Principal Charity Classic Launches 2019 Volunteer Registration.

Invest in the future of Iowa kids by volunteering at the Principal Charity Classic!

Volunteer registration for the 2019 Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo, is now open at principalcharityclassic.com. Since 2007, the Principal Charity Classic has raised more than $17.7 million to help Iowa kids succeed – including a record $4,356,321 in 2018.

The award-winning PGA TOUR Champions event returns May 28-June 2 to historic Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

“More than 1,200 volunteers help bring the Principal Charity Classic to life ever year,” said Jenny Fields, Tournament Manager for the Principal Charity Classic. “They are truly the heart and hands of the tournament – we couldn’t do it without them.”

Volunteer opportunities

Golf knowledge isn’t required to volunteer; in fact, the tournament has a variety of opportunities for golfers and non-golfers alike.

Volunteer assignments range from on-course marshals, standard bearers and TV spotters to merchandise volunteers, shuttle drivers, Pro-Am operations and more. A full list of committees can be viewed at principalcharityclassic.com.

Committees are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, with placements announced in April.

How to register

Returning and new volunteers must complete online registration at principalcharityclassic.com. Volunteers are required to work a minimum of two (2) shifts, which range from 4-6 hours each, and to make an $89 donation in support of Iowa children’s charities when registering.

All 2019 volunteers will receive the following package, valued at approximately $400, in exchange for their generous donation to support the tournament’s charitable mission:

  • Free admission for tournament week
  • Five (5) gallery tournament tickets to share with friends and family
  • Meals on days of service
  • An invitation to the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party
  • The official volunteer uniform – two golf polos and a hat or visor shipped directly to your home
  • A one-time 25% off merchandise discount
  • A preferred parking pass for tournament week

There are also a limited number of junior volunteer opportunities available for individuals age 13-17 during tournament week. Juniors interested in volunteering should use the code JUNIOR when registering online.

Volunteer incentives

The Principal Charity Classic offers a variety of unique registration incentives for volunteers, including:

  • Register by Feb. 4 to be entered to win an inside-the-ropes Honorary Observer experience.
  • Register by March 4 to be entered to win an invitation to the 2019 Tee Off Party at Wells Fargo Arena.
  • Register by April 1 to be entered to win merchandise prize package.

To learn more about these incentives, visit principalcharityclassic.com/volunteer.


Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa Named PGA TOUR Champions Charity of the Year.

PGA TOUR Champions announced that its 2018 Charity of the Year is Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa, an official tournament charity partner of the Principal Charity Classic®, presented by Wells Fargo.

The Principal Charity Classic, the annual PGA TOUR Champions event in Des Moines, has raised more than $17.7 million to help Iowa kids succeed since 2007. Last year, the tournament touched the lives of more than 130,000 children statewide.

“Variety is proud to be one of the Principal Charity Classic’s tournament charity partners,” said Sheri McMichael, Executive Director of Variety. “And to be recognized by the PGA TOUR Champions for that partnership and our efforts to provide inclusive play to all Iowa children is a great honor.”

The national Charity of the Year honor celebrates Variety’s commitment to improving the lives of Iowa kids. As Charity of the Year, Variety will receive a $30,000 donation from PGA TOUR Champions. The donation will be used to help fund the construction of the inclusive Variety Star Playground at Riverview Park, which will be Des Moines’ second park with adaptive equipment for children with special needs.

Variety advocates for and improves the lives of children throughout Iowa who are at-risk, underprivileged, critically ill and/or growing up with special needs. One of Variety’s signature programs is “Bikes for Kids,” which provides bikes, helmets and locks to kids, as well as adaptive bikes for children with special needs. Charitable dollars raised by the Principal Charity Classic have helped fund the donation of more than 100 adaptive bikes.

“The Principal Charity Classic makes a tremendous impact on kids across the state of Iowa, and we’re proud to honor Variety as the PGA TOUR Champions Charity of the Year,” said Miller Brady, President of PGA TOUR Champions. “Variety is one of the many great charities impacted by the Principal Charity Classic, and so many lives have been shaped because of the tournament’s dedication to charitable giving.”

The 2019 Principal Charity Classic will take place May 28 – June 2 at historic Wakonda Club in Des Moines. Tickets are available now 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, 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.

 


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


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


For Brandt Jobe, the Principal Charity Classic feels personal.

