Looking back at the 2018 Principal Charity Classic.

Sleep didn’t come easy for Nick Cecere in the days leading up to last week’s Principal Charity Classic.

In his first year as chairman of the tournament’s board of directors, Cecere worried that everything would go off as planned.

“It’s different being a board member looking at things outside-in versus being the chairman and looking at things inside-out, and making sure that every little detail goes well,” Cecere said.

As things were winding down Sunday, Cecere had a winning smile on his face.

“I think it really went well,” Cecere said. “Better than expected. We had great sponsorship, and great volunteers. The PGA TOUR was great working with us. So was Wakonda and its members. Everything came together perfectly.”

Even though severe weather forced cancellation of the final round and robbed golf fans of the anticipated final-round drama, the positive vibe and energy surrounding the 2018 Principal Charity Classic was unmistakable.  And the big picture – raising money for children’s charities – marches on with 20/20 vision.

“I think there’s really momentum behind this tournament,” said Dan Houston, the president, chairman and CEO of Principal.

Both Houston and Cecere predict a record amount of charitable dollars will be raised from this year’s tournament. The existing record, $3,581,427, was established in 2017.

Heading into this season, more than $13 million had been raised for children’s charities since Principal took over as title sponsor in 2007. Wells Fargo is the presenting sponsor of the PGA TOUR Champions stop.

It’s not by accident that the word charity in in the tournament’s title. It’s a reminder that birdies and eagles are nice on a scorecard, but helping kinds is why Principal and its corporate sponsors tee it up.

“We want every spectator and everyone who attends to know that what they’re doing here is not supporting Principal,” Houston said. “They’re supporting charities.”

And supporting youngsters like Cooper, 10, one four 2018 Kids Can Champions. Cooper, who was nominated for the first-year program by Blank Children’s Hospital, is in remission for B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Blank Children’s Hospital, Children’s Cancer Connection, Make-A-Wish Iowa, Tori’s Angels Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have all played a role in Cooper’s life. And they all receive charity dollars from the Principal Charity Classic.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the charities,” Houston said. “This is a very unique community event. You’ve got 350 different businesses that have come together to support it. That is No. 1. And No. 2, this is one of the highest-grossing charitable tournaments on the PGA TOUR Champions.”

Tom Lehman won the 2018 Principal Charity Classic, on the strength of rounds of 66 and 65. A Minnesota native who has flirted with this title for years, Lehman finally collected the handsome trophy and a first-place check for $262,500.

Lehman, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., but grew up in Minnesota and is a Midwesterner at heart, is always quick to mention how charity is such a vital piece of the PGA TOUR Champions puzzle. And he’s not alone.

“The community is really embracing this tournament,” said Bernhard Langer, who has won 37 times on the PGA TOUR Champions and tied for second Sunday. “It’s great they come out in super numbers and they really know their golf and they love cheering us on. It’s great to see lots of kids. We appreciate everybody embracing this, and it’s all for a good cause. It’s for charity.”

A first-round record 26,465 fans came to Wakonda on Friday. Another 26,431 came through the gates on Saturday. Cecere made the rounds both days on foot. He wanted to see first-hand how fans were enjoying the experience.

“Indiscriminately, people came up to me and said, “Hey, this is a great day for the Principal Charity Classic, and a great day for Des Moines,” Cecere said.

Cecere also talked to as many players as he could, and their response was nothing but positive.

“Believe it or not, they were as interested in the charitable side of it as they were the golf,” Cecere said.

He also stopped in the skyboxes to shake hands, look and listen.

“I asked, “What can we do better?’” Cecere said. “One of them said, “We liked it so much we want to sign up for next year already.’”

Cecere has a better grasp of things with a year of experience under his belt. Sleep should come easier from here on out.

“Every part of our community enjoys this thing,” Cecere said. “And that’s what really makes it special.”

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


Previewing the 2018 Principal Charity Classic.

Bernhard Langer is trying to stay ahead of Father Time and catch Hale Irwin.

Don’t count him out.

Langer recorded the 37th victory of his PGA TOUR Champions career at the Insperity Invitational last month. Irwin’s record of 45 victories, once considered untouchable, now seems within Langer’s grasp.

