Nicklaus Eyes PNC Father/Son Challenge Prize with Grandson
Eighteen-time Major winner, former Father/Son champion and the most decorated player in the all-star 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge field, Jack Nicklaus, is set to make his 16th appearance in the tournament and his first with 15-year-old Grandson, Gary “GT” Nicklaus.
At the age of 77, The Golden Bear joins Arnold Palmer as the only competitor to play alongside a grandson having usually played alongside his sons, Jack and Gary, on alternating years.
Talking about the opportunity Nicklaus said, ‘GT is the only grandson that plays out of my 22 grandchildren. This year was Gary’s turn, Jack and Gary take it in turns and Gary turned to me and said I want you to play with my son, GT is only one that plays golf properly. He’s going to be a lot better than he is now but it’s going to be a great experience for him.’
New for 2017, is the creation of a ‘Legends’ tee for competitors ages 70+, a decision made by tournament organisers and welcomed with open arms by Nicklaus. Spectators will now see the professionals playing the Grande Lakes course at 6,885 yards, the high school-aged competitors at 6,464 yards, and the ‘Legends’ (70+) at 6,089 yards.
Commenting on the change, Nicklaus said, ‘They haven’t moved them up enough to where it is ridiculous but they’ve moved them to where somebody my age should be so that’s good. We played half a dozen of my tee shots today and that’s six more than we’ve played in the last five years.’
The duo get their tournament underway tomorrow at 10:36, partnered with Lee Trevino and his son, Daniel. Nicklaus has a lot of history paired with Trevino and was complimentary of his game ahead of the first round.
Nicklaus said, ‘I have a lot of memories together, we’ve always had fun. I’ve always thought he was pretty good, a great striker of the ball, a great player, a guy I enjoy watching very much. I’ve always said Hogan and Trevino are the two best ball strikers I’ve ever seen.’
In contrast to Nicklaus, another World Hall of Famer to tee it up in tomorrow’s first round is Australian, Greg Norman, who enters the week having not played since 2008. He’s making his fourth appearance in the event and first since the tournament moved to the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club alongside his son, Greg Norman Jr.
Talking about his decision to return to the tournament and their chances of winning Greg Norman commented, ‘We’re here for a reason. He is playing a lot better than I am. I started practicing and playing in the last three or four weeks. Each day is a babystep, getting better and better. Greg has been playing a lot of golf.’
Equally happy to be at the event and despite Norman’s efforts to talk down his form, Greg Norman Jr. was upbeat about his Father’s game.
‘Make no mistake, he stills hits the shots out there. His short game is amazing. He still drives it beautifully, 290, 300. It’s amazing to watch.’
The pair get their tournament underway alongside Irish debutants Padraig and Paddy Harrington at 10:00am.
The 2017 Father/Son Challenge field includes more than 500 victories across the PGA TOUR, European Tour and PGA TOUR Champions, 57 major championships and 9 World Golf Hall of Fame members.
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.
Tickets are priced at $15 per day or $45 for a full tournament pass (four days), and can be purchased at pncfathersonchallenge.com or by calling (920) 632-8464. Active military receive complimentary admission, as do children, age 15 years and younger, with an accompanying adult.
The PNC Father/Son Challenge is operated in partnership by IMG and NBC Sports.
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC) is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com.
About NBC Sports Group
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN, Golf Channel, NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital, which includes NBCSports.com,NBCOlympics.com, GolfChannel.com, the digital assets of the NBC Sports Regional Networks, Rotoworld, the NBC Sports Talk franchise, multiple apps, and two transactional sports businesses, GolfNow and SportsEngine. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA TOUR, The R&A, PGA of America, Churchill Downs, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, Formula One, IndyCar and many more.
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network.
About Grande Lakes Orlando
Grande Lakes Orlando is a 500-acre resort with a luxury 582-room Ritz-Carlton and deluxe 1,000-room JW Marriott hotel situated at the headwaters of the Florida Everglades. Orlando’s luxury leader provides an authentic, local experience from its farm-to-fork dining offerings to its Grande Lakes Sports experiences, which include kayaking, eco-tours on Shingle Creek, mountain bike trail and a fishing school. Grande Lakes presents the culinary mastery of award-winning Chefs Norman Van Aken and Melissa Kelly’s PRIMO. The resort’s renowned farm-to-fork culinary program showcases its on-site apiaries and 18,000-square-foot Whisper Creek Farm in Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen at JW Marriott Orlando and Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, as well as The Brewery, an on-property nano-brewery and Chef’s Table.
Guests at both hotels can enjoy all the facilities and services at Grande Lakes Orlando, including the 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Greg Norman, the 40,000-square-foot three-story Ritz-Carlton Spa with total-wellness treatments and a rooftop eco-space. 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 space. The estate is located 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport, five minutes from the Orange County Convention Center and minutes from the major theme parks. Membership offerings are also available through The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes Members Club. For more information about Grande Lakes Orlando, visit www.grandelakes.com. Follow Grande Lakes Orlando on Twitter at @RC_Orlando and @JW_Orlando