Give the gift of golf this holiday season.

Shopping for a golfer this holiday season? Set them up to play a round of golf at historic Wakonda Club, home of the Principal Charity Classic!

For a limited time, you can save 20% on the Wakonda Golf Experience, which includes golf at Wakonda, plus exclusive, weeklong clubhouse badges good for the 2019 Principal Charity Classic.

Available for an individual or twosome.

Holiday shoppers are also encouraged to check out our Principal Charity Classic holiday package, which is a great gift to give and share.

The holiday package includes:

  • Two commemorative gallery tickets to attend the 2019 Principal Charity Classic
  • Two official Principal Charity Classic hats and lanyards
  • One VIP tournament parking pass

Valued at $95, the Principal Charity Classic holiday package is currently available for $49.99.

And the best part? Every purchase benefits Iowa children’s charities.

Grab these great holiday deals now exclusively at principalcharityclassic.com/tickets.

 


Principal Charity Classic sets new charitable giving record.

Champion giving for champion kids.

The Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, today announced its 2018 tournament raised $4,356,321 in support of Iowa kids, besting the event’s previous record of nearly $3.6 million set just one year ago.

The annual PGA TOUR Champions event in Des Moines has now donated more than $17.7 million since 2007.

“The Principal Charity Classic is invested in the future of Iowa kids, and the tournament’s remarkable impact is truly a shared success story,” said Dan Houston, chairman, president and CEO of Principal. “This year marks the first time the Principal Charity Classic has exceeded $4 million in charitable funds raised – and together, we’re not stopping there.

“With the outstanding support of the community and our many committed partners, we’re looking forward to the Principal Charity Classic giving back in a big way for years to come.”

In 2018, a record 378 companies – from small business owners to international corporations – sponsored the Principal Charity Classic. Principal has served as the event’s title sponsor since 2007, along with Wells Fargo as presenting sponsor.

Helping Iowa kids succeed.

The Principal Charity Classic impacted the lives of more than 130,000 kids statewide last year. And that reach continues to grow.

More than 100 non-profit organizations and K-12 schools throughout Iowa are enrolled in the tournament’s year-round Birdies For Charity program. Participants earn a 10% match on their fundraising efforts thanks to the generous support of Sammons Financial Group, Wells Fargo and the organizers of Party on the Hill, a private, tournament-week event that raised $120,000 in 2018.

Additionally, tournament proceeds provide support to six Tournament Charity Partners in the Des Moines area: Blank Children’s Hospital, Bravo Greater Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Mercy Medical Center, the United Way of Central Iowa and Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa.

Celebrating Kids Can Champions.

In 2018, Principal introduced a new tournament program called Kids Can Champions to recognize local children who have overcome challenges and made amazing progress in their lives (watch video here).

Tournament Charity Partners were asked to nominate deserving children, ages 5-17, meeting the following criteria: 1) the child faced and overcame a significant challenge; 2) received support from multiple non-profits that benefit from Principal Charity Classic funds; and 3) would serve as an inspirational role model for other kids.

From the nominations received, four local children were selected as the 2018 Kids Can Champions. Each child received a special reward based on their individual passions and goals for the future, ranging from a trip to Wrigley Field to cheer on the Chicago Cubs to a new computer to assist with school work and college applications.

To learn more about the Principal Charity Classic or to make an online donation in support of the tournament’s year-round charitable giving efforts, visit principalcharityclassic.com.


Great deals that give back.

You won’t want to miss this: Our entire tournament merchandise inventory is on sale now, exclusively online and while supplies last!

Plus, shoppers will receive a FREE bobblehead of 2017 Principal Charity Classic Brandt Jobe with any purchase of $25 or more.

And the best part? All proceeds benefit Iowa kids.

Shop now: principalcharityclassicstore.com


Principal Charity Classic announces 2019 tournament dates.

Save the date!

The Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, the annual and award-winning PGA TOUR Champions event in Des Moines, is moving up one week on the calendar in 2019.

The tournament dates for next year are May 28-June 2, 2019.