The two-time Masters champion, 60, returns to the Principal Charity Classic and Wakonda Club this week with a chance to get one step closer to Irwin’s milestone.

On the eve of last year’s Principal Charity Classic, Langer looked to be chasing an uphill dream. He had 32 victories at the time.

Asked if he had a chance to catch Irwin, Langer said, “I might have a shot but it’s very unlikely.”

But after getting himself in contention at Wakonda and ultimately finishing fourth in Des Moines, Langer caught fire. He won four more times in 2017, with three of those victories coming after he turned 60 on August 27.

In addition to his recent victory at the Insperity, Langer has lost in a pair of playoffs this season and also finished second to 2015 Principal Charity Classic champion Mark Calcavecchia at the 2018 Boca Raton Championship. Twelve of his 37 victories have come since 2016.

Langer’s first two appearances at Wakonda, however, didn’t suit his taste. He tied for 31st in 2013 and 48th in 2015. But his 66-71-67 effort in 2017 shows that he might have figured out Wakonda’s old-school challenges.

Langer enters tournament week second on the PGA TOUR Champions money list, with earnings of $860,321. He’s won more than $2 million in each of the last six seasons.

This year’s Principal Charity Classic will include 42 of the season’s top 50 money winners, including Jerry Kelly (No. 3), Gene Sauers (No. 7), 2016 Principal Charity Classic champion Scott McCarron (No. 8) and David Toms (No. 9).

In addition to Langer and Calcavecchia, 2018 tournament winners in town will include Kelly (Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualulai); Scott Parel (Diamond Resorts Invitational), and Steve Flesch (Mitsubishi Electric Classic).

Brandt Jobe, the defending Principal Charity Classic champion, also returns and will attempt to join Jay Haas as a repeat winner. In 2017, Jobe shot rounds of 67-66-69, including a birdie on the final hole of the final round. That enabled him to finish one shot in front of McCarron (67-70-66), his college roommate at UCLA, and eventual Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland (66-69-68).

Joining Jobe, McCarron and Calcavecchia as former Principal Charity Classic champions in the field are Russ Cochran (2013), Jay Haas (2007, 2008, 2012), and Tom Pernice, Jr. (2014).

Meanwhile, Langer will see if he can sneak a bit closer to history at Wakonda. The reigning PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year already created some buzz earlier this season.

When Langer won the Insperity Invitational last month, it marked the 12th consecutive season in which he’d won at least once PGA TOUR Champions event – an unprecedented feat.

Langer had shared that record with one other player who won at least one tournament for 11 consecutive seasons (1995-2005).

His name was Hale Irwin.

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.


A major field.

With the 2018 Principal Charity Classic quickly approaching, the tournament field is taking shape.

A total of 78 players will comprise the final field, including defending champion Brandt Jobe and past Principal Charity Classic winners Scott McCarron (2016), Mark Calcavecchia (2015), Tom Pernice, Jr. (2014), Russ Cochran (2013) and Jay Haas (2007, 2008 and 2012).

Fan favorites Jesper Parnevik and Billy Andrade are set to return, along with 2017 Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland and Iowa native Jerry Smith. Recent player commitments also include a quartet of PGA TOUR major championship winners:

  • Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters champion who is still at the top of his game. After turning 50, Langer established himself as one of the most successful players in PGA TOUR Champions history. Will he add a win at Wakonda Club to his impressive resume
  • John Daly, the big hitter with a colorful personality to match. Daly is known for his “zero to hero” victory at the 1991 PGA Championship, as well as his playoff win at the 1995 Open Championship. His first career PGA TOUR Champions win came at last year’s Insperity Invitational in Texas.
  • Corey Pavin, winner of the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Pavin, who captained the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team, last played in the Principal Charity Classic in 2014.
  • Lee Janzen, winner of the U.S. Open championship in both 1993 and 1998. Janzen, who was born in Austin, Minnesota, made his first Principal Charity Classic appearance last year.

To keep tabs on the Principal Charity Classic field and new player commitments as they come in, click here.


Round 1 recap: Friday at the Principal Charity Classic.

Bernhard Langer has won more than 100 golf tournaments worldwide during his World Golf Hall of Fame career.

His play at the Wakonda Club in the Principal Charity Classic has been an exception.

