via press release:
Ritz Carlton Golf Club Orlando Grande Lakes to host celebrated family-oriented event
benefiting Arnold Palmer Hospitals for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies
The Father/Son Challenge, a tournament that for 14 years saw many legends of golf team up with their sons in this unique, family-oriented championship event, will return this fall after a three-year hiatus thanks to a new title sponsor in PNC Bank.
The multi-year agreement was announced today by PNC Father/Son Challenge ambassador Arnold Palmer, and James E. Rohr, chairman and chief executive officer of the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. The Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Grand Lakes Resort in Orlando, Florida will host the event’s return December 15-16 with a portion of proceeds from the event benefiting Arnold Palmer Hospitals for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando. Palmer, Rohr and PNC have a long-term relationship that stems from their western Pennsylvania ties. The event will again be broadcast on NBC.
“The PNC Father/Son Challenge has always been an event that celebrates family as much as it does championship golf, and like my fellow pros, and fans of the game, I am thrilled and thankful to PNC Bank,” said Palmer. “For many years we talked about how the Father/Son Challenge was one of our favorite events to play in all year, not only because it featured a field filled exclusively with major or Players Championship winners, but because it allowed us to share a moment in our career, and our passion for the game, with those that we love the most.”
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 have held a Tour card at any point, and while the majority of partners in the history of the event have been the sons of the golf legends, the family-themed tournament has seen a daughter, grandson, and even close family friends participate over the years. 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.
“PNC’s support of the Father/Son Challenge reflects the values and focus on relationships that we share with Arnold and the partners who are bringing back this prestigious tournament,” Rohr said. “As the nation’s fifth largest bank, this tournament is a perfect platform to raise the visibility of our brand and, at the same time, support golf among families along with a great cause in the Arnold Palmer Hospitals for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.”
The Father/Son Challenge was founded in 1995 by NBC Sports and IMG, the world’s leading sports, entertainment and media company, and since that time has been jointly owned by IMG and NBC Sports.
“We are pleased to have the Father/Son Challenge back on the schedule and we are grateful to PNC for undertaking this sponsorship,” said Mike Stevens, Champions Tour President. “All of the players who are eligible for this event are excited about this unique opportunity and look forward to spending the weekend on the course with their sons, competing against some of the greatest players the game has witnessed.”
“We are extremely proud of our heritage as co-founder of the Father/Son Challenge, one of golf’s most special events, and excited to have it back on the NBC schedule,” said Jon Miller, president, Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “Through the collective efforts of PNC Bank, Ritz Carlton and IMG, golf families nationwide can now share in the joy of this unique tournament.”
“We have firmly believed that the game of golf missed the Father/Son Challenge, and seeing its return has been a high priority for us as a company, but also for me personally,” said Alastair Johnston, vice chairman of IMG. “It will always be known as the Father/Son Challenge, but in reality, it is a celebration of family and our shared love of the game. In the past we have seen Arnold Palmer play alongside his grandson, Sam, and Fuzzy Zoeller partnering with his daughter, Gretchen. In a very moving moment in 2008, Paul Azinger teamed up with Aaron Stewart, the son of the late golf legend Payne Stewart and Paul’s close friend. I think that highlighted perfectly what this tournament is all about. IMG is grateful to PNC, as well as NBC and the Ritz Carlton, for recognizing the importance of this special tournament and helping to make its return a reality.”
“We are very pleased to welcome the PNC Father/Son Challenge to Grande Lakes Orlando,” said Jim Burns, vice president and managing director of Grande Lakes Orlando. “This family-focused tournament solidifies our position as Orlando’s premier luxury resort for families and we look forward to hosting the players during this prestigious event.”