The 2019 Principal Charity Classic will immediately follow the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, set for May 21-26 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., on next year’s PGA TOUR Champions schedule.

Last year, Principal extended its Principal Charity Classic title sponsorship through 2023. Principal has served as title sponsor since 2007, along with Wells Fargo as presenting sponsor. The extension announcement included the tournament’s host venue, with Wakonda Club set to host the Principal Charity Classic through 2023.

The tournament has donated more than $13 million – and counting – for Iowa children’s charities since it began. In 2017, the Principal Charity Classic donated a record $3,581,427 and touched the lives of more than 130,000 Iowa kids.

The Principal Charity Classic will announce the total charitable dollars raised by its 2018 tournament later this summer.

Ticket sales for the 2019 tournament will open later this year as well.

For more information, visit principalcharityclassic.com.

 


Recap: Tom Lehman is the 2018 Principal Charity Classic champion.

When one weather delay turned into another Sunday at the Principal Charity Classic, Tom Lehman grew antsy as he sat in his West Des Moines hotel room.

He said he felt like a placekicker getting iced by the opposing coach with timeout after timeout before a field-goal attempt.

Lehman, the leader by two shots, got to the point where he couldn’t take it any more. He and his daughter, Rachael, who also caddies for him, headed to Jordan Creek Mall. She was in a store, buying makeup, when Tom’s phone rang.

“Pay for it,” Tom told his daughter. “We’ve got to go.”

Lehman had just received a message that tournament officials were close to making a decision on whether or not the third round would be played.

On the drive to the Wakonda Club, Lehman got another call from Joe Terry, a PGA TOUR Champions rules official. No golf. Father and daughter celebrated.

“As much as you can in a car as you’re driving, yeah,” Lehman said.

Lehman’s record 36-hole score of 131 (66-65), 13 under par for two laps around Wakonda, was good for a two-shot victory over Bernhard Langer, Scott Parel, Glen Day and Woody Austin. Langer was in the hunt for a 38th PGA TOUR Champions title.

“I finally found a way to beat Bernhard Langer,” Lehman joked.

With 13 players within five shots of the lead heading into the final round, Sunday promised to be a day of drama and great golf. This is the first weather-shortened event in the tournament’s 18-year history.

“I feel bad for the fans,” Lehman said. “I think they were going to get a great show with all the low scores.”

Friday’s attendance of 26,465 was a first-round record. Another 26,431 were on hand Saturday. They saw the field average 70.519 shots on Friday, a record low at Wakonda. It lasted one day. The field broke it by averaging 70.195 strokes on Saturday.

“Tom Lehman set a two-day course record, which is a big deal,” said Dan Houston, the chairman, president and CEO of Principal. “Things really went off perfectly the last two days. And I assure you one thing. We’re not going to let the last day of bad weather take away from what has been a fantastic tournament.”

Houston predicted the tournament would pass the record $3,581,427 raised for charity last year.

Lehman has now won 11 times on the PGA TOUR Champions. He won five times on the PGA TOUR, including the 1996 British Open.

“Kind of a hollow victory,” Lehman said. “A backdoor victory. But I’ll take it.”

Lehman had finished eighth or better in his previous six Principal Charity Classic appearances. He’s broken par in all 20 rounds he has played in the event and compiled a sporty 68.43 stroke average.

This victory, on a course he first played in college when he attended the University of Minnesota, serves as bookends of sorts for Lehman’s outstanding career.

“I think I was 19 when I played here for the first time in the (Drake Relays) tournament,” Lehman said.

Lehman won that Drake title. Sunday, the 59-year-old was a winner at Wakonda again.

“So 40 years of golfing experience, going back,” Lehman said. “And so to come back at this level, I think it’s kind of unique. It’s one of those little things that nobody really knows or cares about but the people who were a part of it.”

Lehman said his daughter will get her full share of the winner’s check of $262,500, even though Sunday turned into a day off.

“If I get a full share, she gets a full share,” Lehman said.

