Challenge winner to receive custom car

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, May 25th, 2019

TOM WARD
TOMPWARD@SBCGLOBAL.NET

The winner of this year’s 73rd annual Charles Schwab Challenge
will pocket a cool $1,314,000 first place check and his name etched on
the Wall of Champions located off the first tee at Colonial Country
Club. Plus, the newly crowned champion will get to hoist the iconic
Leonard Trophy that has been awarded at Colonial since 1950 and then
get fitted for the coveted Scottish royal tartan plaid jacket (since
1952). If that’s not enough, this year’s champ will get the keys to a
fully renovated and customized 1973 Dodge Challenger. The Challenger
prize is a first for the tournament and is designed to celebrate the
year Schwab was founded, the challenging nature of the course at
Colonial and the challenging spirit of the event and its players. The
car will be on special display at the 10th tee during the tournament.

Charles Schwab & Company signed on as title sponsor of the PGA
TOUR’s Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club in 2018.
Already a major sponsor of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions, the
four-year agreement, which runs through 2022, marks the firm’s
first-ever title sponsorship of a PGA TOUR event. It also reinforces
Schwab’s commitment to the Dallas-Worth Metroplex, which is home to
the firm’s rapidly-growing presence in Westlake.

While I was on the grounds of Colonial for the pro-am I heard a
lot of buzz about the classic customized car. PGA Tour Commissioner
Jay Monahan (who was in town) chimed in saying,
“I don’t know if you guys have seen the ‘73 Dodge Challenger. We
just spent a few minutes out there. What a nice addition to this
championship. It’s neat to see players talking about it, looking at
it, and being inspired to go and try and win it early in the week of
this event. I think the fact that a car that emanated in 1973, the
same year the Charles Schwab brand and company stepped forward, is a
great statement to the world about longevity and sustainability.”
During defending champion Justin Rose’s press conference on
Wednesday he was asked about the 1973 Dodge Challenger that the winner
will receive this year. Rose replied,
“I was fortunate that I got to play nine holes with Mr. Charles
Schwab himself today during the pro-am. I told him man what where you
doing last year when I won? It was cool to hear the story about the
1973 Challenger when they started the business with 4 employees and
they were a challenger to the big names back then. He told me he felt
like the story behind the challenger and the name as well as the
timeline mirrored his rise to what is obviously now a huge
organization that is thankfully sponsoring the PGA Tour.”

The media was invited to get a special viewing of the car. Schwab
CMO Andy Gill gave a brief speech about the car’s meaningful history,
it’s design, and the firm’s excitement for year one as title sponsor
at Colonial. Gill said,
“We are excited to be in Ft. Worth for sponsorship of the
Charles Schwab Challenge. When we were presented with the opportunity
to do something here in Ft. Worth at such an historic golf club we
approached it like we approach every business strategy looking through
clients eyes. We started with the players and looked through their
eyes to make this a really unique tournament. The idea we came up with
played on the fact that this tournament has such a tradition with 73
years. We thought about that number 73 and it tied in with when we
incorporated Charles Schwab in 1973. Both this course and our company
have been challenges. We challenge on behalf of our clients to make
investing simple and transparent and easy for them to reach their
goals. Colonial has long been known as a shot makers course. So we
came up with an idea to create a really unique prize for the winner of
the tournament and the Dodge Challenger came up. It’s helpful to have
an expert to guide you across the path so we called Steve Strope. The
team at Pure Vision in Simi Valley, California got us Steve who’s an
expert and the result of that is truly a one of a kind unique prize on
the PGA Tour.”

Then Mr. Gill introduced Steve Strope, who, as founder of Pure
Vision led the restoration process of the car. Strope told everyone in
attendance that he was quite surprised when he received a phone call
from Charles Schwab. Schwab proceeded to tell him that he wanted him
to make a car as a prize for a golf tournament. He thought that
someone might be trying to prank him. Strope said,
“It was a very surprising phone call. I’ve done a lot of corporate
stuff, but this was one was interesting because of the mash of the two
worlds. When you’re doing high performance muscle cars your usually
not thinking of the golf world. My first instinct as a designer is how
am I going to make that look to fit this world. I knew I could do it
and I enjoyed the journey.”

Strope added that he thought it was important to incorporate the
royal tartan plaid to the interior of the car. He stated,
“I reached out to the gentleman who makes the jackets and asked
him if we could have some of the actual jacket material? I did a
couple of samples testing the width and I splashed it in on the seats
and the door parts. So it ties it in and I think it will be special
for the winner because his jacket will match his car or in my opinion
his car will match his jacket.”

When Mr. Gill asked if there were any questions my wife asked how
long did it take to finish the job? Strope replied,
“Very good question. The real question is how long do they normally
take? With my work load it takes about a year and a half. I closed my
shop to do this vehicle for them and we did it in 3.5 months and put
in about 2800 hours. This vehicle was taken down to its bare body
shell. Everything on it is brand new or it’s the original parts that
have been restored back to perfection or better than when they
originally rolled off the showroom. The color of the car is an astin
martin color called glacier blue.”

Strope then grabbed his keys and turned the car on and it sounded
just like I remembered back in 1973.

Afterwards I got up close and inspected the interior and the
engine and it was quite impressive. It will be entertaining to see who
gets to drive off in the sunset with the championship in this
stunningly beautiful automobile.
For more information on the tournament, visit
www.charlesschwabchallenge.com and aboutschwab.com.

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