With less than a month to go before the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge, the company today unveiled this year’s one-of-a-kind Champion’s Prize — a fully restored and modernized, 1979 Schwab Firebird.
The car is designed to recognize a significant year in the firm’s history, during which Schwab made the first in a long line of major investments in technology and innovation, a central element of its ongoing success. The company also announced several new programming elements for the PGA TOUR event, which is set for Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-29, in Fort Worth, TX.
“We are honored, once again, to play a part in the tradition of this celebrated tournament in Fort Worth and its longstanding support from the Metroplex community,” said Jonathan Craig, Managing Director and head of Investor Services and Marketing at Charles Schwab. “As we enter our fourth straight year as title sponsor, we wanted to find a special way to honor this iconic tournament in Dallas Fort-Worth and our company’s own heritage — and what better way to do so than with an iconic car, an iconic song, and a spotlight on the commitment to innovation that drives our firm.”
Commemorating a Milestone Year with a 1979 Schwab Firebird
The winner of the Charles Schwab Challenge will once again drive off with a one-of-a-kind champion’s prize – a 1979 Schwab Firebird – along with Colonial’s Leonard Trophy and Scottish royal tartan plaid jacket. The Trans Am Firebird from 1979 highlights an important year in Schwab’s history when Charles Schwab made a significant investment in computing technology with its BETA mainframe system.
The automated transaction and recordkeeping system launched in 1979 demonstrated that improving clients’ experience through technology can be a key growth driver. It paved the way for Schwab to become the digital and innovation leader it is today. The firm’s relentless commitment to technology and innovation has led to industry-leading offerings throughout the years, like the first 24-hour quotation service, web trading on schwab.com and Schwab Mobile, StreetSmart Edge®, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios™, and Schwab Stock Slices™.
Customized by Steve Strope and Pure Vision Design, who also built the firm’s inaugural Champion’s Prize in 2019, the 1979 Schwab Firebird is packed with cutting-edge technology to honor the firm’s commitment to innovation and service to its clients. The car features a General Motors Crate LS3 Small-Block V-8 engine putting out 430 hp and 425 LB/FT of torque. The car comes to a stop using Baer racing brakes with 13” rotors.
The interior offers Porsche Panamera power seats, Dakota Digital gauges and a Kicker audio system. Fans at home will have the opportunity to experience the 1979 Schwab Firebird via a custom-built augmented reality experience that will showcase the car’s innovative technology and one-of-a-kind details.
This year’s Champion’s Prize, continues the tradition that began with the fully renovated and customized 1973 Dodge Challenger awarded to Kevin Na in 2019 and the 1946 Schwab Power Wagon awarded to Jason Kokrak in 2021.
Celebrating a Classic Car with a New Spin on a Classic Song
Inspired by the 1979 Schwab Firebird, country music star Jake Owen is paying homage to the movie that made the Firebird famous with a new recording of “East Bound and Down,” the theme song from Universal Pictures’ “Smokey and the Bandit,” originally written and performed by Jerry Reed. His new take on the song — and a music video featuring the 1979 Schwab Firebird — also debuts today on Owen’s social channels.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Jake for this fun initiative,” said Mason Reed, Managing Director of Acquisition and Corporate Marketing at Schwab. “He’s not only an incredible singer-songwriter but also knows a thing or two about golf and classic cars — and we can’t wait for fans to hear his version of ‘East Bound and Down.’”
The Challengers Film Series
Schwab’s digital content series, “The Challengers,” returns for the fourth straight year and highlights several icons in the game of golf that are challenging the status quo and driving innovation in their own fields. Episodes include a feature on the founders of Eastside Golf, Olajuwon Ajanaku and Earl A. Cooper, who created a lifestyle golf brand developed to raise awareness about golf among youth and non-golfers and PGA TOUR biomechanics coach Joey Diovisalvi, a pioneer in golf-specific fitness training.
Honoring our Heroes on Memorial Day Weekend
As part of its support for The Simpson Cup – a separate annual golf tournament between teams of 13 injured Servicemen and veterans – Schwab will host a work experience event with the organization’s On Course Foundation during the Charles Schwab Challenge tournament week. A key focus of the Foundation is helping injured and disabled veterans build confidence and self-belief by opening doors to meaningful employment opportunities in the golf industry. Participants in the program will be onsite working throughout the week, culminating with a golf skills clinic on the range at Colonial on Sunday.
Also, among the features of this year’s digital content series from Schwab, “The Challengers”, one film spotlights how golf is honoring and supporting injured veterans with a special episode featuring John Simpson, President & Chairman of the On Course Foundation, and founder of The Simpson Cup, an annual golf tournament for disabled veterans that Schwab signed on to sponsor in 2022.
The 5 Performance Center
Onsite at Colonial, the state-of-the-art fan engagement zone, “The 5: Schwab Performance Center,” will return, inspired by tournament legend Ben Hogan’s ground-breaking approach to the game. It features several interactive elements including golf simulators that give fans the chance to digitally tee off on Colonial’s famed 18th and 13th holes, PGA Professional instruction, and more. Fans with tickets to the Charles Schwab Challenge can visit the Schwab Performance Center from May 26-29.
The Charles Schwab Challenge, the longest running professional golf tournament on the PGA TOUR at the same venue, has been in the North Texas community since 1946. Over the decades, the tournament has seen champions representing the biggest names in golf, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, and of course, Ben Hogan.
Charles Schwab & Co. signed on as title sponsor of the PGA TOUR’s Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club in 2018. Already a major sponsor of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions, the firm’s four-year agreement, which last year was extended through 2026, marked its first-ever title sponsorship of a PGA TOUR event. Schwab continues to grow rapidly in the DFW Metroplex where its new 70-acre, LEED-certified campus in Westlake is now home to the firm’s corporate headquarters.