The Willie Park Trophy

The prize for the PNC Championship winning team is the Willie Park Trophy, named in honor of the first winner of the British Open, the world’s oldest golf championship.

The Willie Park Trophy is based upon the original championship prize of the Open in 1860, a red leather belt with sterling silver embellishments similar to the belts awarded in modern times to boxing champions. Park (1833-1903) won the British Open four times (1860, 1863, 1866, and 1875) and his son, Willie Jr. (1864-1925), won twice (1887 and 1889).

The belt was the senior Park’s prize for his first three championships but for none of his son’s victories.

Starting in 1872, the belt was replaced by the silver claret jug, which British Open champions have received ever since.

The reason for the change in championship prizes was that the rule in those days was that anyone who won the belt for three years in succession would retain permanent possession.

The belt was retired as the championship prize by Tom Morris, Jr., who won in 1868, 1869 and 1870. Since there was no prize, the British Open was not held in 1871, but the championship was resumed in 1872 with the silver claret jug as the prize.

Garrard, The Crown Jewelers in England since 1843, created the Willie Park Trophy especially for the PNC Championship.

The first winners of the Willie Park Trophy in 1995 were Raymond Floyd and his son, Raymond, Jr., who shot rounds of 62 and 57 for a 119 total to win by six strokes over Hale Irwin and his son Steve. The Floyds shot 119 to win by six strokes over Hale Irwin and his son Steve in 1995 and shot 124 to win by two strokes over Dave Stockton and his son Ron in 1996.