But Friday, Langer looked like someone about to change that. Arriving in Des Moines on the heels of back-to-back major championship victories at the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship, Langer shot a 6-under-par 66 and shares the lead after the first round of the Principal Charity Classic.

“I’ve never cracked it really,” Langer said of Wakonda, hosting this PGA TOUR Champions stop for a fifth time. “I had a couple of good runs at it, But I never got comfortable. Today, I played very solid.”

Langer had seven birdies and one bogey, and shares the lead with Glen Day and Kevin Sutherland. Defending champion Scott McCarron and former Principal champions Mark Calcavecchia and Russ Cochran are in a group just one shot back.

Langer’s previous low round at Wakonda had been a 68 in the first round of the 2015 tournament.

“I figured I had the game if I can win just about anywhere else in the world 105 times,” said the two-time Masters champion and winner of nine PGA TOUR Champions majors. “I’m a strong believer if you play well, you can play anywhere. And I haven’t done that here. I’ve had one or two good rounds, but I’ve never put three good rounds together. So hopefully we’ll break that this week and do better.”

Day started on the back nine and went birdie-eagle-birdie in a three-hole stretch starting at No. 14.

“I told my caddie, I played a lot better in the last month but I haven’t scored as good,” Day said. “I’d rather have the score.”

The forecast for the weekend is for temperatures near 100 and winds blowing at or in excess of 30 mph. Day, who has played in plenty of wind in his native Oklahoma, hopes the forecast is accurate.

“I don’t oppose it, trust me,” Day said. “I would rather have it. I’d rather the scores not be 20 under. That’s better for me.”

Sutherland, who also had a bogey-free round, has seven Top 10 finishes on the PGA TOUR Champions this season.

“It’s been a little shot, here or there, that’s prevented me from getting really close to winning or winning at all,” Sutherland said.

Sutherland had one victory and 48 Top 10 finishes in a PGA TOUR career that covered 447 events. It was a runner-up finish in the 1992 Ben Hogan Hawkeye Open at Finkbine in Iowa City that gave Sutherland’s career a big boost.

“That was a good week for me, I remember it vividly,” Sutherland said. “I think I three-putted the last hole to miss a playoff.  But I got on the PGA TOUR shortly after and stayed out there. That (1992) was the year that got me going in the right direction.”

McCarron was 1 over par through seven holes, but rallied with a back-nine 31 that saw him birdie six of the final eight holes.

“It was a good comeback,” McCarron said. “You can’t win the tournament the first day, but you can certainly lose it.  I was not doing very well on the front nine, and then I made a really strong finish.”

McCarron bogeyed the par-5 5th hole when his tee shot hit a tree and kicked 50 yards left out-of-bounds. That snapped a streak of 51 consecutive holes without a bogey going back to last year.  He also 3-putted No. 14 from 14 feet for his second bogey. McCarron had just one bogey the entire tournament last year.

“Knowing the weekend is going to be very difficult, I didn’t want to be too far behind,” McCarron said of his rally down the stretch.

Jerry Kelly, Scott Verplank and Brant Jobe joined the trio of former Principal champions at 67.

Calcavecchia , a winner in 2015, and Cochran, who took the  title in 2013, have both had injury issues this year. Cochran missed most of the 2016 season with an elbow injury. Then he had a heart issue in January, and doctors inserted two stents.

“There are a lot of people out here who play in pain and don’t have the flexibility or ability they used to have,” Cochran said. “So I fall right in line with those guys.  I think the challenge is to see if we can get our bodies to work. I used to say that it was 95 percent golf, and five percent maintenance. Now I’m just about the opposite.”

Wakonda feels like home for Calcavecchia, who grew up 31/2 hours away in Laurel, Neb.

“This is probably my favorite tournament,” said Calvacecchia, who has been seeing a chiropractor for his bad back. “Any time that you’ve won at a place, it jumps right up to the top of your list.”

Like he did in 2015, Calvacecchia was wearing slacks with a bacon design during Friday’s round. He doesn’t plan the same attire Saturday, when heat is expected to be a factor.

“These pants are more suited for 58 degrees than 98 degrees,” Calcavecchia said. “I think I’ll go with something a little lighter.”

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter


Bernhard Langer has Wakonda on his mind.

