Larry the Cable Guy Joins Principal Charity Classic Pro-Am Field

Popular comedian and actor Larry the Cable Guy is bringing his golf game to the 2017 Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, in Des Moines. The annual event, named the 2016 PGA TOUR Champions Tournament of the Year, is slated for June 6-11 at historic Wakonda Club.

Larry the Cable Guy is a multiplatinum recording artist, Grammy nominee, Billboard award winner and one of the top comedians in the country. Born Daniel Whitney in Pawnee City, Nebraska, he has his own line of Larry the Cable Guy merchandise and continues to sell out theatres and arenas across the United States. His latest comedy special, “We’ve Been Thinking”, can be seen on Netflix, and he will also reprise his role as Mater in upcoming CARS 3 movie this June.

Fans can watch Larry the Cable Guy play in the Wednesday Pro-Am on June 7 at the Principal Charity Classic.

“I love to get out on the golf course and to make people laugh – and hey, when those two things go together, it’s a really good time,” said Larry the Cable Guy, who played in the AT&T Celebrity Challenge at Pebble Beach earlier this year and maintains a 12.8 golf handicap. “A tournament like the Principal Charity Classic is truly awesome. Des Moines is close to home for me, and when I heard this event had raised almost $10 million for Iowa kids, I wanted to be part of it.”

In addition to his success as Larry the Cable Guy, the Grammy-nominated funnyman is known for his charitable work. In 2009, Whitney and his wife Cara established The Git-R-Done Foundation – named after his signature catchphrase – to support organizations helping children and veterans. The charitable foundation has made numerous donations, including a $5 million gift to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida, to form The International Hip Dysplasia Institute in 2010. The couple’s son, Wyatt Whitney, was successfully treated for hip dysplasia at the hospital as an infant.

“We’re excited that Larry the Cable Guy was inspired to join us at the 2017 Principal Charity Classic after learning about the tournament’s charitable and community impact, which continues to grow each year,” said Tournament Director Greg Conrad. “He has achieved a lot of success in his career and has made it a personal priority to give back, especially in support of children’s and veteran’s causes. And supporting Iowa kids and the community is what the Principal Charity Classic is all about.”

The Principal Charity Classic raised a record $2,053,725 for Iowa children’s charities in 2016, bringing the tournament’s 10-year charitable giving total to nearly $10 million. More than 83,000 spectators attended last year’s tournament.

Get tickets

Tickets to the Principal Charity Classic start at just $20, and can be purchased online at principalcharityclassic.com or at the event’s main entrance gate during tournament week.

As a reminder, kids 15 and under may attend the Principal Charity Classic for free if accompanied by a ticketed adult. Complimentary admission is also provided for all active duty, retired and reserve military along with their dependents.

For more information about the Principal Charity Classic, visit principalcharityclassic.com.


Fred Couples Commits To Field For 2017 Principal Charity Classic

The Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, the annual PGA TOUR Champions event in Des Moines, is pleased to announce legendary golfer Fred Couples has committed to play in the 2017 Principal Charity Classic. The tournament will take place June 6-11 at historic Wakonda Club.

Couples, who joins fellow World Golf Hall of Fame member Bernhard Langer in the tournament field, has won more than 60 professional golf events – including the 1992 Masters Tournament and the 1984 and 1996 PLAYERS Championships. In addition to his Masters win, Couples has recorded top-three finishes in the PGA TOUR’s three additional majors: the U.S. Open (T3, 1991), The Open Championship (T3, 1991 and ’05) and the PGA Championship (2nd, 1990).

Nicknamed “Boom Boom” because of his tremendous power off the tee, Couples is a five-time member of the United States Ryder Cup team. He has also served as captain of three victorious U.S. Presidents Cup squads (2009, ’11, ’13).

“We are thrilled to welcome Fred Couples back to Des Moines and the Principal Charity Classic,” said Greg Conrad, Principal Charity Classic Tournament Director. “Fred is one of golf’s true legends. Many of us grew up watching and cheering for him, and in awe of his effortless swing – which has allowed him to remain very competitive on the PGA TOUR, as well as the PGA TOUR Champions. Most importantly, we are excited for Des Moines, which continues to draw golf’s very best because of the community’s outstanding support.”