Rachael has been an ideal caddie for her dad.

“She doesn’t know that much about golf,” Lehman said. “But she’s extremely supportive.”

Rachael, 28, who is married, loves her current job.

“I’ve always been a daddy’s girl, but it definitely helps to be closer and spent quality time with him,” she said.

It was a winning combination for the Lehmans on Sunday, without a swing of the club.

“It’s nice to win,” said Lehman, the only golfer to ever be named the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and Web.com TOUR player of the year. “I have to be honest, 20 years from now no one’s really going to care too much about how you won, but a win’s a win.”

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter


Recap: Round 2 at the Principal Charity Classic.

Tom Lehman’s track record at the Principal Charity Classic has been consistently impressive.

He’s never placed outside the Top 10 in six previous appearances at this PGA TOUR Champions stop. In fact, a tie for eighth is his worst finish. On Sunday, the Minnesota native would like to finish what he started.

“You better believe it would be nice to win here,” said Lehman, who takes a two-shot lead into the final round after a 7-under-par 65 Saturday. “But there are a lot of good players, and a lot of low scores.”

Lehman’s only bogey of the tournament, at the 18th hole Saturday, gave him a 36-hole score of 131. It’s the lowest 36-hole score since the PGA TOUR Champions event moved from Glen Oaks to Wakonda in 2013. The 65 was also a career low for Lehman in 20 Principal Charity Classic rounds. All 20 rounds have been under par.

That final-role bogey reduced Lehman’s lead to two shots over Bernhard Langer (69), Scott Parel (66), Glen Day (68) and Woody Austin (68). Corey Pavin (67) and Jerry Kelly (68) are tied for sixth.

The field averaged 70.195 strokes in the second round, a low at Wakonda. The previous mark, of 70.519, had been set on Friday.

“There are a ton of guys at eight, nine, 10, 11 under par,” Lehman said. “That’s why that bogey on the last hole is so disappointing. I was trying to separate myself from the field by one more shot. To let the field be one shot closer is frustrating. It makes tomorrow more of a challenge. I’ll have to play another good round.”

A big drive left Lehman just 63 yards from the hole on his approach to the 18th. But his second shot sailed long into a snarly lie in the rough. His chip went 10 feet past and his par putt burned the cup but didn’t fall.

“The bogey was disappointing, but you really can’t let that dictate how you feel about the course or the entire day, or the first two days,” Lehman said. “I’ve played a lot of very good golf. I made a blunder there. But it is what it is. You move on.”

A 10-time winner on the PGA TOUR Champions, Lehman has taken the lead or the share of the lead into the final round nine times. He’s won five of those tournaments.

Earlier this year, Lehman and Langer lost a playoff to Kirk Triplett and Paul Broadhurst at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge. They’ve played as a team in that event for seven years, winning it in 2009.

But Sunday will be man-to-man. Langer has won 37 times on the PGA TOUR Champions. In seven of those victories, he’s overcome deficits of two shots or more heading into the final round.

Langer knows the winning formula.

“Play perfect golf, hit good tee shots, good iron shots, make some putts,” Langer said. “That’s what you need to do. Otherwise, you’re not going to win.”

Langer’s overall track record is not as impressive as Lehman’s at the Principal Charity Classic. Langer tied for 31st in his first visit to Wakonda in 2013. And a tie for 48th in 2015 was his worst finish all season. But he’s learned to play this old-style classic, finishing fourth last season and getting himself into contention again this year.

A victory on Sunday would give him a little Wakonda payback.

“It’s always fun to win, period,” Langer said. “But it’s great to win on a golf course that you’ve struggled with for awhile. It would be very satisfying.”

The Principal Charity Classic is just one of eight tournaments on this year’s 27-event PGA TOUR Champions schedule that Langer hasn’t won. And two of those are first-year events.

Parel has come close to victory on the PGA TOUR Champions this season. At the Mitsubishi Electric Classic, he found himself in a playoff with Steve Flesch and Langer.  Langer bowed out on the first hole. Flesch won with a birdie on the second hole.

