Rio Secco Golf Club near Las Vegas to host Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge

Not only is there a new venue for the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge, but you can also look for a few new faces at this annual event that pits players from America's three major professional tours against each other for charity. And while the field has not been announced yet, officials say it will be stellar.

Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge
The Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge has a new partnership with Harrah's Entertainment to host the made-for-TV event this year and in 2009.
Wendy's 3-Tour ChallengeRio Secco Golf Club - Hole 16

"It's got to be one of the strongest fields across the board that they've had in a while," says Charles Packard, head professional at Rio Secco Golf Club, which will host the official pro-am event on Nov. 10 and the professional competition Nov. 11.

Although nothing has been made official yet, at least two of the three PGA Tour representatives are Ryder Cup team members, according to one source.

What is official is that the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge, which benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation, has a new partnership with Harrah's Entertainment to host the made-for-television event this year and in 2009. The Rees Jones-designed Rio Secco, in Henderson, Nev., is one of three Harrah's golf courses that will be used. The renowned Cascata Golf Club, considered by many to be one of Jones' best designs, and Bear's Best, which features a compilation of the best holes of Jack Nicklaus' finest golf courses around the world, will hold additional amateur events during the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge festivities.

"We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Harrah's," says Denny Lynch, Wendy's senior vice president of communications. "Harrah's and the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge have the same commitment to providing the ultimate golf experience. We look forward to working in partnership with their team to provide a world-class setting for our event and continue generating funding and awareness for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption."

The LPGA team of Natalie Gulbis, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressell won last year at Lake Las Vegas Resort's Reflection Bay. Fred Funk, Jay Haas and Nick Price represented the Champions Tour in 2007, while Chris DiMarco, Camilo Villegas and Bubba Watson comprised the PGA Tour's team. Player announcements for this year's event are expected in the next few weeks.

The primary objective of the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge is to generate national awareness and funds for foster care adoption programs for the event's sole beneficiary, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. More than $25 million has been raised in the 16-year history of the event.

With that said, golfers and spectators can take part in a variety of ways. The highest level of support is the Four-Day Pro-Am Golf Package, which includes playing spots in two amateur tournaments and a third playing spot at Rio Secco with one of the invited tour professionals. This $10,000 package also includes special "VIP" tickets and hospitality privileges, accommodations at Caesar's Palace and admission to all parties and events as well as a special event pro-am welcome package. Other levels of participation, including a charity auction, are also available. For as little as $200, golf fans can buy a package with an invitation to all social functions, including the welcome reception and pro-am draw party. Caesar's Palace will host most of the non-golf events.

Act now for VIP tickets, pro-am entry and hospitality privileges

Packard says the event will provide great exposure to Rio Secco as well as Harrah's other courses and properties. "It lets us showcase the golf course, the Butch Harmon School of Golf and everything we can offer as a Harrah's golf destination," Packard says.

Rio Secco, which opened in 1997, is a tough but fair test. Fairways are generally pretty generous, but its sloping bentgrass greens will force the pros to find the right spots on the greens for birdie opportunities. The course plays as long as 7,400 yards and lies at the foothills of the Black Mountain Range. It boasts six holes playing through steep canyons, six holes on a plateau overlooking the Strip and six holes in a broad desert plain. One of the most talked about holes at Rio Secco is the 200-yard, par-3 12th, which plays over a valley to a large green that slopes severely from back to front. It's not uncommon to hit tee shots to the back of the green only to watch them roll 80 feet backwards.

Tickets to watch the tournament are free and can be had at the Rio Secco Clubhouse or on Rio Secco's Web site. There also will be a drawing for one lucky amateur to play in the amateur event on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 8-9. The winner will get a three-night stay at one of Harrah's properties as well as transportation to and from the airport and golf courses and admission to all the parties.

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