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May 28, 2007
Wyndham Worldwide Launches Sweepstakes, Ad Campaign Featuring Arnold Palmer
PARSIPPANY, N.J., May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Global hospitality company Wyndham Worldwide is launching a blockbuster marketing program including sponsorship of a PGA TOUR golf tournament, a national TV campaign featuring golf legend Arnold Palmer, and the Wyndham Foursome Sweepstakes, all designed to introduce consumers to its unparalleled range of accommodations.
To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/wyndham/28495/
Building upon its title sponsorship of the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC (Aug 13-19), Wyndham Worldwide also is introducing its first- ever national advertising campaign, an on-site presence at TOUR events, Internet promotion and, at most of its 6,000-plus U.S. properties, a Wyndham Championship in-room video promoting tune-in to the Tournament broadcast.
"We are very excited about this fully integrated approach to educate consumers about our hotel, rental and vacation ownership brands," said Steve Holmes, Chairman and CEO of Wyndham Worldwide. "We have been a public company for under a year and have already established a strong presence as a major force in the travel industry, giving consumers a wide range of choices in lodging, vacation rental and vacation ownership. The launch of a national advertising campaign is an important step in the evolution of Wyndham Worldwide as a powerhouse in leisure travel."
Wyndham Worldwide and Palmer signed an exclusive marketing partnership to develop Arnold Palmer Golf Holidays by Wyndham. Wyndham Vacation Ownership is developing a signature line of Palmer-branded travel products featuring select golf destinations throughout the United States. The vacation packages will be made available to current and prospective Wyndham timeshare owners and will include a wide selection of activities appealing to all levels of golf enthusiasts.
"Playing good golf is the goal of every person who's ever picked up a golf club, and the fact that they can use it as an excuse for a vacation is something that I think is wonderful," commented Palmer.
"Partnering with Arnold Palmer, a legend known around the world as one of the game's most beloved champions, is a tremendously incredible opportunity for us," said Wyndham Vacation Ownership President and Chief Executive Officer Franz Hanning. "Golf has always been among the most popular activities to enjoy while on vacation and this initiative enables us to showcase a wide selection of activities to our more than 800,000 owners and also appeal to golf enthusiasts seeking a world-class vacation experience."
Palmer will also be featured in a national television advertising campaign promoting the Wyndham Foursome sweepstakes that will award four travel packages. The campaign debuts during this week's telecast of the Memorial Tournament on the GOLF CHANNEL and CBS and will feature Palmer encouraging viewers to enter for a chance to win one of four prizes: an Orlando Golf package including five days of instruction at the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy, a week in the Caribbean at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort in St. Thomas, a week in a country home in Ireland, or a week-long California road trip.
In addition to the promotion with Palmer, Wyndham is using its significant distribution channels to raise awareness about the tournament and promote tune-in to the broadcast:
- At hundreds of locations across Wyndham's 10 hotel brands, an in-room video with commentary from Palmer will promote tune-in to the Wyndham Championship, the concluding tournament to the PGA TOUR Regular Season that determines final player seedings heading into the first-ever PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. The video will air between June 1 and August 19th. - Callers to any of Wyndham's multiple toll-free reservation lines who are put on hold will hear a message from Arnold Palmer inviting them to tune in to watch the Wyndham Championship. - The home pages of all individual brand Web sites as well as WyndhamWorldwide.com will have a click-through banner promoting the sweepstakes as well as a link to the Wyndham Championship site. - Several hotel brand print ads will include a snipe promoting tune-in to the broadcast. - Wyndham Vacation Ownership will have an onsite presence at 10 PGA TOUR Events to drive sweepstakes entries and promote the many benefits of vacation ownership.
Wyndham Worldwide Corporation is one of the world's largest hospitality companies. Wyndham Worldwide offers individual consumers and business-to-business customers a broad suite of hospitality products and services across various accommodation alternatives and price ranges through its premier portfolio of world-renowned brands. Wyndham Hotel Group encompasses almost 6,500 franchised hotels and over 539,000 hotel rooms worldwide. RCI Global Vacation Network offers its more than 3.4 million members access to over 60,000 vacation properties located in approximately 100 countries. Wyndham Vacation Ownership develops, markets and sells vacation ownership interests and provides consumer financing to owners through its network of approximately 150 vacation ownership resorts serving over 800,000 owners throughout North America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Wyndham Worldwide, headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., employs more than 30,000 employees globally.