The number sits on top of a very high mountain: 45.

Hale Irwin has won an unprecedented 45 PGA TOUR Champions titles in his World Golf Hall of Fame career.

Bernhard Langer is now second on that list, with 32 victories. Can a man who turns 60 years old on August 27, a Hall of Famer in his own right, reach the top of that mountain?

“There are many other goals,” Langer said Wednesday at the Principal Charity Classic. “The goal is to improve, to get better.”

That’s a scary thought for the other players on the PGA TOUR Champions.

Langer comes to town riding momentum from victories in back-to-back majors, the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship. His nine major triumphs are the most ever. Jack Nicklaus won eight.

He’s won $1,664,651 this season, more than double the No.2 money winner, defending Principal Charity Classic champion Scott McCarron.

Langer is on a fast track to surpass the $2 million mark for the sixth straight season. His $22 million and change in career earnings is second all-time to Irwin’s $27 million.

Langer’s won the Schwab Cup four times, including three years in a row. He’s won the Arnold Palmer Trophy, which goes to the leading money winner, eight times. He’s won the Jack Nicklaus Award, which goes to the player of the year, six times. He’s won the Bryon Nelson Award, which goes to the player with the lowest stroke average, five times.

Langer calls those achievements “short-term, intermediate goals. And then if I achieve some of that, I might have a shot at Hale Irwin. But it’s very unlikely.”

This week poses a different challenge for the two-time Masters champion. He’s out to unlock the secret of Wakonda, a course that has had his number on his previous two visits.

Langer tied for 31st in 2013, and tied for 48th in 2015. Both were his poorest finish of the season. Now he’s looking to turn that around.

“It has been on my mind,” Langer said. “I’ve been pondering what it is. I haven’t had a win here, or a top three, which I have had at many other places. It’s a different golf course. Very hilly, with lots of sidehill, downhill and uphill lies. It’s a very undulating course in general. But the greens are also tricky. I’m going to be contemplating that more in the next couple of days.”

Langer’s play at Wakonda is out of character. In addition to his 32 career victories, he’s had 26 runner-up finishes and 21 thirds. He’s had 140 Top 10 finishes in 196 events, a salty 71.4 percent.

As he prepares for Friday’s first round, Langer said he’s going to “see where I might have made mistakes in the past, or what part of the course gets me so I don’t perform as well as the others do.”

Langer has won at least once in each of the 11 years he’s played on the PGA TOUR Champions. And he’s shown no signs of slowing down. His secret?

“It’s not a diet,” Langer said. “I love desserts. I’m a sugar addict. On the other hand I eat reasonably well. I love vegetables and salads and all that kind of stuff. I don’t drink much alcohol. I don’t take any medication of any sorts. I try and live a healthy, active lifestyle. I work out. I have good genes. Maybe that’s what it takes.”

Being able to compete at a winning level consistently requires “a whole list of things,” Langer said. “It’s like a puzzle. It all has to come together. You’ve got to be healthy. Otherwise you can’t play the game you want to. You have to pace yourself. You have to have a good support system…your family around you, coaches, caddies, things like that. And you have to be eager and willing to work at it still.”

For four decades, that’s just what Langer has done.

“But I take a lot of time off, “ Langer said. “I get away from the game. When I do come back, I’m usually hungry and eager to do what I need to do.”

One of Langer’s many Top 10 finishes came at the 2012 Principal Charity Classic at Glen Oaks. This is his fifth appearance in the event.

“I think it’s a great event,” Langer said. “The people are phenomenal here. They do such a great job of putting so much effort into it. It’s been very well supported. I’m happy to be here and support the tournament. They raise a lot of money for charity. That’s what it’s all about.”

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter


Bernhard Langer, defending champion Scott McCarron highlight 2017 Principal Charity Classic field.

The Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, is pleased to announce the player field for this year’s tournament, set for June 6-11 at historic Wakonda Club near downtown Des Moines.

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.

