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.

Welcome to the Principal Charity Classic

The MidAmerican Energy “Green Canyon” makes its Principal Charity Classic debut this week at Wakonda Club, and Senior Reporter Rick Brown has a preview of the new hot spot across Holes 16, 17 and 18, plus other can’t-miss locations and tournament storylines. Read on…the 2016 Principal Charity Classic is HERE!

The MidAmerican Energy “Green Canyon” makes its Principal Charity Classic debut this week at Wakonda Club. I recommend that fans who come to the course looking for a hot spot to watch some great golf make the short walk from the public entrance on Park Avenue to the Green Canyon, which starts by the green at the par-4 16th and circles the par-3 17th. Behind the 17th green, fans will find a wrap-around LED board providing a ton of information.

Food, drink and merchandise are all in close proximity. I promise, this will be a festive place to be. You’ll be able to watch play on the 16th and 17th, as well as the tee shots on 18. And never have to leave your seat.

A second prime spot is the Kum & Go Oasis, featuring the Fuzzy’s Vodka Lounge, to the right of the 13th green. Another short walk from the main entrance, fans will have a stellar vantage point to watch action on the 13th green, the par-3 14th and the green at No. 5. Another happening place.  You won’t be disappointed.

Those who come and enjoy the surroundings will see plenty of recognizable names on the golf course. And here’s a random thought: It would be a Principal Charity Classic dream pairing, really, Mark Calcavecchia and John Daly.

Both their names are on the Claret Jug, one of the most iconic trophies in golf, for winning the British Open. Daly also has a PGA Championship to his name. But something very important in Iowa brings them together. Pork in king in Iowa. High on the hog has double meaning in this state.

Calcavecchia won last year’s Principal Charity Classic title while wearing bacon-inspired slacks and a bacon belt. He promises to wear them again when the official competition starts on Friday. The folks at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival couldn’t be happier. Daly? He’s high on the Hogs. As in the Arkansas Razorbacks, his college team of choice. Why not put the two of them together?

Calcavecchia and Daly are two of the headliners that fans will want to check out this week. Calcavecchia will be trying to join Jay Haas as the only players to win the Principal title back-to-back.

Other former champions in the field are two-time champion Bob Gilder, Russ Cochran and Tom Pernice, Jr.

Seven players who have been to the winner’s circle this season will also be here. Woody Austin won the Tucson Conquistadores Classic and the Mitsubishi Classic titles, and teamed up with Michael Allen to win the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Jesper Parnevik, who won the Insperity Invitational, will be here. So will Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic; Duffy Waldorf, who won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship; and Esteban Toledo, who won the Allianz Championship. And of course, Rocco Mediate, fresh off his 2016 Senior PGA Championship over the weekend.

For those who love the history of the game, there are former major champions Calcavecchia, Daly, Mark Brooks, Todd Hamilton, Tom Lehman, Sandy Lyle, Scott Simpson, Jeff Sluman, Bob Tway and Fuzzy Zoeller.

You want guys who have won majors while playing on the PGA TOUR Champions? We’ve got Jeff Maggert, Kenny Perry, Roger Chapman, Olin Browne, Fred Funk, Brad Bryant, Mark Wiebe, Loren Roberts, Cochran, Lehman, Mediate, Allen, Haas, Zoeller, David Frost, Mike Reid and Bobby Wadkins.

For the local angle there’s Jerry Smith from Oskaloosa, who won the Encompass Championship in 2015.

And when it comes to champions, let’s not forget title sponsor Principal. Principal is celebrating its 10th year as title sponsor. This annual PGA TOUR  Champions stop took a big step forward when the global company, located in downtown Des Moines, stepped up to the first tee in 2007.

Principal’s mantra, since that first press conference in the summer of 2006 announcing its title sponsorship, has been this: If the community supports this event, we’ll do our part.