ATTENTION MEDIA: Consumers can access the digitized downloadable file at: http://www.wyndhamworldwide.com/media_center
CONTACT: Lisa Burby, Vice President Communications of Wyndham Vacation
Ownership, +1-407-921-7775 (cell), +1-407-370-5146 (office),
firstname.lastname@example.org; Chris Smith, Director of Public Relations for PGA
TOUR Business, +1-904-273-3379, email@example.com; Betsy O'Rourke, SVP
Marketing & Communications of Wyndham Worldwide, +1-301-332-6530 (cell),
+1-973-753-7422 (office), firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: http://www.wyndhamworldwide.com/media_center
Published May. 28, 2007
Copyright © 2007 SYS-CON Media. All Rights Reserved.
Posted by scurry at 11:55 AM
May 14, 2007
Arnie & Oakmont
A Beaut of a Brute
By Chris Rodell
as originally seen in KINGDOM MAGAZINE, issue 7
A look of grave concern creases Arnold Palmer’s face when asked his advice on how an average golfer can achieve a good score the day he’s scheduled to play Oakmont Country Club. “Well, I suggest you start by playing someplace else,” he says.
In fact, telling golfers who’ve been scarred by the brute that you’re scheduled to play golf at Oakmont is like telling a priest you’ve been dispatched to retrieve Satan’s pitchfork. They call you crazy. Try to talk you out of it. Say small prayers on your behalf.
As well they should. For all its stark beauty, Oakmont is one hell of a golf course: 7,255 yards, nearly 200 penal bunkers and greens so lightning fast the busybody U.S.G.A. crews preparing the course for the 2007 U.S. Open will be tasked to slow . . . them . . . down.
The rich Palmer legacy resonates at Augusta where he won four times, at Cherry Hills where the charge was born, and at St. Andrews, Royal Birkdale and Troon where Palmer is credited with inventing the fabled British Open as we know it.
But no major tournament venue is more closely associated with Palmer than Oakmont, and no course dished out more pain and poignancy than the course he grew up dreaming of conquering. When towheaded boys fantasize about winning the World Series with a final swing of the bat, it’s always Yankee Stadium. When those boys are western Pennsylvania golfers, the dreams are of snaking in the winning putt on the 18th green in the shadows of Oakmont’s gabled clubhouse.
For Palmer, the dream came true at a very young age.
“I was just a kid when I beat Jack Benson there to win the 1949 Western Pennsylvania Amateur,” he recalls. “Oakmont is so full of tradition from the locker room to men standing and laughing in the wooden floored barroom. The course is always in excellent condition. It just really resonates with all that’s great about golf. At 18, it was such an unbelievable thrill to win there.”
That win, however, is an asterisk in Palmer’s career at the course that is just one hour on the Pennsylvania Turnpike west of his Latrobe home. It was at Oakmont where the symbolic changing of the guard took place in 1962 when Jack Nicklaus beat Palmer and an often belligerent crowd of Palmer stalwarts to win the U.S. Open. And in 1973, Palmer stood on the 12th green as the final leader of that year’s U.S. Open when he was stunned to see Johnny Miller had posted a record-setting 63 to vault to victory. And it was at Oakmont in 1994 that Palmer closed the door on his U.S. Open career before a crowd so adoring that tears spilled down the old golfer’s face as their 18th green ovation washed over him.
In fact, tears are Oakmont’s only water hazard. It is a heartbreaker. Forty-four years after the watershed tournament, Palmer still sounds mournful when talking about the ‘62 Open and how he let it get away.
“I used to putt those greens pretty well when I was younger, but in ‘62 Nicklaus beat me on the greens by 17 shots . . . 17!” he says, sounding as if he could snap a stout-shafted putter in half at the mere recollection. “I’ve never played the greens when they weren’t like lightning. Never played it once in my life when the stimpmeter reading was under 11.”
Had it not been for Oakmont, the word “stimpmeter” might never have even been introduced into golf’s vernacular. It was here at the 1935 U.S. Open, that renowned amateur Edward Stimpson noted the diabolical greens were so fast that only one man, eventual winner and western Pennsylvania resident Sam Parks Jr., was having success putting. Stimpson left determined to create a device that would measure the consistency of green speed so golfers everywhere could prepare. Thus, the birth of the stimpmeter.
Golfers at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot skated across greens that stimped at 12.5. Oakmont members breathe sighs of relief when they stimp in the neighborhood of 13. The course will be unrecognizable to golfers who last played it in 1994. A massive tree removal program uprooted more than 3,000 magnificent hardwoods to restore the once leafy landmark to its barren, foreboding look of its 1903 introduction.
