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Golf club owners' death threats after 9/11 promotion

ESPN staff
September 11, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
The 9/11 advert that was taken out in the Wisconsin State Journal © AP
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The owner of a Wisconsin golf course has received threats of death and to have his club burnt down after a promotion aimed at honouring the victims of 9/11 went horribly wrong.

Marc Watts, who owns the family-run Tumbledown Trails Golf Course, roughly 10 miles from state capital Madison, bought an ad in a regional newspaper offering a deal for the "12th Anniversary of 9/11".

"To commemorate this we are offering 9 holes with cart for only $9.11 per person or 18 holes with cart for $19.11! 9/11/13 Only," the ad read.

But after a picture of the coupon hit social media on Monday, Mr Watts and his family were confronted with angry people calling their promotion "pathetic", "cruel", and "callous greed" - while some made more serious threats.

"We're a little hurt by the fact that people are putting such a negative context on this. I thought people would appreciate it," Mr Watts told the Associated Press, before revealing he had called the local sheriff's department to request the facility is guarded by an officer.

Phone calls to the course Tuesday were met with this recording: "We are no longer accepting tee times for Wednesday, 9/11. Please accept our sincere apologies. Our attempt to remember the tragedy of that day has been met with negativity and now even death threats. We ask that you please take a moment to reflect and remember those we lost that day, which is what we were trying to do."

After being confronted by those who felt that referencing the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people to sell anything was wrong, Mr Watts took to the club's Facebook page to say that the course had done this before to help "remember those who were lost & those who survived tragedy".

He added that Tumbledown Trails would donate the day's proceeds to the 9/11 Memorial Fund.

"We hope that everyone will now see this as a positive as we really meant it to be," he said. "Again we do sincerely apologise for offending anyone & hope that you do accept our sincere apology."

This is not the first time that promotions tied to 9/11 have drawn criticism. Last year, the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel in Worley, Idaho, offered hotel rooms for $91.11 and a food voucher for $9.11 as a "Thank you to our heroes."

Two years ago, New York Sports Club offered 9/11 first-responders cheap memberships, drawing outrage from some who were targeted for the discount who said it a shameless use of a national tragedy to make money.

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