“Obviously, I’m going to have to shoot a pretty low score again (Sunday) to have a chance,” Parel said. “If the weather holds in there, I think it will be a great day.”

Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion, will be trying to win on a course he first played as a collegian at the University of Minnesota.

“I feel really comfortable with the course and the ability to shoot a good score here,” Lehman said. “It’s just a matter of whether the score you shoot is going to be good enough to win.”

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter


Recap: Round 1 at the Principal Charity Classic.

Windless Wakonda was defenseless Friday, and the scoreboard showed it in the first round of the Principal Charity Classic.

No wind, and plenty of birdies on a sun-kissed day.

“I think it opens the door to everybody when it’s calm and soft like this,” said Glen Day, one of the par-breakers. “Everybody’s in it.”

Fifty-three players broke par Friday. Twenty-nine of them shot in the 60s.  There were 14 bogey-free rounds. And the day’s scoring average, 70.519, was the lowest for a round since the tournament moved to Wakonda in 2013. The previous low, 70.568, came in the second round in 2014.

And it comes as no surprise that Bernhard Langer took advantage more than anyone else.

The two-time Masters champion, who has won 37 times on the PGA TOUR Champions, shot a bogey-free 8-under-par 64 to take the first-round lead.

“Bogey free is always fun,” Langer said.

Day, who shared the first- and second-round lead a year ago, and Woody Austin were a shot back at 65. And it’s a formidable group at 66.

That’s where you’ll find defending champion Brandt Jobe, perennial Principal contender Tom Lehman and Jerry Kelly, who picked up the third victory of his PGA TOUR Champions career at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai earlier this season. Also there is Doug Garwood who lost in a playoff with Tom Pernice, Jr., at the 2014 Principal Charity Classic.

Lehman, who first played Wakonda when he was attending college at Minnesota, has finished eighth or better in his six previous Principal appearances. He’s now shot in the 60s in six of has last seven rounds at Wakonda.

Jobe is trying to join Jay Haas (2007, 2008) as the only players to successfully defend their Principal title.

“I think if nothing else, you want to have a good showing,” Jobe said. “I think that’s important.”

After struggling to tame Wakonda in first two attempts, a tie for 31st in 2013 and a tie for 48th in 2015, Langer looks to have figured things out.

In his first eight rounds at Wakonda, Langer was 9 under par and had no bogey-free rounds. In the last two rounds, a closing 67 last year and Friday’s 64, he’s a collective 13 under par with two bogey-free rounds.

“I think I have a pretty good idea now how to play to golf course,” said Langer, who finished fourth last year.

Friday’s 64 was Langer’s best round at Wakonda by two strokes. He shot 66 in the first round last year, which shared the lead with Day and Kevin Sutherland.

Day and Jobe were tied for the lead after the second round. Jobe won. Day shot a final-round 76 and tied for 13th.

“Honestly, I could not tell you what I shot,” Day said. “No big deal. It happens to everybody.”

Day said he had no trouble getting over his final round a year go.

“Real easy,” Day said. “I had about three Coors Lights.”

Day has two more laps around Wakonda to make up for last season’s sour finish.

“We’ll just go out and play again,” Day said. “And then when Sunday comes we’ll get up, put on another pair of pants and try again.”

Jobe spent two hours on Wakonda’s driving range after playing in Thursday’s pro-am, trying to find his winning swing again.

“I didn’t like how I played (in the pro-am), and I had time to grind it out (on the range),” Jobe said. “I said, ‘All right, I’m not leaving here until I’ve got what I want to do.’”

The proof was in the practice. Jobe’s bogey-free 66 included three birdies on both nines.

Langer, who turns 61 in August, is chasing Hale Irwin’s PGA TOUR Champions record of 45 victories. He’s won at least once in 12 consecutive seasons after his victory in last month’s Insperity Invitational. He’s been the leading money winner in nine of the last 10 seasons, and is about the pass Irwin as the career earnings leader.

