Return of popular tournament offers fans rare opportunity to see two of golf’s icons play together again
They are two of the greatest players golf has ever seen; their friendship and rivalry over the years has helped define the popularity of the game, and on Saturday, fans will have the chance to see Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus tee it up once more, as they are paired together for the first round of the PNC Father/Son Challenge at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes in Florida.
Palmer and Nicklaus will headline a star-studded field as 18 legends team up with their sons, daughters, and in one case, grandson, as the popular event returns after a four-year absence. David Duval also joins the field with his step-son, Nick Karavites, after Curtis Strange had to withdraw.
“I am delighted the Father/Son Challenge is back,” said Nicklaus, who is partnering with son Gary and thus reuniting the winning team from the 1999 Father/Son. “I always enjoy playing with my sons. It’s always very special when you have the opportunity to do anything with your children, and to be able to compete together in a game that has meant so much to me my entire life is a real treat but also a reflection of a uniquely special quality about golf. Gary is going to have to carry me, because since the last Father/Son, I have lost at least 50 yards. He’s going to have to hit it a long way, get me on the green, and maybe I can putt. But I am sure a lot of fathers will be saying that this weekend.”
“It’s also nice to be able to share the moment with my long-time friend Arnold. My guess is the needle that will be out on Saturday will be a lot longer than our tee shots. We have many cherished memories of the years we competed together, traveled together, the time our wives and families spent together, the laughs we shared, and the friendship we forged. For a couple of old guys, we’ll have a blast Saturday, me playing with my son Gary and Arnold with his grandson Will.”
Fans are able to purchase tickets, priced at $15 per day or $45 for a full week tournament pass, online by visiting www.pncfathersonchallenge.com, or by calling 407-876-7004.
“The PNC Father/Son Challenge is an event that has meant a lot to me over the years, and I know the other players feel the same way,” said Palmer. “It’s a great opportunity and we’re thankful to PNC for their role in bringing the event back. The chance to team up with our family members, to play in front of the fans, and for me personally to play with Jack again will make this event very special.”
To qualify for the PNC Father/Son Challenge, participants must have won either a major championship or Players Championship in their career. The professional’s partner must not currently hold a Tour card, and while the majority of partners in the history of the event have been the sons of the golf legends, the family-themed tournament is also open to other family members including a player’s daughter, grandson or step-children. The 18-team field competes in a scramble format over 36 holes for the $1 million prize purse and the Willie Park trophy, named after Willie Park, and his son Willie Park Jr., who combined to win the British Open five times.