It’s been a classic win-win relationship ever since. The Des Moines business community has followed Principal’s lead. Using golf as an avenue, Greater Des Moines has responded with more than $7.7 million in charity dollars. The tournament’s “Fore Our Kids” charities, as well as Birdies for Charity program participants, have used the money to enrich lives and plant the seeds to grow a better community in the future.

And if what I’m hearing is right, the record $1.4 million generated from the 2015 event will be broken this year.

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter

New kids on the block and hangin’ tough

There’s something to be said about being the new kid on the block. Even at 50 years old. That’s the beauty of being a PGA TOUR Champions rookie, writes Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter Rick Brown.

A 50th birthday cake includes a new tour. A new opportunity to play golf at a competitive level, against guys you went toe-to-toe with during your PGA TOUR days.

And events like the Principal Charity Classic constantly reinvent themselves. Each season provides fans an opportunity to see the next wave of eligible players. Last year, Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III made his first appearance. This year, the new headliners include John Daly and Miguel Ángel Jiménez.

In the Principal Charity Classic’s 15-year history, there have been 309 different players in the field. The 2015 field included 14 new faces. There were 16 newcomers in 2014.

Daly isn’t the only multiple PGA TOUR winner or major champion playing in his first Principal Charity Classic next month. Todd Hamilton’s name is on the Claret Jug after winning the British Open in 2004, when he beat Ernie Els in a playoff. Earlier that year, Hamilton birdied the final two holes to edge Love by a shot at the Honda Classic. Craig Parry, a two-timer winner on the PGA TOUR, will also be here.

Eligible to play in 2017 will be David Toms (he turns 50 on Jan. 4, 2017) and Steve Stricker (Feb. 23).

That’s the reinvention I spoke of. But there’s always an exception to the rule.

Gil Morgan is the only player to tee it up in all 15 Principal events. He won the title in 2006 at Glen Oaks, the 24th of his 25 PGA TOUR Champions victories.

Morgan, who was this tournament’s first first-round leader back in 2001, turns 70 years old in August. And he’ll keep his Principal streak alive, too, committing to this event last week.

When the Principal Charity Classic made its debut at Glen Oaks in 2001, Daly was 10 years removed from his PGA Championship, and six years removed from his British Open crown. But his fifth and final victory on the PGA TOUR, the 2004 Buick Invitational, was three years in the future.

Daly got lost in the PGA TOUR shuffle in recent years, a card without a deck. He didn’t have a steady place to tee it up.

“It’s been pretty tough the last few years not knowing where I’m going to play and waiting by the phone on exemptions and stuff,” Daly said. “And now that I have a category here that I can play a few years and get a schedule going, it will be good for me.”

Jiménez has won three times on the PGA TOUR Champions so far, including this year’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic when he outdueled Scott Dunlap and Iowa native Jerry Smith over the final few holes. Jiménez also won the 2015 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and the 2014 Greater Gwinett Championship.

Daly and Jiménez will bring matching free spirits to the Principal Charity Classic.

Daly’s grip-it-and-rip-it style draws attention. So does Jiménez’s unique stretching routine.  And he is, as the late  Stuart Scott used to say on ESPN, cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Daly is expected to make the popularity meter work overtime when he arrives at the Wakonda Club.

“I hear people say, ‘John, you ought to be in the (World Golf Hall of Fame),’ stuff like that,” Daly said. “And I always tell people, ‘Look, I’m already in the Hall of Fame because I’ve got the greatest fans in the world. No matter what, through thick and thin, they’ve always stuck by me.’ ”

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter

A bet, a root canal and one Fuzzy Zoeller

The night before the final round of the 2003 Principal Charity Classic, Fuzzy Zoeller had a toothache. One root canal later, he was back on the course – with a local dentist in tow: “It was just like Rocky,” he said. And just like Fuzzy. Read more from Rick Brown.

Fuzzy Zoeller made a bet with John Daly. It was more like a wake-up slap in the face.

Daly was living hard and fast, and his friends were concerned about him. I’ll bet you $150,000 you don’t make it to 50 years old, Zoeller told Daly.