Langer’s got another goal, too. He’s getting closer and closer to shooting his age.

“That’s been my goal for about a year,” Langer said. “So I’m working on it.”

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter


Bernhard Langer, defending champion Brandt Jobe highlight 2018 Principal Charity Classic field.

The Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, today announced the final player field for its 2018 tournament, set for June 8-10 at historic Wakonda Club near downtown Des Moines.

Defending tournament champion Brandt Jobe, who earned his first career PGA TOUR Champions victory at the 2017 Principal Charity Classic, will be joined in the field of 78 competitors by the following:

  • Past Principal Charity Classic champions Scott McCarron (’16), Mark Calcavecchia (’15), Tom Pernice, Jr. (’14), Russ Cochran (’13) and Jay Haas (’07, ’08, ’12).
  • Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters Tournament champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member. Langer has 37 career PGA TOUR Champions victories, the second-highest total in TOUR history (Hale Irwin leads with 45). This year will mark Langer’s fifth trip to the Principal Charity Classic, where he finished a career-best fourth in 2017.
  • Corey Pavin, winner of the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and captain of the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team. Pavin, who has 15 career victories on the PGA TOUR, last played at the Principal Charity Classic in 2014. His wife, Lisa (Nguyen) Pavin, grew up in Urbandale, Iowa, and is a University of Iowa graduate.
  • Lee Janzen, a two-time U.S. Open champion and past winner of the PLAYERS Championship. Janzen, who was born in Austin, Minnesota, made his first Principal Charity Classic appearance in 2017.
  • Perennial fan favorites Fred Funk, Tom Lehman, Jesper Parnevik, David Toms and Billy Andrade, who set the current Wakonda Club course record (63) during the second round of the 2016 Principal Charity Classic.
  • Kevin Sutherland, the 2017 Charles Schwab Cup champion. Sutherland finished T2 in his first trip to the Principal Charity Classic last year.
  • Jerry Smith, an Iowa native and 2017 Iowa Golf Hall of Fame inductee. Smith, who received a sponsor exemption to play in the 2014 Principal Charity Classic, went on to earn PGA TOUR Champions Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.

Also included in the 2018 Principal Charity Classic field are five players who received sponsor exemptions:

  • Brian Henninger, a two-time PGA TOUR winner and T2 finisher at the 2015 Principal Charity Classic. Henninger will be making his fifth appearance at Wakonda Club.
  • Len Mattiace, a 2018 PGA TOUR Champions rookie who won twice on the PGA TOUR during his career. Mattiace is often remembered for recording a 7-under 65 in the final round of the 2003 Masters Tournament to earn his way into a playoff with eventual champion Mike Weir.
  • Chad Proehl, an Iowa native and the 2017 Iowa Section PGA champion. Proehl, who is the current teaching pro at Sugar Creek Municipal Golf Course, in Waukee, Iowa, has lived in the Des Moines area for the past 33 years. Proehl began his club professional career in 1990 at Wakonda Club and has also worked locally as a golf professional at both Jester Park Golf Course and Echo Valley Country Club.
  • Mike Small, currently in his 18th year as head men’s golf coach of the University of Illinois, his alma mater. This Spring, he coached the team to its fourth consecutive Big Ten title. Small also has competed on the PGA TOUR and the Web.com Tour, is a three-time winner of the PGA Professional Championship, and in 2017, was named the Senior PGA Professional of the Year. Since turning 50, he has played in seven PGA TOUR Champions events.
  • Willie Wood, winner of two PGA TOUR Champions events – including a memorable victory at the 2012 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, where Wood sank a 35-foot birdie at the end of regulation to force a playoff with Michael Allen. Wood will be playing in his eighth consecutive Principal Charity Classic.

Tickets to the Principal Charity Classic start at just $20 and may be purchased online at principalcharityclassic.com/tickets or at the tournament gates. Kids 15 and under may attend the tournament for free if accompanied by a ticketed adult. Complimentary admission is also provided for all active duty, retired, veteran and reserve military along with their dependents.

