one of the most stunning coastlines in the world, Ka’anapali is rich in history and tradition. From the shores of Ka’anapali, 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, Ka’anapali established a pinnacle for other destinations on the islands to strive to attain over the years.  Ka’anapali Resort is set beside three miles of white sand beach and is home to Maui’s only oceanfront shopping Center, 11 hotels and condominiums, two world-class spas, two golf courses and over two dozen tennis courts.

Recognized as the playground of the Pacific, over a half a million visitors choose to visit Ka’anapali annually.

The Royal Ka’anapali 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 Ka’anapali Classic for 14 years, the Royal Ka’anapali 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. Over the last three years, Ka’anapali Golf Resort has invested over $13 million in renovations and infrastructure.  Golf course architect, Robin Nelson, was brought in to oversee the rework of the Ka’anapali Kai Course and “nip/tuck” enhancements to the championship Royal Ka’anapali Course.

For more information about Ka’anapali Golf Resort visit www.kaanapaligolfresort.com or call (808) 661-3271.