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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Lawrence Dow

The Charles Schwab Challenge’s champions prize is one of golf’s most unique

The winner of the Charles Schwab Challenge receives a $1.566 million check, a big trophy and 500 points toward their season’s FedEx Cup total.

Ordinary stuff for a PGA tournament winner.

But what’s unusual is the special prize given to the winner annually at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth: A classic car that’s been specially restored to commemorate the tournament and its sponsor. This year’s winner will receive a 1973 Schwab Bronco.

This tradition began when Charles Schwab became the primary tournament sponsor in 2019. The company leaders wanted to add the company’s imprint and flair to the historic tournament.

“We wanted to give them [tournament winners] something memorable that money can’t buy,” said Mason Reed.

Reed, the Managing Director of Acquisition and Corporate Marketing for Charles Schwab, said the decision was in part due to company research that indicated that collecting classic cars was a popular hobby of golf fans.

This year’s car will be the fourth since the new tradition was established.

The first car was a 1973 Schwab Challenger awarded to Kevin Na, the second a 1946 Schwab Power Wagon awarded to Jason Kokrak and the third was a 1979 Schwab Firebird awarded to last year’s winner Sam Burns.

The cars have been popular among the winners.

Kokrak told Golfweek the 1946 Power Wagon in his Christmas cards the following year and said he drives the car regularly.

The 1973 Schwab Bronco was restored by Classic Ford Broncos which operates out of Columbus, Ohio.

Why was the Bronco selected?

“We’re originally a West Coast company with current headquarters in Westlake, Texas, and so on some level it felt like it was the right mix of our original roots and our current headquarters,” said Reed.

The 1973 model was selected because that was the year Charles Schwab was founded.

The car’s exterior is painted Schwab blue and has the Bronco logo emblazoned above the front left wheel. The car’s interior has brown seats with tartan accents with a cream dashboard.

The tartan accents are an homage to the jacket given annually by the tournament to its winners.

Nate Guess, the lead restorer for Classic Ford Broncos, detailed the restoration process and what got him into the industry.

Guess said the only original parts of the car were the frame and the vehicle information number (VIN) tag. He said he and his team built the rest of the car from scratch. The process took 14 weeks to complete and the car would retail for well into six figures if sold on the open market.

“I’ve always enjoyed taking things apart and trying to make them better by putting them back together in a better way than it actually came out of the factory,” said Guess.

Guess cited two features that he loved the most about the car. The first was the interior design and the second was the custom Schwab lettering located on the front grill and tailgate.

The Bronco was also a favorite of Reed who said it was his favorite car that they had restored.

The Bronco has been a popular photo spot with fans throughout the early parts of the tournament where it is on display near the 10th hole.

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