ORLANDO, FLORIDA – December 10, 2016 - David Duval and his stepson, Nick Karavites, shot 11-under-par 61 to take the first-round lead at the 2016 PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The duo birdied Nos. 1, 3-7, 13-16 and 18 to open up a one-stroke lead over Fred and Taylor Funk.
“To go out and have fun and hit good golf shots, make a couple putts, that’s always enjoyable, but it’s secondary to walking around the golf course with the entire crew,” said Duval, who made only one competitive start in 2016 at the Sanderson Farms Championship where he missed the cut.
“We just scrambled,” added Karavites. “If I hit a bad shot, he hit a good shot.”
Team Duval has been preparing for the tournament since receiving an invitation two months ago.
“Anyone you talk to will tell you that this is the best week of the year,” Duval said. “If you’re fortunate enough to be asked to come play, invited to come play, you don’t pass it up.”
Team Funk got off to a blazing start with birdies at Nos. 1 and 2 and an eagle at 3, where Taylor – a member of the University of Texas golf team – hit a 3-wood from 265 yards to 30 feet and made the putt. They added birdies at Nos. 5, 7, 10, 11, 15 and 18 to post a 10-under 62.
“Birdie, birdie, eagle start,” the elder Funk said. “That’s a dream start. We played really good. I counted three really good opportunities that we missed and probably another two that we could have made.
The Funks tied for second in 2015 after a one-hole, four-team, sudden-death playoff won by Lanny and Tucker Wadkins. The defending champions are in a tie for 11thafter a first-round 66.
Five teams are tied for third at 9-under-par 63 including newcomers Retief and Leo Goosen, Raymond and Robert Floyd, Stewart and Connor Cink, Bernhard and Christina Langer, and Mark and Shaun O’Meara.
Fan favorites John and Little John Daly shot 64 to tie for eighth after 18 holes, while Team Nicklaus – featuring 18-time major winner Jack and his son, Jack II – shot 71 for 20th place.
“It was a blast to play,” said Daly. “To see a 13 year old be clutch like that was great when his daddy was all over the place. It was pretty cool.”
The final round of the PNC Father/Son Challenge will take place on Sunday at Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Orlando. The winning duo takes home the Willie Park belts – a nod to the father and son Open champions – and $200,000 first-place check.
PNC FATHER/SON CHALLENGE FIRST-ROUND INTERVIEWS
DAVID DUVAL AND NICK KARAVITES
Q. How did you play today?
NICK KARAVITES: We just scrambled. If I hit a bad shot, he hit a good shot. Scrambled, that’s the best way to put it.
Q. How special is it to be playing with your stepson?
DAVID DUVAL: Nick is like my own boy, just like Deano and Shalene. Deano played twice and now this is Nick’s second time. To have little Brayden, our littlest, caddy, it can’t get much better. Score is secondary. To go out and have fun and hit good golf shots, make a couple putts, that’s always enjoyable, but it’s secondary to walking around the golf course with the entire crew.
Q. How have things changed?
DAVID DUVAL: Like everyone, life moves on and it changes. There are other priorities in life. Anyone you talk to will tell you that this is the best week of the year. If you’re fortunate enough to be asked to come play, invited to come play, you don’t pass it up. We missed a couple years and it was hard to miss, but we’ve been chomping at the bit the last six or eight weeks since we found out we were coming.
Q. What’s it like to try to follow in David’s footsteps?
NICK KARAVITES: It’s really cool. There’s a lot of pressure on that first tee shot. Once you get going, you start enjoying it more and that fades away. There’s a couple other shots where you might feel (pressure), but it’s all fun. It’s a blast.
FRED AND TAYLOR FUNK10-under-par 62
Q. How good has Taylor’s game gotten?FRED FUNK: Physically, he has all the tools and mentally he’s pretty strong as well. He’s got everything he needs to go to the level he wants to go to?
Q. What level is that?
TAYLOR FUNK: The TOUR.
Q. What do you say about that, dad?
FRED FUNK: I say go. As soon as he gets his degree, he can go do what he wants. That’s the prerequisite.