Since winning PGA TOUR Champions “Rookie of the Year” honors in 2010, Couples has notched 13 victories, including the 2011 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and the 2012 Senior Open Championship.

Couples, 57, made his first and only previous appearance at the Principal Charity Classic in 2010, when he finished T11 with rounds of 70-70-66 at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. The 2017 Principal Charity Classic will mark his first time competing at Wakonda Club.

 In addition to Couples, current player commitments for the 2017 Principal Charity Classic include 2016 tournament champion Scott McCarron and 2016 PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year Bernhard Langer, as well as John Daly, Jesper Parnevik, Billy Andrade, Mark Calcavecchia, Fred Funk, Jay Haas, Tom Lehman, Rocco Mediate, Tom Pernice, Jr., David Toms and Fuzzy Zoeller, among other fan favorites.

The Principal Charity Classic was named the PGA TOUR Champions Tournament of the Year in 2016 and has raised nearly $10 million to benefit Iowa children’s charities in the past decade.

Get a ‘Couples’ of tickets for the price of one

To celebrate Fred Couples’ return to the Principal Charity Classic, the tournament is offering a special ticket discount for fans. To get a 2-for-1 price on Good-Any-One-Day tickets to the Principal Charity Classic, simply enter promo code COUPLES when purchasing tickets online at principalcharityclassic.com now through tournament week.

As a reminder, kids 15 and under may attend the Principal Charity Classic for free if accompanied by a ticketed adult. Complimentary admission is also provided for all active duty, retired and reserve military along with their dependents.

For more information about the Principal Charity Classic, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit principalcharityclassic.com.


Volunteer Profile: Meet Maggie Hatcher.

You may not know Maggie Hatcher, but she’s a very important person.

She is one of the approximately 1,200 volunteers who make the Principal Charity Classic run like clockwork. Or in Maggie’s case, a most experienced volunteer. She’s worked the tournament every year since it arrived in Greater Des Moines in 2001.

That covers 16 tournaments, three host golf courses, two title sponsors and one terrific volunteer.

“It’s a labor of love,” said Hatcher, who is from Harlan. “I’m going to be 79 in August. If the health holds, I’ll keep doing it.”

Principal Charity Classic volunteer Maggie Hatcher of Harlan.

Maggie has held three different jobs at the golf course in her volunteer career.

“I kind of go wherever,” she said. “And they take good care of me.”

Hatcher started as a walking scorer, then worked in radio control. Now Maggie serves as a marshal on Wakonda’s 14th tee.

Not bad for someone who got shut out the first time she tried to volunteer, at the 1999 U.S. Senior Open at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club. She applied, but all the spots had already been spoken for.

That U.S. Senior Open smashed records, and caught the attention of the PGA TOUR.

“All of a sudden, the PGA TOUR realized there’s a market out here,” Hatcher said. “I was so happy when I heard one was coming here. And we are so lucky. I have friends in Omaha, and they have a Web.com TOUR event there. They would give anything to have a PGA TOUR Champions event over there.”

It was the first week of December, 2000, when the PGA TOUR announced that a senior event scheduled for 2001 in Indianapolis, Ind., wouldn’t take place because Comfort Inns had dropped title sponsorship. Des Moines officials, expecting an event starting in 2002, suddenly had 10 months to make the Allianz Championship at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines a reality.

Maggie still has the golf shirt and pullover that volunteers were given that first year. She keeps it because one of her favorite players, Fred Couples, owned the company that made the shirt.

Maggie Hatcher, 78, displays her volunteer uniform from the 2001 Allianz Championship in Des Moines.

She used to keep a lot of things, like the golf balls the players signed and gave to her after each round, the pairings, the golf shirt she received every year and other momentos. She’s given most of that stuff away, or thrown it out.

“As you get older, you get rid of a lot of stuff,” Hatcher said.

But she has kept her tournament badges, the one keepsake from her annual trek to Des Moines. It’s the friends she’s made, the golfers she’s met and plenty of memories that mean more to her than material goods.