As the defending champion of the Principal Charity Classic, Brandt Jobe returned to Des Moines for a pre-tournament media day on April 23.

His stops included a visit to Blank Children’s Hospital, one of the event’s six tournament charity partners. It was a visit that hit home for Jobe.

He was in eighth grade, just into his teenage years, when he spent a month at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver.

He was suffering from Reye’s Syndrome, an allergic reaction to aspirin.

“One out of three live,” Jobe said. “At first they didn’t know what I had. They thought it was the plague or something. I was in a tented room. My mom and dad came in masks. My dad was a doctor. He was going crazy.”

Reye’s Syndrome was the eventual diagnosis.

“You can’t keep anything down and you start whittling away,” Jobe said. “Your body fights it or it doesn’t, and you die.”

Jobe’s stomach was pumped constantly, and he had IVs in his arm.

“I remember a big day was getting up, walking down the hall and walking back,” Jobe said.

Brandt spent time hanging out with an older boy who had the same diagnosis.

“All of a sudden he’s gone,” Jobe said. “He didn’t make it. I didn’t know.”

Jobe recalls ministers from his family church coming in one day to see him, and started thinking the worse.

“I said to my mom and dad, ‘What are they doing here?’” Jobe said. “I guess I got a little closer than I thought.”

All those memories come back when Brandt, a father of two, makes stops to places like Blank Children’s Hospital. He visited with several kids during his April visit. Jobe gave kids his bobblehead. He putted with several of them on a makeshift green, played video games with others. Kids who first kept their distance ended up sitting on his lap.

“If you can just change their day a little bit,” Jobe said. “They were able to have a little fun. That’s a big deal in their life. I’m glad this tournament is so involved with (Blank Children’s Hospital) here. That’s what it’s all about.”

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter


5 Questions with…Alfonso Ribeiro

Actor and comedian Alfonso Ribeiro played in the Prairie Meadows Pro-Am during the 2018 Principal Charity Classic.

An avid golfer, he was playing for the first time in three weeks after traveling to Italy for a vacation with his wife (and Iowa native), Angela.

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

RB: Have you been to Des Moines much?

AR: I’m mostly out of eastern Iowa, but I’ve been to Des Moines. Actually, many, many, many moons ago they used to have a car race here in the city through the streets and I came here for that maybe a couple decades back (the Ruan Greater Des Moines Grand Prix in 1993).

RB: Do you ever get asked where you wife is from and then you day, Swedesburg, Iowa, and they ask where that’s at?

AR: I pretty much never say Swedesburg because 90 percent of Iowans don’t even know where Swedesburg is. I just kind of go north of Mount Pleasant, south of Iowa City. It’s the easy answer, I think, for everybody concerned. Her grandmother started the Swedish American Museum there in Swedesburg, so it’s a really cute little town and it’s always nice to go back. It’s different from growing up in the Bronx, but I enjoy coming back.

RB: How does a guy from the Bronx take up golf, and how long until you took up the sport?

AR: I started playing at 18. Some friends of mine were like, ‘Hey, let’s go to the driving range and hit some golf balls.’ And I was like, ‘What’s that?’ I didn’t even know what golf was at that time. My first swing, I hit it straight over the fence at the driving range, and they couldn’t understand how I was able to do that. I don’t know how I was able to do it, either, but I fell in love and continued to play. Then in my 30s I got serious about it.

RB: You’re a brand ambassador for the PGA TOUR Champions. Why is it appealing to you to be connected with that tour?

AR: I’ll tell you, what I love about the PGA TOUR Champions is the history of the game in these players. The difference between these guys and the guys on the Tour is perspective. Before the Tiger (Woods) era, guys had to do a lot out there and they had to grind to make it to the next week. You had to make the cut. You weren’t automatically in the next week’s field. So these guys have such a great perspective and they have such a great connection with the fans, and that’s something that really rings true for me. I feel like it’s so important when you have the opportunity to really connect with the fans that are out there because that’s what keeps the game going. It’s what keeps your career going.

RB: It looks like you embrace fans on the golf course. Is that something you had to learn?

AR: Years ago, I had a very different perspective dealing with fans and I could never understand it. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten a greater perspective of their side and understanding the other side. You know, they might have one opportunity to meet someone that they enjoy watching on TV and why take that moment away from them? Why not give them that moment and allow them to enjoy it for the rest of their life and make a memory? It only takes a couple of seconds out of my time to do that. Why not?

By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter