Two teams with strong Colorado connections -- including the one comprised of the defending champions, David Duval and stepson Nick Karavites (pictured) -- are in the field for next month's nationally televised PNC Father/Son Challenge that was announced on Monday morning on the Golf Channel.
But there was at least one surprising omission from the 20-team field: World Golf Hall of Famer Hale Irwin and son Steve. Hale, who grew up in Colorado, and Steve, a longtime resident of the state, were the only team to stay intact for the first 19 Father/Son Challenges -- starting in 1995 with a three-year hiatus by the tournament beginning in 2009. But this will be the first year they're not part of the field.
Asked the reason, Steve Irwin said via email, "Your guess is as good as mine."
The Irwins won the tournament in 2003 and have finished second three times. They've placed 11th the last two years. Hale Irwin has won three U.S. Opens and a record 45 tournaments on PGA Tour Champions. Steve is a former CGA Player of the Year who has competed in a U.S. Open and three U.S. Amateurs.
The Father/Son Challenge, which features a scramble format over 36 holes, will take place Dec. 16-17 in Orlando, Fla.
Two British Open champions based in Colorado -- Duval of Cherry Hills Village and Justin Leonard of Aspen -- will be in this year's field.
Duval and Karavites won last year's title by one stroke, becoming the third team with at least one Colorado resident to capture the championship, following Craig and Kevin Stadler (2002) and the Irwins (2003).
Leonard will become the first PGA Tour player to compete in the event with his dad (Larry). Justin Leonard was part of the broadcast team for last year's Father/Son Challenge.
"I've got to reacquaint myself with my golf clubs between now and then," Leonard said on Golf Channel, where he's an analyst. "I'm not sure how I'm going to do that in Colorado, but we're looking forward to a fun weekend."
Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino are among 11 World Golf Hall of Famers scheduled to compete in this year's PNC Father/Son Challenge. For the complete field, CLICK HERE.
To qualify for the Father/Son Challenge, players must have won either a major championship or The Players Championship in their careers. The professional’s partner must not currently hold a Tour card.