“I always had good people to walk with,” Maggie said. “I don’t care whether it was a name player or just some guy who was working every day who just loved the game of golf. I always liked to score the pro-ams, because you kind of get to know the player better, and you see the communication they have with the other four (amateur) players. They have to have the patience of God.”

Golf found its way into Hatcher’s life long before the PGA TOUR Champions made its way to Des Moines. She used to volunteer at an LPGA event in Springfield, Ill., and even served as tournament chairman one year.

“That’s something that stayed with me,” she said. “I’ve always been a big sports nut.”

Later on, she worked for Executive Sports in Delray Beach, Fla., which managed golf tournaments, including some on the PGA TOUR. Two years later she returned home to Harlan.

And when she heard that Greater Des Moines was getting a senior event, she jumped at the opportunity to volunteer.

When she started as a walking scorer in 2001, hole-by-hole scores were kept on paper and radioed into scoring central. In 2012, her last year in that job, she carried a hand-held device that automatically registered the score.

Hatcher learned one valuable lesson: when in doubt, the caddie is your best friend.

“Most of the guys are very easy to work for,” Maggie said. “But if I didn’t pick up a score or something, I just asked the caddie. I didn’t bother the player.”

Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter Rick Brown and Maggie Hatcher at Wakonda Club.

Maggie wasn’t able to continue as a walking scorer in 2013 because of heart issues. So radio control became her home. But she felt like she was missing the action.

“I said, ‘You know, I want to get back out on the course,’ ” she said.

So in 2015, she joined up with some volunteer friends who used to work the 13th hole at Glen Oaks. They now keep things in order on Wakonda’s 14th tee. And that’s where she’ll be for her 17th tournament.

“We’re blessed with a tremendous volunteer tent, thanks to Bob Clark and his crew,” Maggie said.

Whether it’s a good meal or a thank you, Hatcher feels appreciated for the work she does.

“It’s fun,” she said. “And to me it’s the camaraderie, and coming back and seeing the people.”

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter

 


Thank you to our first responders.

New this year, the Principal Charity Classic in partnership with Electronic Engineering, is proud to provide first responders (law enforcement, fire, EMS) and their families with free admission and skybox tickets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (June 9-11) of tournament week. This offer is a small token of thanks for their tireless work in our communities.

The first responders skybox on the 16th Green at Wakonda Club provides a great view of golf, and includes free food and drinks.

First responders can learn more and claim their skybox vouchers here: principalcharityclassic.com/firstresponders


10 Questions with Scott McCarron

2016 Principal Charity Classic Champion Scott McCarron (left) and Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter Rick Brown.

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter

RB: Hale Irwin won 45 PGA TOUR Champions titles. You had dinner with him at last year’s Regions Tradition tournament (two weeks before the 2016 Principal Charity Classic) to pick his brain about why he was successful. You’ve won three times since. What advice did he give you?

SM: The main thing I took out of it was this: Find out what type of player you are and be that player. I was always trying to be the heroic guy, hit the heroic shot, go for broke. When I got in the hunt, if I was one up, I wanted to be seven up. I was always trying to do too much. I realized I’ve got to be more patient out there, kind of let the tournaments come to me, and see where I’m at the last couple of holes. Just be patient.

RB: Patience is a big reason why you won last year at Wakonda, right?

SM: I was very patient. I didn’t make a lot of birdies the last day, just kind of hanging in there. And then, lo and behold, I birdie 16, 17 and 18 to win. That showed me I’ve got to be a lot more patient because I was trying to force things a little too much. Especially just coming out to the PGA TOUR Champions. You want to win, you want to play well, you think you’ve got this five-year window and you want to get it done. If I stay in shape, I can have a 10-12-year window. No reason to rush it, let’s just be patient and hit the shots you know you can hit.

RB: You talk about not going for the heroic shot, but you win here by closing with three straight birdies, you win the 2016 Dominion Charity Classic in a playoff and you win the 2017 Allianz Championship with an eagle on the final hole.

SM: True, but I got in all those positions because I was patient. And then I was able to pull off a shot when I needed it. But even at the Dominion, I had about the same length putt I had here to win (10-footer on No. 18) and missed it. But I didn’t let it bother me. I lost in a playoff to Colin Montgomerie in Canada (Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship). You’re not going to win them all.