Bob Ford is Oakmont’s head professional and has golfed there with Palmer many times. Not once, he says, has Palmer stepped out of character and looked backward. Not once did he stop to dwell on the past.
Until last summer. Ford says Palmer had stopped by on July 11, 2006, to play a round prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities occuring that day at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
“That’s the only time I’ve ever played with him that he even got the slightest bit reflective,” Ford says. “Never once did he look back or mention past tournaments until that recent summer day.”
Ford says Palmer stood at the side of the par 5 ninth green and recalled how he’d been at that spot in 1962 in two. He told Ford how he’d been just off the green, right next to the flag with idealistic thoughts of birdie, maybe -- cross your fingers -- a pivotal eagle. But Palmer, chagrined, recalled how the greens took a bite out of his ambitions and he stalked off with a discouraging bogie.
“Then on 12th green, he said how he stood there in 1973 and had been head-to-head in the lead with Julius Boros when both looked up at the leader board and saw Johnny Miller had posted his record-setting 63 on the rain-damped greens,” Ford says. “He couldn’t believe it.”
As the round continued, Ford says he was struck by how nostalgic Palmer was going through the years and rounds that are indelibly etched into the history of one of America’s most legendary courses.
“I got the feeling that maybe he thought it was one of the last times he’d ever play there, and it saddened me to think Arnold Palmer was having those thoughts,” Ford says.
But in the end, it won’t be those wistful moments Ford says he’ll recall from an otherwise ordinary round with an extraordinary gentleman. It won’t be Palmer talking about tournaments and titles that got away four decades ago. It won’t be the echoes of the cheers and the reciprocal love between a hometown boy who’d gone global and the fans who loved him so fiercely for both his successes and failures.
No, Ford says the recollection he’ll most cherish happened before the round even started. And the unlikely instigators were some scrawny youths clinging to a fence separating the Oakmont pool from the nearby first tee.
“We were getting ready to tee off and we heard these kids applauding,” Ford says. “We turned around and a bunch of the boys had climbed out of the water and were hanging on the fence to watch Arnold Palmer tee off,” he says. “They hadn’t even been born when he won his last tournament, but they were cheering him like he was Tiger Woods.
“He smiled, waved, turned to me and said, ‘Bob, that’s what keeps bringing me out after all these years.’ It made me tingle all over. That’s what I’ll always remember most about that day. That’s the memory I’ll cherish forever.”
Posted by crodell at 03:32 PM
May 08, 2007
Palmer dines with Queen, gives putting pointers to the Supremes
Arnold and Kit Palmer made one of the most demanding cuts of the 21st century on a sun-kissed Washinton evening. They were among the 130 A-list guests invited to fete Queen Elizabeth II at the White House on May 7.
The truly regal affair was widely considered to be the most spectacular dinner in official Washington in the past 10 years. Palmer’s name on the guest list added a dash of grit and grace to a roll that included Vice President Dick Cheney, Nancy Reagan, Peyton Manning and violinist Itzhak Perlman.
The Palmers received elegant gold-rimmed invitations (hand-penned by a calligrapher and then engraved) in April. The gala dinner May 7 is the highlight of a two-day extravaganza in which Palmer dined at the head table with President George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth, gave putting lessons to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at the highest court in the land, and was feted as one of just six life-time Tour Achievement winners at the new clubhouse at the TPC at Sawgrass.
“Even for Arnold Palmer, the last two days have been remarkable,” says Palmer spokesman Doc Giffin. “Both Arnold and Kit had a splendid time at the White House dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth. It was a very special evening and they were thrilled to be invited.”
If it was a national A-list that scored one of just 130 invitations to the dinner, then Palmer has vaulted to the A-list of the A-list. He was chosen to sit at the main table with both President Bush and Queen Elizabeth and guests Nancy Reagan, Alma Powell (wife of Colin Powell), Tricia Lott (wife of U.S. Sen. Trent Lott), Ashley Manning (wife of Indianapolis Colt quarterback Peyton Manning), CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, and Chief Justice Roberts.
The five-course dinner included “spring pea soup with fern leaf lavender,” “saddle of spring lamb” and three different wines. The dinner was the first, and probably will be the only, white-tie event of the Bush presidency.
The Palmers were up early to enjoy another memorable meeting the day after the dinner. Kit Palmer, who is a personal friend with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, accepted her friend’s invitation to see the Supreme Court. While there, Palmer gave putting lessons to a trio of renown rules sticklers who might be hiding snazzy golf shirts beneath their black robes.
