Jack & his grandson, Justin Leonard and his father and some of golf’s biggest names will be in Orlando December 14-17 at the 20th PNC Father/Son Challenge. 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. 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 Golfer and winner of the 1998 Players Championship, 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 of my development, will make it special,” said Justin, 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, Jack Nicklaus will be playing with his son Gary’s son. “It is pretty special to have the opportunity to play with my grandson, GT,” 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 with all my boys, and now all of a sudden, I am able to play with my grandson. I feel very fortunate.”
Nicklaus continued, “GT 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. 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. Oh, and guess whose tee shot we’ll be playing most of the time.”
Ireland’s own Padraig Harrington and his son Paddy are newcomers to this year’s competition. Australian 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. Once again John Daly and his son, Little John, will join the field along with fan favorite Lee Trevino and his son.
“As we celebrate the 20th playing of the event, we are thrilled to watch the evolution of the tournament, which has seen sons, grandsons, daughters and now, a father, 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.”
Last year, David Duval and his stepson, Nick Karavites, won the 19th PNC Father/Son by one shot over Teams Cink, Goosen and Duval.
Over the 19 years of the tournament, 24 World Golf Hall of Fame Members have played in the Challenge, averaging 66% 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.
“We’re delighted to continue televising this one-of-a-kind event that showcases the game’s greatest icons and their family members,” said Jim Miller, President of Programming NBC Sports. “As the tournament celebrates its 20th edition, we embrace this 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.” Check your local listings for Golf Channel and NBC coverage.
“The PNC Father/Son Challenge is a unique entertaining event that the participants really enjoy, allowing them an opportunity to spend quality time together as teammates in a great setting at the fabulous 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.”
Tickets are on sale for $15 per day or $45 for a full tournament pass which includes two Pro-Ams Thursday & Friday and Challenge play Saturday & Sunday, by visiting PNCFatherSonChallenge.com or calling 920-632-8464. Active Military get in free and children under the age of 15 receive complimentary entry with an accompanying adult. It is one of my favorite Professional tournaments to attend because I get to watch these Legends of the game and listen to the repartee between the Pros and family members.
About Grande Lakes Resort Orlando
Grande Lakes Orlando is a 500 acre resort with a luxury 582 room Ritz Carlton and deluxe 1000 room J.W.Marriott hotel situated at the headwaters of the Florida Everglades. Orlando’s luxury leader provides an authentic experience from its farm to fork dining offerings to its Grande Lakes Sports options including kayaking, eco-tours on Shingle Creek, mountain bike trail and fishing school.
Grande Lakes presents the culinary mastery of award winning Chefs Norman Van Aken and Melissa Kelly’s PRIMO,where we had our wedding reception. The Resort’s renowned farm-to-fork culinary program showcases its on site apiaries and 18,000 square foot Whisper Creek Farm.
Guests at both hotels can enjoy all the facilities and services at Grand Lakes Orlando, including the Greg Norman designed championship course at Ritz Carlton Golf Club under the watchful direction of General Manager and PGA Professional Nathan Stith and his fine staff. One of my favorite places to play.
For shear relaxation the 40,000 square foot three story Ritz Carlton Spa with total-wellness treatments and a rooftop eco-space is available. The Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott are connected by a robust conference center with more than 170,000 square feet of meeting space, six ballrooms, 58 breakout rooms and over 107,000 square feet of outdoor function area.
The Resort is located 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport, five minutes from the Orange County Convention Center and just minutes from the theme parks. Membership offerings are also available through the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes Members Club. For more information visit GrandeLakes.com.