Defending tournament champion Scott McCarron, now a three-time PGA TOUR Champions winner after earning his first career PGA TOUR Champions victory at the 2016 Principal Charity Classic, will be joined by 77 additional competitors, including:

  • Bernhard Langer, the 2016 PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year and defending Charles Schwab Cup champion. The two-time Masters champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member has 32 career PGA TOUR Champions wins, the second-highest total in TOUR history (Hale Irwin leads with 45). With his recent victory at the 2017 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, Langer became the first player to win all five majors on the PGA TOUR Champions and surpassed Jack Nicklaus’ record for the most senior major titles (Langer now has nine total). Langer last competed in the Principal Charity Classic in 2015.
  • Past Principal Charity Classic champions Mark Calcavecchia (’15), Russ Cochran (’13), Jay Haas (’07, ’08, ’12), Bob Gilder (’02, ’11) and Tom Pernice, Jr. (‘14).
  • PGA TOUR Champions rookies Jerry Kelly, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, and David Toms, winner of the 2001 PGA Championship and 13 career PGA TOUR events.
  • Perennial fan favorites Fred Funk, Tom Lehman, Jesper Parnevik, Fuzzy Zoeller and Billy Andrade, who set a new Wakonda Club course record (63) during the second round of the 2016 Principal Charity Classic.
  • Iowa native Jerry Smith, a 2017 inductee into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame. 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. He has played in the Principal Charity Classic for the past three years, with a best finish of T14 in 2016.

Also included in the 2017 Principal Charity Classic field are five players who received sponsor exemptions: Jay Don Blake, owner of more than three dozen top-10 career finishes in official PGA TOUR events; Damon Green, past Principal Charity Classic participant (’11, ’12) and professional caddie for PGA TOUR star and Iowa native Zach Johnson; Gary Hallberg, one of only 12 players to win a tournament on the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Champions; Brian Henninger, two-time PGA TOUR winner and second-place finisher at the 2015 Principal Charity Classic; and Lonnie Nielsen, Iowa native and member of the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame.

Principal Charity Classic tickets start at just $20, and may be purchased online at www.principalcharityclassic.com 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 and reserve military along with their dependents.

For more information, visit www.principalcharityclassic.com.

2017 Principal Charity Classic Final Field

Michael Allen
Stephen Ames
Billy Andrade
Tommy Armour III
Woody Austin
Jay Don Blake +
Michael Bradley
Paul Broadhurst
Mark Brooks
Olin Browne
Bart Bryant
Tom Byrum
Mark Calcavecchia
Jim Carter
Russ Cochran
Marco Dawson
Glen Day
Scott Dunlap
Joe Durant
Steve Flesch
Dan Forsman
Carlos Franco
David Frost
Fred Funk
Bobby Gage
Doug Garwood
Bob Gilder
Bill Glasson
Mike Goodes
Paul Goydos
Damon Green +
Jay Haas
Gary Hallberg +
Todd Hamilton
Brian Henninger +
John Huston
Peter Jacobsen
Lee Janzen
Brandt Jobe
Jerry Kelly
Skip Kendall
Bernhard Langer
Tom Lehman
Steve Lowery
Billy Mayfair
Blaine McCallister
Scott McCarron *
Larry Mize
Lonnie Nielsen +
Scott Parel
Jesper Parnevik
Craig Parry
Steve Pate
Tom Pernice Jr.
Tim Petrovic
Phillip Price
Tom Purtzer
Fran Quinn
Loren Roberts
Gene Sauers
Wes Short, Jr.
Joey Sindelar
Jeff Sluman
Jerry Smith
Rod Spittle
Kevin Sutherland
Esteban Toledo
David Toms
Kirk Triplett
Bob Tway
Scott Verplank
Duffy Waldorf
Willie Wood
Fuzzy Zoeller

Field notes

Final field will include 78 players; 4 event qualifiers currently TBD.

* denotes defending champion

+ denotes players receiving 2017 sponsor exemptions


Bernhard Langer Joins 2017 Principal Charity Classic Field.

The Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, the annual PGA TOUR Champions event in Des Moines, is pleased to announce 2016 PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year and defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Bernhard Langer has committed to play in the 2017 Principal Charity Classic. The tournament will take place June 6-11 at historic Wakonda Club.

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.

“We are tremendously excited to welcome Bernhard Langer back to Des Moines for the 2017 Principal Charity Classic,” said Greg Conrad, Principal Charity Classic Tournament Director. “His performance on the PGA TOUR Champions has been nothing short of spectacular, and he continues to raise his level of play every year. It’s incredible and inspiring to watch him.”

