On Monday, the PGA Tour announced that the Ridge Course at the University of Wisconsin would be a stop on the Champions Tour starting June of 2016. Steve Stricker, a native of Wisconsin and Wisconsin loyalist will be the host of the event, an event named the American Family Insurance Championship.
Stricker will host an event that he will not even be eligible to play in.
But that doesn’t mean Stricker isn’t excited.
The last time there was a regular date in Wisconsin on the PGA Tour was its stop in Milwaukee, an event that ended 6 years ago following a run of 42 years.
However, the hard work by PGA officials and the popularity of Stricker landed the perfect sponsor and venue for this event. Madison, Wisconsin is the base for American Family and Stricker is from Edgerton only 30 miles away.
It’s a match made in heaven, if Wisconsin is heaven.
Stricker is 48 and will not be eligible for the Champions Tour for two more years. Given his play though, he’s not anxious to give up playing on the PGA Tour with his self-imposed limited schedule.
The tournament next year–in its debut–will have a field of 81 players competing for a purse of $2 million. The event, which will not have a cut, will include June 23 and 24 pro-ams followed by three rounds of play Friday through Sunday.
Next year, Stricker will be hosting the inaugural tournament prior to becoming its player host the following year. Madison native Jerry Kelly, who is also 48, will be eligible in 2017 to play with Stricker in the event.
No questions asked who will be the fan favorites.
This announcement of the new Champions Tour stop is just the latest boost for golf fans across the state. In August Whistling Straits located in Kohler will host the 2015 PGA Championship.
In 2017, the U.S. Open is scheduled to be played at Erin Hills. In five years, the Ryder Cup of 2020 will be played at Whistling Straits.
Promoters and the PGA Tour are confident that the new Champions Tour event will draw a strong field due to its connection with Stricker, a man who is highly respected on Tour by his fellow competitors.
Stricker left the state to attend college at the University of Illinois, but today has season tickets to Wisconsin Badgers athletics.
He met with Barry Alvarez the Badgers Athletic Director at halftime of a basketball game this past season to ask him about the school hosting a Tour event. It’s seemed like a success for Stricker.
Two years, Steve. Head out to Camp Randall and start hitting some wedges…