“He was putting on the carpet in Chief Justice Roberts’s office and giving some pointers to Roberts, Kennedy and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who, incidentally, is the only Supreme Court Justice to ever score a hole-in-one,” Giffin says.
From there, the Palmers flew to Jacksonville, Florida, where Palmer was set to attend a black-tie dinner at grand opening of the new clubhouse at the TPC at Sawgrass, home of the Tournament Player’s Championship. Palmer, one of just three living recipients of the Tour’s Lifetime Achievement Award, will address the gathering.
Besides Palmer, only five other men have ever been deemed worthy of the award since it was first bestowed in 1995. The others are Pete Dye, Jackie Burke Jr., Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen.
Following the whirlwind two days, the Palmers flew to Bay Hill Club in Orlando to do one of the few things he enjoys more than dining with royalty.
Palmer golfed with friends.
Posted by crodell at 04:08 PM
May 03, 2007
Play Latrobe C.C. during U.S. Open week . . . and all summer long!
This may come as a surprise to golf fans eager to descend on western Pennsylvania June 11-17, but there are still good tee times available at one of the world’s most fabled golf courses.
No, we’re not talking about Oakmont C.C., site of the 2007 U.S. Open. Oakmont’s tee sheet that week is, of course, booked by the world’s top golfers striving to make their mark on a course whose name reverberates through golf history as one of the game’s most hallowed sites.
But just an hour east down the Pennsylvania Turnpike is another legendary golf name that is welcoming golf pilgrims from around the world.
The course is Arnold Palmer’s Latrobe Country Club.
“We get calls from people all over who are amazed that they can be our guest for a day at Latrobe,” says Randy Bisi, the man who holds the head pro position once occupied by Deacon Palmer, the man who taught Arnold Palmer how to golf.
While the club’s primary responsibility will always be to respect the priorities of its valued members, the club will work with guests to ensure that those interested in playing will be given the member sponsorship necessary to secure tee times, according to Jerry Palmer, Latrobe Country Club General Manager. “We have a magnificent golf course and we’re very proud of it. We want people who’ve always dreamed of playing Latrobe to have the opportunity to do so all summer long. We understand how much this means a lot to golfers all over the world and we want them to have the chance to enjoy the club the way we and the members do every day.”
The club has four finely appointed guest houses on property for visitors to stay overnight. Bisi says those accommodations are booked through Open week, but good tee times are available. “Even on days when we’re crowded, there are still tee times available after 4 p.m.,” he says. “Golfers could enjoy Oakmont in the morning, drive to Latrobe, and still have plenty of summer sunshine left to play a round at the club where Mr. Palmer learned the game.”
And, make no mistake, it’s no exaggeration to say that the name Latrobe resonates with golfers just as much as St. Andrews.
“A man who’d never heard the history of golf described it as, ‘A game invented by Arnold Palmer up in Pennsylvania where you make a long putt on the last hole and win a lot of money.’”
That’s what tournament organizer Gene Hallman told reporters in 1993 after Palmer’s presence at the Bruno’s Memorial Classic in Birmingham, Alabama, resulted in a 15 percent surge in ticket sales.
Reached today, Hallman says he remembers talking with a local reporter when the quote came off the top of his head, but that the essential truth of the statement still stands.
“Oh, absolutely,” he says. “Arnold Palmer’s the most enduringly popular athlete of all time and to a lot of people -- even non-golfers -- the name Latrobe ranks right up there with St. Andrews, Pebble Beach and Augusta.”
The difference between those places in general and St. Andrews in particular is that Latrobe is an eight hour drive from 40 percent of the U.S. population and that you can play it for about the same as it would cost to park your car at an international airport for the days it would require to fly to Scotland and play a couple days of golf.
Oh, and there’s one other difference: Latrobe has Arnold Palmer.
“It’s not just his trophies and memorabilia you see here at the club, a lot of times you see Mr. Palmer,” Bisi says. “He’s here almost all summer. He’s on the course, he’s in the grille room, he’s on the putting green. To walk in his footsteps is a thrill to a lot of golfers who grew up idolizing him, but to have him walk up, smile and shake your hand and welcome you to Latrobe Country Club is as good as it’s ever gets for many golf fans. It’s something they’ll never forget.”
To arrange tee times and accommodations and member sponsorship throughout the year, contact the pro shop at Latrobe C.C., 724-539-8588 or visit www.latrobecountryclub.com.
Posted by crodell at 04:52 PM