Paradise Continues for Nicklaus and Watson as they take home the 2011 Ka’anapali Champions Skins Game Trophy and $310,000
For Immediate Release
January 30, 2011
KA’ANAPALI, Maui – It was another day in paradise at the Royal Ka’anapali Golf Course, as eight golf legends took center stage in the final nine holes of the 2011 Ka’anapali Champions Skins Game.
Right out of the gate, Fred Couples drove his tee shot deep on the 519 yard par 5 hole to give partner, Nick Price a shot at the green. Couples just missed his eagle putt from 16 feet but gave Price an easy tap-in for birdie. Mark O’Meara missed his four foot birdie putt, giving Price and Couples two Skins and $80,000 – finally on the board after a shutout on the front nine yesterday.
The 11th hole, a par 3 uphill played into the trades and forced pars all around. Nicklaus was the only one at a chance for birdie from five feet, but his putt burned the edge and pushed the Skins to the next hole.
With $80,000 on the line going into the 12th par 4, all four teams were on the green in two with a chance for birdie. Nicklaus put his approach closes to the hole, but Watson wasn’t able to convert. Bernhard Langer sinks his 7-footer for the birdie and the two Skins to bring their total to $200,000.
The next four holes brought many chances for Skins but unfortunately a few missed putts on Ka’anapali’s slick undulating greens and the Skins were carried over to #17. “Couples and Price were definitely the front runners today on a lot of holes but just missed out on making their putts,” stated Watson. He added, “The beauty and tragedy of Skins format is that sometimes it just takes one hole.” And that hole would be the par 3 17th for the team of Nicklaus – Watson.
Watson said, “Since yesterday’s #2 hole (when they made two Skins), my partner and I were just lurking in the distance really, until #17 today – we were just dodging bullets, our fellow competitors were helping to tie the hole until that point.” Nicklaus chimed in “It’s a game of patience – I’m just glad I picked the right shot on #17.” He added, “I saw everyone else hitting their iron shots and the wind was blowing really hard so I took my 6 iron, choked up a bit and didn’t put any spin on it.” Nicklaus would knock it to within 12 feet.
O’Meara as the only other one to land his tee shot on the green, leaving Langer with a 15 foot putt. Langer lipped out and fell to his knees in disbelief.
“There was a lot of pressure, but I just needed to make a good stroke,” said Watson. He added, “There’s pressure on me - I certainly don’t want to let my teammate down, especially after his great shot and he’s left me with a 12 foot putt for birdie and 5 Skins.” Watson converted that birdie putt and brought home $250,000 for himself and Nicklaus to secure the overall trophy for the day, bringing their two-day total to $310,000.
With the final $100,000 hole up for grabs, the four teams continued to battle it out as the Maui afternoon tradewinds picked up and the crowd along the #18 green was 6 people deep. Fuzzy’s tee shot went astray and landed in the left rough, forcing Crenshaw to lay up. O’Meara and Watson’s drives landed within 10 yards of each other and both partners were able to find the lagoon protected green. Couples outdrove the group by about 40 yards and gave Price a nice look at the green. With no one able to convert their birdie putts, Watson/Nicklaus and Price/Couples would par the hole and the group would head back to the 17th tee for a 2-hole sudden death playoff.
Three of the four teams would halve the #17 par 3 hole, leaving Price/Couples out for the final Skins. It was the team of O’Meara and Langer that would win the final playoff hole with a par, bringing their two-day total to $300,000.
Nicklaus commented on the Skins Game, “Coming to an event like this is fun – it’s fun to compete and I just don’t really compete anymore.” He added, “My two sons came out and brought their families and we’re going to travel a bit after this - this trip is like a two-week vacation for me, and I won some money, so it’s great.”
In regards to the course conditions Nicklaus said, “These greens - the superintendant did a really good job – he got some speed on them and you had to fear your putts, the key was to be close to the hole on your approach shot.” Nicklaus wrapped up by stating, “It’s a blast to compete with these guys that are 15-20 years younger than me, it really is.”
Watson commented on his teammate, “How great is it to be able to get up on the first tee and say that my partner is Jack Nicklaus – I mean how great is that?” These two have played together in the Ryder Cup and competed against each other for years on Tour. What a team they have been here at Ka’anapali the last two years and we hope they will be back again next year!
Zoeller/Crenshaw $ 80,000
Couples/Price $ 80,000
The players will donate 10 percent of their earnings to a charity of their choice.
Ka’anapali Golf Courses
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. Ka’anapali Golf Courses 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 Ka’anapali Kai Course and “nip/tuck” enhancements to the championship Royal Ka’anapali Course.
For more information about Ka’anapali Golf Courses visit www.kaanapaligolfcourses.com or call (808) 661-3691.
Media Contact: Melissa Ludwig, 808-357-7248 firstname.lastname@example.org