For more information, visit principalcharityclassic.com.


Alfonso Ribeiro to play in 2018 Principal Charity Classic Pro-Am

The Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, today announced actor and comedian Alfonso Ribeiro has joined the field for the 2018 Principal Charity Classic Pro-Am.

Ribeiro, a passionate golf fan and brand ambassador of the PGA TOUR Champions, will play in the Prairie Meadows Pro-Am on Wednesday, June 6, at historic Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

Ribeiro, 46, is perhaps best known for his role as Carlton Banks on the hit TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” as well as his work on the sitcom “Silver Spoons.” He won season 19 of “Dancing with the Stars” and currently hosts “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

A low-handicap golfer, Ribeiro is a frequent celebrity Pro-Am participant. This year marks his first appearance at the Principal Charity Classic – but far from his first trip to the state. Ribeiro’s wife, Angela (Unkrich) Ribeiro, is a native of Swedesburg, Iowa.


Q&A with…Brandt Jobe

Brandt Jobe and his new Principal Charity Classic bobblehead.

Brandt Jobe celebrated his first career PGA TOUR Champions victory at the 2017 Principal Charity Classic, holding off defending champion Scott McCarron and eventual Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland by one shot at historic Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

Jobe continued his strong play throughout the 2017 season – including a record-tying round of 62 at the U.S. Senior Open – before finishing 7th in the final Charles Schwab Cup standings.

The 51-year-old Texas resident recently returned to Des Moines for the Principal Charity Classic’s 2018 Media Day and visited Wakonda Club for the first time since his victory.

RB: You ended a long drought (403 events on the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Champions) with your victory at the Principal Charity Classic last year. When you sit here and look out at Wakonda’s 18th green, I’m sure that brings back some special memories.

BJ: I’m sitting here envisioning my shot, what club I hit here, what I had to do. It does feel good. I had a lot of close calls on TOUR, and I probably wasn’t as good a player as I should have been. I tried to juggle family and golf a lot. But at the end of the day, I think I made the right decision because I’m close to my kids.

RB: What kept you going during that streak outside the winner’s circle?

BJ: My wife (Jennifer). If I call her up and say, ‘I’m going to do this, or I’m going to play there,’ she’s always been a go. And when you have someone telling you, ‘Go practice, go for it,’ it’s pretty nice to have that support mechanism. I wish I would have done some things differently with my game, but I’ve had a heck of a run. I’ve got a great wife, great kids (daughter, Brittan, and son, Jackson). Everyone has been supportive. And I’m doing what I love to do. I’m over 50, and I’m still playing golf. It doesn’t get much better than that.

RB: You suffered a freak accident back in 2006, when a plastic-and-steel broom handle you were using to clean leaves out of your garage in suburban Dallas snapped, and sliced off the tip of your left thumb and forefinger to the bone. Luckily, you acted quickly, put them on ice and had them reattached successfully. Did you think golf was over?

BJ: My daughter was there, and it was not something a 6-year-old needs to see. I was covered in blood. Luckily, I had a friend down the street (former TOUR player Brian Watts), and he gave me a ride to the hospital. On the ride there I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m done.’

RB: You called a doctor friend of yours, who knew a microsurgeon, Dr. David Zehr (who just happened to be on call at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas). And he was able to put you back together.

BJ: He came in and said, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ I got unlucky with the broom breaking, but I was so lucky that a great doctor was there to help out.

RB: What is it about your left side? You’ve had several surgeries on your left shoulder, left wrist, and then your left hand.

BJ: This one is perfect (holding up his right arm).

RB: You attended the 1978 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills in Denver, Colorado. Isn’t that where golf caught your fancy?

BJ: I was 13 or 14 years old, a big baseball player. I didn’t really play golf. But I thought, ‘How cool is this?’ If you go out and shoot 71, you’re at 71. Playing baseball, I went 1-for-3 and some other kid went 1-for-5, and he’s batting in front of me. Why? Because there are coaches and other things involved. I thought golf was pretty cool. What you shoot is what you are. It was so fair. A brutally honest game. I think that’s what attracted me to it. I played a year of high-school golf (at Kent Denver School in Englewood, Colo.), and I got lucky.

