Justin Leonard and his father among other unique pairings in the 20-team field that totals
499 worldwide wins, 60 major championships and 11 World Golf Hall of Fame members
Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman and John Daly headline a field full of golf’s biggest names at the 20th PNC Father/Son Challenge next month. Twenty of the game’s greats will tee it up alongside sons, grandsons – and, in one case, a father – when the tournament returns to The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes, Dec 14-17. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. has been the title sponsor since 2012.
The 2017 tournament field boasts 499 victories across the PGA TOUR, European Tour and PGA TOUR Champions, 60 major championships and 10 World Golf Hall of Fame members.
Justin Leonard will break new ground at this year’s tournament, becoming the first competitor to play with his father. Leonard, the 1997 Open Champion, will tee it up with his dad, Larry.
“To be able to share an experience like this with him, knowing that he had an integral part in my development, will make it special,” said Leonard, who was part of the Golf Channel/NBC broadcast team at the 2016 PNC Father/Son Challenge.
Playing in his 16th PNC Father/Son Challenge, Nicklaus will be paired with his 15-year-old grandson, Gary “G.T.” Nicklaus, Jr. The only other competitor to play alongside a grandson was Arnold Palmer, who was joined by both Sam Saunders (2003-08) and Will Wears (2012).
“It is pretty special to have the opportunity to play with my grandson, G.T.,” said Nicklaus. “I remember fondly watching my friend Arnold when he played the Father/Son with his grandsons, Sam and then Will, and how meaningful it was for him. It’s been special for me to play in the Father/Son with all of my boys, and now all of a sudden, I am able to play with a grandson. I feel very fortunate.”
Nicklaus continued, “G.T. is a big kid and has the potential to be a very talented player. He is already a nice player, and his game should only get better as time goes on. So only time will tell whether he will be and wants to be a really good player. For now, I just want him to enjoy this experience, just as I will enjoy it. Oh, and guess whose tee shot we’ll be playing most of the time?”
To qualify for the PNC Father/Son Challenge, players must have won a major championship or The Players Championship. Their partner must not hold a PGA TOUR card.
Padraig Harrington and his son, Paddy, are newcomers to this year’s tournament field, while Greg Norman and his son, Greg, Jr., and Tom Kite and his son, David, each return to the event for the first time since 2008.
“As we celebrate the 20th playing of the PNC Father/Son Challenge, we are thrilled to watch the evolution of the tournament, which has seen sons, grandsons, daughters and, now, fathers, step inside the ropes,” said Alastair Johnston, vice chairman of IMG, which co-founded and produces the event with NBC Sports. “Our unique format highlights the impact that golf can have on the relationship between parent and child, and provides us a front row seat to watch the legends of the game celebrate family and create lasting memories.”
Over the 19 years of the tournament, 24 World Golf Hall of Fame Members have played in the championship, averaging 66 percent of the professional field each year. The winning team of the two-day, 36-hole scramble receives the Willie Park Trophy, in memory of the father and son British Open champions Willie Park Sr. and Willie Park Jr. This year’s purse is $1,085,000.
Last year, David Duval and his stepson, Nick Karavites, won the PNC Father/Son by one shot over Teams Cink, Goosen and Funk.
“We’re delighted to continue televising this one-of-a-kind event that showcases the game’s greatest icons and their family members,” said Jon Miller, president of programming, NBC Sports. “As the tournament celebrates its 20th edition, we embrace its special place on the golf calendar, and cherish the opportunity to treat golf fans to an up-close celebration of the bonds that extend across generations.”
NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the PNC Father/Son Challenge will include Day 1 coverage, airing from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET on Golf Channel, and continuing from 4-6 p.m. ET on NBC. Day 2 coverage will air from 11 a.m.-Noon ET on Golf Channel, and continue from 3-6 p.m. ET on NBC. The broadcast team will include Steve Sands (play-by-play) and Peter Jacobsen (lead analyst), along with David Feherty (tower analyst). Notah Begay and Jim Mackay will both serve as on-course reporters, while Jimmy Roberts will conduct interviews with those in the field.
“The PNC Father/Son Challenge is a unique, entertaining event that the participants really enjoy, allowing them a great opportunity to spend quality time together as teammates in a great setting at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club,” said Andy Pazder, Chief Tournament and Competitions Officer for the PGA TOUR. “It also reflects what a family game golf truly is. What’s particularly interesting about this year’s event is that Justin Leonard will become the first PGA TOUR member to play not as a father, but as a son, which will be fun to see.”
Tickets are now on sale, priced at $15 per day or $45 for a full tournament pass (four days), by visiting www.pncfathersonchallenge.com or by calling (920) 632-8464. Active military and children age 15 years and younger receive complimentary admission with an accompanying adult.
2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge Field (bold denotes WGHOF)
- Stewart Cink/Reagan Cink
- John Daly/Little John Daly
- David Duval/Nick Karavites
- Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo
- Retief Goosen/Leo Goosen
- Padraig Harrington/Paddy Harrington
- Lee Janzen/Connor Janzen
- Tom Kite/David Kite
- Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer
- Tom Lehman/Thomas Lehman
- Justin Leonard/Larry Leonard (dad)
- Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus, Jr.
- Greg Norman/Greg Norman, Jr.
- Mark O’Meara/Shaun O’Meara
- Jerry Pate/Wesley Pate
- Nick Price/Greg Price
- Vijay Singh/Qass Singh
- Curtis Strange/Tom Strange
- Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino
- Lanny Wadkins/Tucker Wadkins
Past Champions of the Father/Son Challenge
1995 – Raymond Floyd and Raymond Floyd Jr.
1996 – Raymond Floyd and Raymond Floyd Jr.
1997 – Raymond Floyd and Raymond Floyd Jr.
1998 – Bob Charles and David Charles
1999 – Jack Nicklaus and Gary Nicklaus
2000 – Raymond Floyd and Robert Floyd
2001 – Raymond Floyd and Robert Floyd
2002 – Craig Stadler and Kevin Stadler
2003 – Hale Irwin and Steve Irwin
2004 – Larry Nelson and Drew Nelson
2005 – Bernhard Langer and Stefan Langer
2006 – Bernhard Langer and Stefan Langer
2007 – Larry Nelson and Josh Nelson
2008 – Larry Nelson and Drew Nelson
2012 – Davis Love III and Davis “Dru” Love IV
2013 – Stewart Cink and Connor Cink
2014 – Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer
2015 – Lanny Wadkins and Tucker Wadkins
2016 – David Duval and Nick Karavites
The PNC Father/Son Challenge is operated in partnership by IMG and NBC Sports.