RB: You won three times on the PGA TOUR, and you were one of the first to use a long putter. Would you say that putting kept you from winning even more?

SM: Putting did not hold me back one bit. I was an excellent putter. But I putted with a long putter. Nothing held me back on the regular tour, except it’s hard. I won three times, lost a couple of playoffs, had some Top 10s in majors. I had a nice career. But not like a guy who won 10 or 12 times. I really feel like I should have won five or six, seven events on the PGA TOUR. Which would have been a really good career for me.  Unfortunately I only won three. But I still won.

RB: You hadn’t won a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event in 16 years (287 events since the 2001 BellSouth Classic) prior to last year’s Principal Charity Classic. Did that even enter your mind when you came down the stretch on Sunday at the Principal?

SM: Zero. I hadn’t won since 2001, but the feeling you have trying to win a golf tournament doesn’t go away.  It doesn’t matter if you’re on the PGA TOUR Champions, the PGA TOUR or your club championship. We still have the same feelings anybody has going to win a tournament. It’s calming yourself, clearing your mind and hitting the shots you need to have.

RB: You played your final 47 holes without a bogey at Wakonda last year. That’s remarkable.

SM: I remember the only bogey I made was on No. 7 (in the first round). I ran a 35-footer about 5 feet by. And as I was putting some car went down the road and honked right in my backswing. I’m like, “Really?” That was the only bogey I made all week. The guy got me. A White Cutlass Supreme. I wish I would have gotten the license number.

RB: You won three times in a 17-month stretch, shortly after getting married in April of 2016. What role has your wife Jenny played in your success?

SM: She’s been amazing. We’ve been together for about 5 years now. She has been so supportive. Because there was a time, when we started dating, where I was injured. I had to have thumb surgery  to have a bone spur removed. I wasn’t playing that well. I had a couple years to get ready for the PGA TOUR Champions, which I was really looking forward to. We were going out and playing the Web.com Tour, and she was caddying for me at some events. Staying in podunk hotels, trying to save some money.  It was tough. And she was so supportive. And then I got the job with Fox to do announcing. And there was a little bit of me that said, “I don’t know if I’m going to be good enough on the PGA TOUR Champions to keep doing it.” And she kept pushing me. She said, “You know what? You are. This is what you love to do.” Her being a fitness instructor and triathlete, I was training a lot with her, getting in shape. And she was a huge motivational factor for me to practice and prepare for the PGA TOUR Champions.

RB: You’ve got some interesting hobbies, like flying, mountain biking, fly fishing and guitar. Do they help you get away from golf?

SM: Absolutely. We love to fly fish. I got my pilot’s license back in college, so I was flying and doing quite a bit of that. I’m not flying now.  I’m a member of a race track. We go out there and race cars a little bit.

RB: It sounds like you enjoy living on the edge a bit.

SM: I like doing something that occupies my mind so that I’m not thinking about golf because golf can be very consuming. You’ve got to get away. And when I’m fly-fishing, it’s that next cast. I’m not thinking about anything in golf.

RB: When you come back to a place where you’ve won, is it a nice feeling?

SM: Just driving in the parking lot here (at Wakonda Club), I got a “whoa” feeling. Those emotions come flooding back. Because this was a very exciting time, to win your first event. I love this golf course. I love how well this event is supported by the city, the fans, the sponsors, the volunteers – everyone. The Principal Charity Classic is one of the best-run tournaments we play on the PGA TOUR Champions. It feels like a major. Having that many people come out and watch us play really is a thrill.


Watch the MidAmerican Energy Green Canyon come to life.

The MidAmerican Energy “Green Canyon” made its debut at last year’s Principal Charity Classic and will be even bigger and better in 2017.

Thanks to our friends at KCCI 8, you can watch live – 24 hours a day – as the picturesque, natural canyon formed by Holes 16, 17 and 18 takes shape for tournament week! The Green Canyon features the fan-favorite Hornitos Hacienda Party Deck, great viewing areas, HD video boards and much more.

So, take a look and don’t forget to get your Principal Charity Classic tickets today! Available online at principalcharityclassic.com/tickets.