PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Kurt Penn and his daughters Mia (9) and Tessa (7) have spent the winter in the frigid temperatures of Chicago, but are now dreaming of sunny Florida, thanks to winning THE PLAYERS Championship “Kuch’s Krew” contest, as announced yesterday by Matt Kuchar, live on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” The Penns submitted a video explaining why they wanted to be in Kuchar’s fan club when he returns to defend his title at THE PLAYERS, May 6-12, and were chosen from three finalists by an online fan vote. The Penns, who hail from Park Ridge, Ill., will be flown to Jacksonville, Fla., for THE PLAYERS, and their trip will include five nights’ hotel accommodation, rental car, food expenses and, of course, week-long tickets to the tournament. As part of their PLAYERS experience, the Penns will have the opportunity to meet Kuchar in person, attend some VIP events with him and experience a PGA TOUR event from behind the scenes.
Beginning Jan. 24, fans were encouraged to submit 30-second videos describing why they wanted to be a part of Kuchar’s gallery at THE PLAYERS 2013. A panel of experts judged entries based on creativity, originality and style and narrowed the field down to three finalists. From there, fans voted for their favorite video, and the Penns garnered 65 percent of the votes.
Mia and Tessa’s enthusiasm was most likely the key to victory, as the girls danced, jumped and sang in an effort to show Kuchar how much they wanted to be in his Krew. They also showed off a photo of themselves with Kuchar that was taken at the Ryder Cup last year, which they wanted to use as the family’s Christmas card (that idea was nixed, the girls said, because their dad looks too much like Kuchar, “in a good way”).
“I’ve liked Kuch for a long time, but for the girls, it really all started early last year when they signed up for the Ryder Cup Youth Skills Challenge that was sponsored by the Illinois PGA,” said Kurt Penn. “The IPGA provided tickets to a Ryder Cup practice round, and the girls had a blast getting autographs from a lot of the players. The highlight, by far, was when Matt pulled the girls inside the ropes and chatted with them while walking to the next tee box. He also signed their hats.
“We enjoy seeing Matt on TV with his family, and I personally think he’s a great role model for the girls. Kuch will always be a favorite in the Penn household.”
Mia is in third grade and Tessa is in second grade. Both girls enjoy golf, although they mainly stick to the driving range and putting greens (they play games of “PIG” in the basement during the winter months). They played their first nine-hole round of golf last year, and both girls made a par. According to their dad, “Mia has a nice, controlled swing; Tessa likes to grip it and rip it.”
The Kuch’s Krew promotion, in conjunction with Kuchar’s sponsor, Bridgestone Golf, celebrates a recent trend of avid player fan clubs surfacing at THE PLAYERS. For several years, Sergio Garcia has been supported by the “Sergio Boys,” a band of seven local teenagers, many of whom have been friends since they were in kindergarten, who started following Garcia during the final round of the 2007 PLAYERS and wore tie-dyed golf shirts emblazoned with Garcia’s name (first name on the front, last name on the back) to support his 2008 win at the event. In 2011, when K.J. Choi became the first Asian player to win THE PLAYERS Championship, six self-proclaimed “good ole boys” from Tennessee donned black “Choi’s Bois” t-shirts and followed Choi as he defeated David Toms in a sudden-death playoff for the biggest win of his career.
THE PLAYERS will return to the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, May 6-12, 2013. More information about THE PLAYERS is available at PGATOUR.COM/theplayers.