Well, he did. Daly turned 50 last month, and is now a rookie on the PGA TOUR Champions. The bet, by the way, has been paid off.

“Yeah, he (Zoeller) even said he thought it was 40,” Daly said. “I told him to just give me a bottle of your Fuzzy’s Vodka and we’ll call it even.”

Daly and Zoeller will both be in the field for the upcoming Principal Charity Classic. Both men are characters, fan magnets and two-time major champions. A collective career Grand Slam, if you will.

Zoeller won the 1979 Masters and the 1984 U.S. Open, in a playoff over Greg Norman. Daly went from no-name to big name with his victory in the 1991 PGA Championship, and added the 1995 British Open in a playoff with Costantino Rocca.

While this will be Daly’s first trip to town, Zoeller is a Des Moines veteran. He’s played in the event every year since 2003.

Zoeller is so popular that a bobblehead in his likeness was made in 2012. Zoeller admitted then that his days as a contender were in the rear-view mirror.

“I’m at the back door, and I’ve got one step out,” Zoeller said that year. “I’ve done it my way. As far as my career, I can’t complain. I’ve enjoyed every doggone minute of it.”

Some crazy things have happened during Zoeller’s 39-round Principal Charity Classic career.

In 2003, Zoeller experienced tooth pain the night before the final round. A call went out to Des Moines dentist Bob Margeas. You need a root canal, Margeas told Zoeller. Margeas called a friend, Ty Erickson, a West Des Moines endodontist. Erickson did the root canal.

Zoeller decided to play the final round.

“I had nothing else to do,” Zoeller said.

Margeas followed Zoeller around during that final round, giving him four injections to numb the pain while he shot 73.

“He said, “Give me what you got,’ ” Margeas said. “It was just like Rocky. ‘Come on, Mick, cut me.’ ”

Zoeller also had the craziest ace in Principal Charity Classic history in 2006. It came at the 16th hole at Glen Oaks. His tee shot stopped left of the pin, in the second cut of rough.

“I was already thinking about my next shot,” Zoeller said. “I started walking and asked my caddie for my sand wedge because I figured I was going to chip it.”

Zoeller was behind some bushes, and didn’t see his ball start to roll after a 10-second delay.

But roll it did, right into the cup. Zoeller heard the crowd erupt, and raised his arms in triumph.

“It was a great shot, let me tell you,” Zoeller said. “I hit such a crappy shot to get it to where it was going. It’s a crazy game. I’m glad I don’t have to do this for a living.”

For the record, Zoeller hit a 7-iron on the 163-yard hole.

Back then, 45 PGA TOUR Champions players would put $100 each into a hole-in-one pool. So Zoeller got his $100 back, as well as $4,400 more from his competitors.

“Think I’m going to make ESPN’s worst shots of the day?” he asked.

When the Principal Charity Classic was played in 2005 at Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City, Zoeller left his mark there, too.

After making a 15-footer to save par at No. 9, his final hole of the tournament in Sunday’s final round, Zoeller acknowledged the gallery by taking a bow. Then he threw his putter into Burt’s Pond, which runs along the hole. Witnesses reported Zoeller showed good balance and a perfect follow-through on the toss.

Back at Glen Oaks in 2011, Zoeller followed an opening 81 with a 70.

“When you get older, stuff just happens,” Zoeller said.

Off in the first pairing with Jim Gallagher, Jr., in the second round, the two played in 2 hours 49 minutes. They went in to eat lunch after signing their scorecards. Breakfast was still being served.

Zoeller will be back this year. Though winning is out of the picture, there’s always a chance that he’ll do something to be remembered long after he retires from the game.

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter

John Daly Commits To Play 2016 Principal Charity Classic In Des Moines

The Principal Charity Classic presented by Well Fargo, an annual PGA TOUR Champions event focused on raising funds for Iowa children’s charities, is pleased to announce champion golfer and fan favorite John Daly has committed to play in the 2016 Principal Charity Classic, set for May 31-June 5 at Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

In 2016, The Principal® is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of its title sponsorship of the tournament, which has raised more than $7.7 million for charity in the past nine years and is set to be the must-see event of the summer in Des Moines.

