A burly security guard mans a staged Schwab-blue ’73 Dodge Charger near the 10th tee at Colonial Country Club. Gear-heads gawk as they stroll by the muscle car on a beautiful Fort Worth, Texas afternoon.
“You can come up and get a close look, you can look inside, but do not touch,” the security guard says with a grin.
A crowd gathers for the official introduction of the muscle car. The ceremony is hosted by Schwab Chief Marketing Officer, Andy Gill and Steve Strope, owner of Pure Vision, a California-based hot rod fabrication shop.
One question is on everyone’s mind, “Why is Charles Schwab giving a 1973 Dodge Challenger to the winner?”
- This is the 73rd edition of the tournament
- Charles Schwab was founded in 1973
- The Colonial Country Club golf course and investing are both “challenging”
And when it seemed the real-life metaphors were maxed, Gill offeres this, “And like investing, it’s helpful to have an expert, which is why we reached out to Steve Strope from Pure Vision to build the car.”
Schwab executives do not disclose the car investment total which took 2,800 hours to build, but nod in approval to something in the neighborhood of $400,000. The paint is glacier blue and leather seats are vanilla shake accented with a strip of tartan plaid just like a Colonial Country Club member’s jacket. And perhaps the creative journey for ’73 Dodge Charger-trophy feels slightly forced. Equally, it’s blasphemy to slander the final product which is beautifully written story with an unexpected, happy ending.
Four days later on Sunday evening, 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge champion Kevin Na takes a seat in the press room to take questions. Rounds of 70-62-69-66 are enough for Na to clip Tony Finau by four shots. It’s Na’s third win on the PGA Tour.
Questions begin and there are a few about Na’ play, but the Dodge Charger steals the show.
Dodge Charger Question No. 1: “We have some unique trophies on this tour, and this is obviously a beautiful one here. You also receive the 1973 Dodge Challenger that Mr. Schwab just presented the keys to you. Talk a little bit about that.”
Kevin Na: “Oh, wow, that car is beautiful. Saw that car. I knew about it before I got here. Months in advance they said they’re giving a ’73 Dodge, this old classic that’s, you know, refurbished and it’s beautiful. I don’t know how my caddie convinced me to give him the car, but he’s a good salesman I guess. He sold me into it. But I’m more than happy to give it to him. He deserves it. I got something cooler right here.”
Dodge Charger Question No. 2: “Kenny said that he first mentioned it on Tuesday during a practice round of about the car and you just basically said, Hey, if I win I’ll give it to you. Did he continue to remind you about that throughout the week?”
Kevin Na: “He did (during) the practice round, and once the tournament started, no. But, oh, he knows I was thinking about it. I mean, looks like a beautiful car, but little did I know how much that car was worth. But he said, But I’ll take my name out of the hole-in-one list, because we have a hole-in-one list. Every time I make a hole-in-one, if there is a car, the person gets it. It starts with parents, then goes wife, daughter, and Kenny. Kenny said, Well, I started working with you before your daughter was born, so I’m behind the wife. I’ll take my name out of list if you give me that car. I was like, Whatever, fine.”
Dodge Charger Question No. 3: “And does Kenny still get paid or is the Challenger his salary?”
Kevin Na: “Oh, yeah. You know what? Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s the highest percentage paid caddie out here. I’m being dead serious. You can ask him. He won’t tell you the number, but he gets a good check, a lot more than the average.”
Dodge Charger Question No. 4: “Since you’ve given him the Challenger, what have you got to race him in? Got anything you can race him in?”
Kevin Na: “Oh, yeah I got a Lamborghini at home.”
“Schwab” decals are on the front and rear of the car. Gill is asked at the presentation ceremony on Wednesday if the recipient is required to keep the “Schwab” decals on the car.
Gill replies, “No, the winner’s name will be engraved near the gear shift and they can do whatever they want, but why would they ever remove the Schwab decals? It looks so good.”