How the PNC Championship assigns tees for players from age 12 to 84

Tiger Woods tees off at 2023 PNC Championship

Tiger Woods is one of only a handful of players playing the back tee at the 2023 PNC Championship.

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At this week’s PNC Championship, it’s a family affair.

Forty players ranging in age from 12 to 84 are teeing it up at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida, meaning tournament organizers have to find a way to make it as even a playing field as possible for a field separated by literal generations.

How do they do it?

Here’s a look at the tournament guidelines.

PNC Championship tee guidelines for the field. PNC Championship

The PNC Championship is utilizing four tees this week: Gold, White, Red and Blue.

The guidelines call for male pros under age 52 and family members 16 and up to play the Gold tee, which is the longest, at 7,106 yards. That’s where Tiger Woods is playing from this week, as well as David Duval, Padraig Harrington, Matt Kuchar, Justin Leonard and Justin Thomas.

The White tee, at 6,578 yards, is the week’s most popular. The guidelines call for professionals and family members aged 53-63 to play from here, as well as LPGA members and family members aged 14-15. More than half the field is playing from the White tee this year.

Then there’s the Red tee, measuring 6,036 yards, designated from professionals aged 64-72, and juniors aged 12-13.

Finally, the shortest tee available is the Blue, which is meant for juniors aged 11 and under, and professionals aged 73 and over. There are only two players in the field playing from this tee this year: the oldest, Lee Trevino, and the youngest, Annika Sorenstam’s son, Will McGee.

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Eagle-eyed observers will notice that the players listed on the sheet don’t necessarily fit into the tee category the guidelines dictate.

For example, McGee is 12 years old, not 11, and is playing from the Blue tee, and Steve Stricker’s daughter, Izzi, 17, is playing from the Red. Other family members who are older than 16 are also playing the White tee instead of the Gold.

When sent an inquiry to the PGA Tour about the discrepancy, a Tour representative responded that this year, the guidelines were revised to include players 12 and under on the Blue tee. And as for the other players who appear to be playing a tee outside of their assigned category, the representative wrote via email: “Adjustments to who plays what yardage are often made to ensure a greater level of fair competition.” 

With a field separated by more than seven decades from youngest to oldest, total fairness seems like a difficult prospect, but for many of the participants, it’s clear that winning is not necessarily the top priority this week.

“It’s a blast for us to be back out here, playing and competing and just enjoying this atmosphere,” Tiger Woods said after his first round with Charlie. “This event over the years has brought us closer together and provided an atmosphere for us to be able to compete but also bond as a father and son.”

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