ADVERTISEMENT

Father-Son Challenge returns after 3-year break

  • Associated Press
  • December 14, 2012 - 4:40 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. - When Larry Nelson won the last Father-Son Challenge with son Drew, the runner-up duo included a high school freshman just beginning to grow into his body and his swing.

Look at Dru Love now.

The son of Davis Love III stands 6-foot-3, a five-time Georgia state champion now trying to crack the lineup of a No. 1 Alabama team that includes a U.S. Amateur semifinalist and two second-team All-Americans.

And if you think he's big, check out Arnold Palmer's partner this week. Grandson Will Wears is a 6-foot-5 high school senior who plays basketball during Pennsylvania's winter season.

"Yeah, it's been a while," Nelson said Friday.

After a three-year absence, the scramble event returns this weekend at Grande Lakes Orlando's Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.

"When your son's with you, you'd better be competitive," said Jack Nicklaus, joined by son Gary this week. "And your son had better be competitive. Both of you want to show each other that you can play."

The event had a 14-year run from 1995-2008 before sponsorship issues dropped it from the schedule. It was such a hit among its Hall of Fame participants, though, that organizers never set the concept aside.

With Palmer's help, the event was revived in March with PNC Bank as sponsor.

"It's exciting to think that they want to play as badly as they do," Palmer said when the return was formally announced. "So they bring their sons, their daughters — whatever it might be — and it's pretty exciting."

The field features 18 major champions or Players Championship winners, paired with their offspring. In the case of guys like Nicklaus, Nelson and Raymond Floyd, they've had to let two sons alternate years.

"It's fun to come and compete on the big stage — or what feels like a big stage to us," said Josh Nelson, who helped Team Nelson to the 2007 title but stepped aside a year later as brother Drew helped bring the family another title. "We relish it. Every year, we were hoping to hear that they would get a sponsor and we're just really thankful for PNC stepping up."

Dru Love — formally Davis Love IV but with a nickname shortened from the word "quadruple" — was 14 at the last Father-Son. As exciting as it was to challenge the Nelsons down the stretch, the company he was keeping was no less memorable.

"Getting out with your dad and playing a scramble is no big deal," he said. "But when you jump out there with — last (time) we had Shark (Greg Norman) and Vijay (Singh) — that was really cool."

Lee Trevino and Daniel Trevino also are playing along with Nick Faldo and Matthew Faldo, Hale Irwin and Steve Irwin, Vijay Singh and Qass Singh, Steve Elkington and Sam Elkington, Raymond Floyd and Robert Floyd, Lee Janzen and Connor Janzen, Bernhard Langer and Christina Langer, Sandy Lyle and James Lyle, Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, David Duval and Nick Karavites, Dave Stockton and David Stockton, Lanny Wadkins and Tucker Wadkins, and Fuzzy Zoeller and Gretchen Zoeller.

© 2014 Star Tribune