Q. Take us through the eagle on the third hole.
FRED FUNK: Taylor over-hooked it. Normally, he would be out there and have an iron into that hole. We had to use my drive. He hit as good a 3-wood as anyone will ever hit.
TAYLOR FUNK: 265 to the hole.
FRED FUNK: Yeah, 265 and he hit a towering 3-wood to 30 feet and made it. It was a pure putt too. The minute it left the blade it looked good. We got off to a great start. Birdie, birdie, eagle start. That’s a dream start. We played really good. I counted three really good opportunities that we missed and probably another two that we could have made. We didn’t throw anything away, but we didn’t take advantage of a couple real good opportunities. You just don’t make them all unfortunately.
Q. What was the key to the 62 today?
FRED FUNK: Yeah, they put us out there to be the pacesetter and we were pacing really good. I figured 7 or 8-under on the front nine, but 6-under wasn’t bad. Then we birdied 10 and 11 out of the gate, but stalled out. Unfortunately, that’s where we could have made up some ground. At the start of the day, getting to 10-under is great, but I thought we had 12 or 13. You can’t look ahead because all the sudden you made a couple pars and it doesn’t work out like you were counting.
TAYLOR FUNK: I had a couple lipouts too.
FRED FUNK: We didn’t make any long (putts). We didn’t do anything too exciting. The 30-footer was really it.
Q. Taylor, your mom was an accomplished golfer. Who knows your game better – mom or dad?
TAYLOR FUNK: My mom knows my game better than my dad, for sure. She’s always been around it and can see stuff in my swing that he normally can’t see. He helps me in other ways.
FRED FUNK: She goes to all the lessons and sees what they are talking about, what they are working on. A lot of times, I put earmuffs on because I’m not a big swing guru. I’m fundamentals. He’s working with Travis (Fulton) now, who caddied for him today, and he has him on a great track.
TAYLOR FUNK: I worked with him in high school for three, four years and once I got to college I started working with Cameron McCormick. I just started back with Travis a couple months ago.
Q. What was the impetus for the change?
TAYLOR FUNK: I struggled in the fall and kept doing the same stuff over and over, so I decided I needed a change and get back to my roots. Travis helped me a lot to get to Texas.
Q. What was wrong with the swing?
TAYLOR FUNK: Just inconsistent ballstriking. I was hitting it left and right. Two-way miss. Hitting it off the toe. It wasn’t the ballstriking I needed to play any good at all. When I play bad, I should be 20th, 30th place in a tournament and I was finishing near the bottom. Trying to get my ballstriking more consistent, more compact.
Q. What are the changes?
TAYLOR FUNK: I’m getting back to a draw. Kind went to a cut, but I always see a draw. Working on a few technical things. Getting the elbow more tucked at the top. Getting the swing more compact and repeatable. I’m trying to work back into a draw release because I’m setup for a draw at the top. I’m pretty close. I don’t think I’m quite there for full tournament conditions without my dad’s straight drives, but I’ll be ready by the time the spring season starts.
Q. You’ve caddied for your dad a lot. What’s the difference between caddying for him and playing with him?
TAYLOR FUNK: Caddying for him, you’re his ears, yardages, doing everything for him trying to help him. Can’t control much else, give him the number and the club and hope and pray that he’s going to hit a good shot.
FRED FUNK: He’s on the right side of the bag. That’s where he needs to be.
Q. How confident are you heading into the spring with a team coming off a national championship?
TAYLOR FUNK: Yeah, we have a really good roster and once we start playing to our potential, we’ll be tough to beat. My game is turning around and the other guys are working hard at it. It will be fun in the spring.