Langer, 59, recorded four victories last year – including two major championships – en route to claiming his record fourth Charles Schwab Cup title. The two-time Masters champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member was also named the PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year for the sixth time in his decorated career.

Langer has 30 career PGA TOUR Champions wins, the second-highest total in TOUR history (Hale Irwin leads with 45). He previously played in the Principal Charity Classic in 2010, ’12, ’13 and ’15, with a best finish of T10 in 2012.

Strong early field for 2017

In addition to Langer, early player commitments for the 2017 Principal Charity Classic include 2016 tournament champion Scott McCarron and fan favorite John Daly, as well as Jesper Parnevik, Billy Andrade, Mark Calcavecchia, Fred Funk, Jay Haas, Tom Lehman, Rocco Mediate, Tom Pernice, Jr., David Toms and Fuzzy Zoeller, among others.

“The strength of early player commitments for our 2017 tournament reflects the quality of the Principal Charity Classic and its status as a premier event among PGA TOUR Champions competitors,” Conrad said. “Great players want to play in great events, and the fantastic support of the Des Moines community – from spectators and volunteers to sponsors and local media – does not go unnoticed by the players.”

Save with code ‘Langer’

In recognition of Bernhard Langer’s return to the Principal Charity in 2017, fans can save 17% on all available ticket options – including VIP Champions Club tickets – now through April 10 by using promo code LANGER when purchasing tickets online at www.principalcharityclassic.com.

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 www.principalcharityclassic.com.


Top 10 Moments In Principal Charity Classic History…No. 9, Double Dose of Haas

Jay Haas picked the perfect time to catch fire. It happened on the back nine at Glen Oaks Country Club, in the final round of the 2008 Principal Charity Classic.

“It seemed to happen so fast,” said Haas, who was chasing second-round leader Nick Price. “I didn’t have time to get conservative, because I was chasing.”

Haas shot a final-round 6-under-par 65, the lowest round of the tournament, to become the first and only player to successfully defend his Principal Charity Classic title. He also passed Bernhard Langer for the lead in the season money list and the Schwab Cup point standings.

Haas, collecting a winning check for $258,750, also won on back-to-back weeks. He came to town after winning the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y., finishing a shot ahead of Langer.

“A month ago, I had a bunch of good finishes,” Haas said. “All of a sudden, I’ve had a great year.”

Haas finished the 54-hole championship at 10-under-par 203, one shot better than Andy Bean. Price, who had a three-putt bogey on the 18th green, was alone in third at 8 under par. He had started the final round at 6 under, one shot better than five players.

Haas and his fast finish started in unexpected fashion. His tee shot on the par-3 14th hole came to rest on the lower portion of the two-tiered green. The cup was on the upper tier, 48 feet away. He made the putt, which ignited his rally.

“That was the shot that got me over the hump, literally and figuratively,” Haas said.

He followed up that dramatic putt with birdies on the next two holes and posted a score that was unmatched.

Bean had a chance to catch him with a birdie at the par-4 18th, but he drove it in the right rough and ended up holing a downhill 27-footer for par.

“If there’s a good par, that was definitely it,” Bean said. “It was some consolation. But there’s a Jay Haas out there, and he played great.”

Price also had a chance to force a playoff with a closing birdie. But he left his uphill 26-footer four feet short.

“I’m standing there and I’m saying to myself, “I’ve got to give this a go,’ ” Price said. “And I leave it four feet short. I was so embarrassed. Everyone is waiting for you to make this putt and you leave it four feet short. I mean, it’s pitiful.”

Price then missed the four-footer for par, a stroke that cost him more than $27,000.

“I was so cross,” Price said. “Cross that I had left that first putt short. I mean, I was seething. It’s like bursting your bubble. After that, finishing second, third, 10th, it doesn’t matter. That sounds unprofessional, but that’s how I felt.”

The three-putt was Price’s only bogey in a final-round 69. Bean finished the tournament with 17 birdies over 54 holes, more than anyone else in the field. He was also the only player to shoot in the 60s all three rounds.

But Haas was just a little bit better, back-to-back better.

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter