ORLANDO, Fla. (November 17, 2014) – Tom Lehman, playing with his then 12-year-old son Thomas, fondly remembers the final hole of the 2007 Father/Son Challenge.
“It was a par-five,” recalls Lehman. “[Thomas] didn’t hit it very far at the time, so we usually used my tee shots and my second shot. I hit a really nice tee shot and a three-wood onto the green. When we walked up there I told him I wanted him to hit the ball in the middle of the hole and sink it for an eagle. I told him he’d probably be on TV and all of his friends back home were watching. He stepped up for the 40-foot putt and just knocked it right in the center of the hole for an eagle. I was so happy for him and so proud of him that he could step up there and deal with the pressure and knock it in the hole. It was a great experience for both of us.”
This year, Lehman and his son, Thomas, now 19, will return to the PNC Father/Son Challenge after a seven-year hiatus. Why the long break? Thomas was busy playing football and baseball at Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“He has been unable to play since he is in high school due to football or baseball commitments,” said Lehman. “A lot of times it coincided with finals week. It was not a matter of not wanting to play. It was a matter of being unable to play. We have always wanted to try it again and we are thankful that now he can take the time to do it.”
Now a freshman at TCU, Thomas has put down the football and baseball and is playing golf again, training with the varsity golf team. While father and son haven’t played much golf in recent years, Team Lehman is looking forward to competing. Dad - the only golfer in history to have been awarded the Player of the Year honor on all three PGA Tours – is a seasoned veteran, but Thomas has something to prove.
“He is going to want to show he is a good player,” said Lehman. “He is looking forward to competing and earning some respect as a kid who hasn’t competed much in golf to a kid who actually looks like he has serious potential. I know that it is not going to be quite the same as last time where we used my tee shot every time. He hits it 50 yards farther than me now, so we will probably be using his tee shot about every time. It will be a different dynamic between the two of us, but he is a competitive kid and so am I, so we are looking to go have fun and enjoy the time together as Father/Son and also we expect to do well.”
Lehman’s wife Melissa will be cheering on Team Lehman in Orlando, along with their 11-year-old son Sean. Dad predicts that Sean will want in on the Father/Son experience next year.
“He is going to be bugging me every day for his chance to play,” said Lehman. “His big brother is his hero and he is going to want to be just like Thomas.”
Dads are always heroes at the PNC Father/Son Challenge, but sometimes the sons are too.