Q. Fred, what wisdom have you tried to share with Taylor as he grows up?
FRED FUNK: If anything, it’s having fun with the game. Enjoy it. That’s hard to do and I’m a guy that he watches and I’m hard on myself. I expect a lot of myself. I get down o n m y self, but at the same time I’m grinding and I feel like I use that fire to go practice and work on it. I never give up. At the same time, that’s not the ideal mental state when you’re out there hotheaded. More than anything, when he first started, we wanted to instill a love of the game. I’m always working on something. I think I found something just last night with his teacher, who is also my teacher. I’m trying to get a little different backswing to give me more room. You have to have a different set of eyes. One thing that’s great with Taylor is that he’s a chameleon and he can change swings pretty effortlessly. It’s a lot of work, but he can get it into a new position, but it could also be a bad position if he’s not careful. He’s in a great spot right now. It’s a matter of fine-tuning it and trusting it. His miss is one side and he’ll overhook it a bit. When he was struggling last year and this fall, he didn’t know which was its going to go. He’s well on his way. His putting is great, chipping is great. He’s great mentally. If there is a downfall with Taylor it’s that he wants it so bad. He’s a better player than he has played. I feel like I have to prove myself and he feels that way, but he doesn’t. He just needs to let it happen. The bottom line is patience.
JOHN DALY AND LITTLE JOHN DALY
8-under par 64
JOHN DALY: Front nine we hit a lot of close shots. He hit some really good putts that didn’t go in, but we stayed patient and we had a run going on the back nine. If he missed it then he showed me a good enough line where I made it. His chipping was phenomenal. It was a blast to play. To see a 13 year old be clutch like that was great when his daddy was all over the place. It was pretty cool.
Q: You said Loudmouth was supplying the pans this week. What did you think when you saw these for today? (skulls with santa hats)
JOHN DALY: We love them. It’s the Christmas spirit. And skulls are in and Loudmouth is doing really good. It’s fun. You never know what Wood is going to come up with next.
STEVE ELKINGTON/SAM ELKINGTON
8-under par 64
Q: How has the week been for you?
Elkington: We have the whole family here this week and we’re really enjoying ourselves.
Q: Sam, how special is it for you to be here with your dad and walk the course with him and play with him and do things like this interview with him?
SAM ELKINGTON: You guys put on a great event here. We have so much fun. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for me coming out here playing with my dad.
Q: What do you want Sam to gain from these experiences?
STEVE ELKINGTON: I want him to hit it more in the fairway tomorrow. He put a lot of pressure on me today. No, what do I want him to gain? He’s already a great young man. He’s been around these great players his whole life and he’s very respectful. But I want him to enjoy these times together, because hey they are not going to be around forever. It won’t be like this forever.
Q: And how about those sentimental value about having all these greats in one place during one competition?
SAM ELKINGTON: It’s just unbelievable and to see the legends of the game is really cool.
JACK NICKLAUS/JACK NICKLAUS II
1-under par 71
LEE TREVINO/DANIEL TREVINO
4-under par 68
Q: Looked like some friendly competition out there. What’s it like to play together?
LT: We played like dogs out there. Haha.
JACK NICKLAUS: I was the bad dog.
LEE TREVINO: I thought I was playing pretty good and I tell you what. I laid the sod all over that ball today and it was pitiful.
JACK NICKLAUS: I would have loved to play how you did. You talked about laying the sod over the ball. I missed the sod.
LEE TREVINO: You know what though? We are on this side of the green grass and we’re not looking at the roots. That’s the great thing about it.
Q: But you’re having fun out there.
JACK NICKLAUS: You don’t understand the definition of fun.
Q: But you’re playing with your children!
LEE TREVINO: Let me sum this up for you. If it wasn’t for our kids we would not be here.
Q: Mr. Nicklaus any comments on that?
JACK NICKLAUS: I happen to agree with him 100%. But that’s alright. We really enjoy being with our kids not question about that but we would have liked to perform better for our sons. I played terrible. Lee played better than I did. But I was just awful. Jackie played well except for the last couple holes. He played really well for about 13-14 holes. Then when he couldn’t play well, I was just a dog coming home and I played awful.
LEE TREVINO: I killed all the mole crickets out there. Don’t bother me tomorrow, okay? (laughter)
Q: Let’s take it back to 1971.
JACK NICKLAUS: 71?
