Lineup Set for 2005 Skins Game

ABC to broadcast $600,000 event from Wailea, Maui

By: Dawna Robertson

Your clients who love the links can witness four golf legends teeing off in a traditional event this winter on Maui’s warm, sunny shore. Craig Stadler will make his debut and Tom Watson will defend his title in the 18th edition of the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game. Golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer will join the duo in the $600,000 competition, which will be held at Wailea Resort’s championship Gold Course on Saturday, Feb. 5.

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

The Wailea Gold 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 opening in 1994, it 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.

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 $600,000 total purse is broken down to $20,000 for each of the first six holes, $30,000 for each of the middle six holes, $40,000 each for holes 13 through 17 and $100,000 for the 18th hole. Players will donate 20 percent of their winnings to the charity of their choice.

ESPN, Wendy’s and Trans World International (TWI), all major players in event organization and coverage, are pleased with 2005’s “all star” roster. Each of these pros comes into the Skins competition with an impressive golf resume. Wailea organizers feel that it’s the type of line-up that appeals to sports fans in general, regardless of whether they actually play golf.

“We’re very excited to have Craig Stadler in the field,” said Chuck Gerber, executive vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television, Inc. “Craig has had a great year and deserves to be in the field with Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson.”

Nicknamed “The Walrus,” Stadler is one of golf’s most colorful and popular personalities. He made history when he became the first Champions Tour player to win a PGA Tour event, a one-stroke victory in the B.C. Open last year.

As the major sponsor, Wendy’s is pleased with the competitors and venue. “It is a super field and an exciting format in a beautiful setting,” said Tom Mueller, Wendy’s president and chief operating officer. “We’re delighted to be associated with this event, which not only features terrific competition, but also supports charity.”

Barry Frank, vice chairman of Trans World International (TWI), agrees that the foursome should make for a very competitive event.

“The 2004 Wendy’s Champions Skins Game was one of the most exciting of all time, with Arnold Palmer coming close to winning it,” Frank said. “With the field we have assembled, I think there is a great chance to have another great finish in 2005.”

Watson won the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game for the first time in 2004, thwarting Palmer’s bid to win it for the fourth time and pick up his first title since 1993. Palmer, who made five birdies during a seven-hole stretch, had a chance to clinch victory on the final hole, but missed a seven-foot putt.

“It was just a little indecision in my mind,” Palmer said. “I was a little undecided as to what the putt was going to do and it cost me.”

While he failed at his bid last year, Palmer still has claimed an ample share of the Skins pie. He is fourth on the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game all-time money list with $1,205,000, third in Skins won with 45 and fifth on the combined Merrill Lynch Skins/Wendy’s Champions Skins earnings list with $1,450,000.

The 2005 Wendy’s Champions Skins Game is also sponsored by a number of Wailea hotels, resorts and vacation condominiums. Refer to individual Web sites for rates and special packages available at Wailea properties during the event: Destination Resorts Hawaii (, Diamond Resort (, The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui (, Four Seasons Resort Maui (, Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa (, Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort ( and the Wailea Marriott (

Other Skins event sponsors include Hawaii Tourism Authority, Maui Visitors Bureau, The Shops at Wailea and Wailea Golf LLC.

Tickets for the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game are $20 for adults, with children 12 and under admitted free with accompanying ticketed adult. Tickets will be available at various ticket outlets on the island of Maui, including the Wailea Golf Club pro shops, or online.