RB: You first met Scott McCarron in the parking lot at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles when you both were freshmen at UCLA. He won his first PGA TOUR Champions title at the 2016 Principal Charity Classic. And then you went out and did the same thing here a year later.

BJ: I wouldn’t have expected this to be Scott McCarron’s first win, at all. And I certainly wouldn’t have expected it to be mine. I thought it would have been at one of the bigger courses, because our advantage is definitely length. But length does have a place (at Wakonda Club), too.

RB: Can you imagine during your first conversation with Scott at Bel-Air if you had said, ‘I bet we both win on the PGA TOUR Champions for the first time in Des Moines, Iowa.’

BJ: That would have been crazy, right? Crazy.

RB: You’re coming off a great 2017 season (one victory, seven top-10s, more than $1 million in earnings). You also matched the record low round in a U.S. Senior Open with a 62 in the third round at Salem Country Club before finishing third. Where does that 62 rank in the memory bank?

BJ: That was fun. Great golf course, a USGA event. A very memorable round. It was very cool to come up to the 18th hole and open up (TV) coverage by hitting a shot in there to four feet, and then make the putt. It was neat for my kids. They were there. They hadn’t gotten a chance to do all the media stuff. So they got to go on FOX (TV) with me, and go in the big USGA (interview room) and be a part of that. It really helped them understand, ‘This is what dad does.’ It was really special for me to have them be a part of that.

RB: Your career resume shows you typically start slow each season and then build momentum as you go. Is that the case again this year?

BJ: If you look at my past seasons, I’m right on track. I’m always working on stuff. Sometimes my tweaks don’t work, sometimes they do. Ballstriking is usually a strength, and it’s been a weakness this year. Putting’s usually the weakness, and it’s been a strength.

RB: You came to Wakonda last year with a bunch of putters, looking to find your stroke. And you found it.

BJ: I’m not a guy who usually changes things. I think I had eight or nine putters on the practice green. I whittled it down to three and took all of them with me during the Pro-Am. I went six holes with the first one I thought I’d putt with, and said, ‘Nah.’ Three holes with the next one, and it wasn’t right. I had this SeeMore I went with the rest of the day, and shot 6 under par. That’s the putter that kind of got things going.

RB: You said you don’t like to change equipment, but you have a bag full of new clubs. What happened?

BJ: I got my equipment broken after the first event of the year (Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai). They ran over my golf clubs. Thank you, American Airlines. They had to pry my TOUR bag apart. Someone ran over them with a truck. Three-wood, gone. Driver, gone. Two new sand wedges, gone. A couple of other shafts, gone. Putter survived, though.

RB: Dialing in the proper equipment is a science. Equipment is your livelihood. What did American tell you?

BJ: They said to send in receipts for when I purchased the equipment. I told them it’s not the money. You don’t understand how much time I’ve put in getting some of those things. The driver, for me, was 30 or 40 shafts of testing, hours and hours of time, going to the factories and doing all of those things. That actually slowed me up quite a bit this year. But I think I’m in pretty good shape now.

RB: The first 2017 PGA Tour Champions event your wife Jennifer attended was the Principal Charity Classic in her home state (she’s from Dubuque). She was going to attend your son’s baseball tournament, as I recall, but family members talked her into coming to Des Moines.

BJ: Her brother and sister both said, ‘Are you crazy? Go.’ She got to see her sisters, her mom and dad. The first tournament she comes to, it’s in her home state, both her sisters and her dad come out, and I win? Pretty amazing.

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter

Editor’s note: The first 500 fans to arrive at the Principal Charity Classic on Sunday, June 10, will receive a free Brandt Jobe bobblehead (pictured above). Can’t wait? Brandt’s bobbleheads are currently available for purchase, while supplies last, at principalcharityclassicstore.com. All proceeds benefit Iowa children’s charities.