LEE TREVINO: Oh, come on. We can’t remember that. The other day I took the dog out and I couldn’t get back in the house because I couldn’t remember its name. (laughter) Don’t sell any commercials on this interview together.
JACK NICKLAUS: We’ve played a lot of golf together and we both enjoyed what we were. And both of us would still like to be able to play. Just a bit.
LEE TREVINO: It comes with father time. I haven’t seen the sickle yet but I’ve seen a few other things.
Q: Can you reflect on playing with others that appreciate the game as much as you two do.
LEE TREVINO: We had a great gallery today and I really appreciate that. I’m sure Jack does too. For them to come out here and watch two old guys, I mean they can outhit us with a 5 iron but they enjoy watching us. You know what? They look at the records and that’s what records are for. He’s got one that will never be broken. Never be broken.
JACK NICKLAUS: It I didn’t have that record I wouldn’t be here and neither would Lee. So we are quite blessed to be here. Lee just turned 77 and I’m about to turn 77. We are still looking at the grass. We are still able to get around, we are able to wave at the people and say hello and can get on the green and putt occasionally. We would’ve liked to make more putts for our sons.
LEE TREVINO: I have good socks that are your age. (laughter)
David Duval/Nick Karavites
Making their fourth start in the PNC Father/Son Challenge, and first since 2013 (T13), David Duval and stepson Nick Karavites birdied Nos. 1, 3-7, 13-16 and 18 to open with an 11-under 61 and take the first round lead by a stroke over Fred and Taylor Funk.
In their first start of 2007, Team Duval opened with an 11-under 61 at ChampionsGate Resort en route to their best finish in the event of T9. That year, Duval competed with Nick’s older brother Deano.
A year after losing in a playoff at the PNC Father/Son Challenge to Lanny and Tucker Wadkins, 2005 PLAYERS Championship winner Fred Funk, along with son Taylor, followed birdies at Nos. 1 and 2 with an eagle-3 at the third hole. Another birdie at the par-5 fifth hole moved them to 5-under through five holes. The Funks would add five more birdies at Nos. 7, 10, 11, 15 and 18 to post a 10-under 62.
In the duo’s only other start in the PNC Father/Son Challenge before last year’s playoff loss, Team Funk finished T6 in 2012.
Making their first start in the PNC Father/Son Challenge, Retief and Leo Goosen opened with a 9-under 63. The pair made birdies at Nos. 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 16 and 18.
With a win tomorrow, the Goosens would become just the third team to win in their first start in the event and first since Stewart and Connor Cink in 2013. Raymond Floyd and Ray Floyd, Jr. won the inaugural PNC Father/Son Challenge title in 1995.
In round one, Raymond and Robert Floyd opened with a 9-under 63, making birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18.
Floyd is one of just four players who have competed in all 19 PNC Father/Son Challenge events. Larry Nelson, Hale Irwin and Lee Trevino are the others.
Floyd, a five-time winner of the PNC Father/Son Challenge, has won more than anyone. Larry Nelson and Bernhard Langer trail him with three wins each in the event.
John Daly/Little John Daly
Like Team Goosen, John Daly and 13-year-old son Little John Daly are making their first start in this year’s PNC Father/Son Challenge. The combo made eight birdies in round one (Nos. 3, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 18). They opened with an 8-under 64.
Making their fifth consecutive start in the PNC Father/Son Challenge, Steve and Sam Elkington made six birdies, before finishing with an eagle-three at the 18th hole to open with an 8-under 64.
“Sam hit a great drive up the right, giving us a short distance in,” the elder Elkington said. “I was able to sneak a 6-iron up onto the front. He reminded me that we had made that same exact putt two years ago. So, we did it again.”
Steve sank the putt for eagle from 30 feet.
Last year, the Elkington’s opened with an 11-under 61 en route to a T11 finish. Their best showing in the event is T2 in 2013.
Defending champions Lanny and Tucker Wadkins opened with a 6-under 66.
Raymond Floyd (1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001), Larry Nelson (2004, 2007, 2008) and Bernhard Langer (2006, 2007) are the only teams to successfully defend a PNC Father/Son Challenge title.