Daly, who becomes eligible to compete in PGA TOUR Champions events after turning 50 on April 28, is one of the most recognizable players and colorful personalities in professional golf. He is known by many for his driving distance off the tee, which has earned him the nickname “Long John” and characterized his style of play as “grip it and rip it.”

“We are tremendously excited to welcome John Daly to Des Moines for the 2016 Principal Charity Classic,” said Greg Conrad, Principal Charity Classic Tournament Director. “His commitment certainly speaks to the quality of the event, which the Des Moines community has helped create, and is further evidence the Principal Charity Classic is considered a premier tournament by the players.”

The Principal Charity Classic has an annual estimated economic impact of $23 million on the greater Des Moines region and raised a record $1.4 million for charity in 2015.

“The Principal Charity Classic has been very successful in its mission of raising funds for charity and strengthening its community over the years,” Conrad said. “John Daly is someone who can help make an even bigger difference through his unique ability to reach new audiences and drive incredible excitement. He truly inspires people to engage in an event.

“We also believe our tournament is a great fit for John because he has been very committed to personally giving back to charity throughout his career, which is what the Principal Charity Classic is all about.”

Legendary Player

Daly famously won the first of his two major championships at the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club after qualifying as the ninth and final alternate for the event. His three-stroke victory, which came during his first year on the PGA TOUR, was one of the most unforeseen results in golf history and helped earn him PGA TOUR “Rookie of the Year” honors.

Daly also won the 1995 Open Championship in a memorable four-hole playoff over Costantino Rocca, and was the PGA TOUR’s “Comback Player of the Year” in 2004 after winning the Buick Invitational that year.

‘Daly Deal’ For Fans

In recognition of Daly’s Principal Charity Classic commitment and his upcoming 50th birthday, fans can chip in for charity and save 50% on 2016 Principal Charity Classic Good-Any-One-Day tickets now through March 7 by using the promo code DALY 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.


About the Principal Charity Classic

The Principal Charity Classic presented by Wells Fargo is an annual PGA TOUR Champions event focused on philanthropic giving. This premier golf event raises contributions for the tournament’s “FORE Our Kids” charities, including: 1) Tournament Charity Partners, select organizations that provide a broad level of support to children of Iowa in the areas of education and culture, financial security and stability, and/or health and wellness. These organizations are supported through net proceeds of the tournament; and 2) Birdies for Charity Partners, which includes more than 100 additional children’s charities across Iowa that receive support through individual pledges and contributions made prior to and during the tournament.

The 2016 Principal Charity Classic tournament will be played May 31-June 5 at Wakonda Club in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information on the charities and the tournament, visit principalcharityclassic.com, or via Facebook or Twitter.

About Principal®

Principal helps people and companies around the world build, protect and advance their financial well-being through retirement, insurance and asset management solutions that fit their lives. Our employees are passionate about helping clients of all income and portfolio sizes achieve their goals – offering innovative ideas, investment expertise and real-life solutions to make financial progress possible. To find out more, visit us at principal.com.

About PGA TOUR Champions

PGA TOUR Champions is a membership organization of golfers age 50 and older, with the most recognizable and accomplished players in the game – including 34 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, which compete regularly in its events. PGA TOUR Champions is where Legends play, and is home to The Ultimate Clubhouse. Conceived in 1980 as the Senior PGA Tour, it started with just four events and purses totaling $475,000. The primary purpose of PGA TOUR Champions is to provide financial opportunities for its players, entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, protect the integrity of the game and generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays. In 2016, the newly-introduced Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs will identify and recognize the Tour’s leading player via a season-long race for the Charles Schwab Cup. The Commissioner of the PGA TOUR is Tim Finchem. Greg McLaughlin is President of PGA TOUR Champions. The PGA TOUR’s website is pgatour.com, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Follow PGA TOUR Champions at facebook.com/PGATOURChampions and on Twitter @ChampionsTour.