SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sanford International debuted to rave reviews last September, and this year’s tournament has attracted a majority of the top-10 on the PGA Tour Champions money list, including a new, but highly-decorated golfer.
Steve Stricker is the reigning Sanford International champion, but won’t defend his title, as the Wisconsin native fulfills a lifelong dream with an elk hunt in Colorado, though his first visit to Sioux Falls won’t be his last.
“We’ve got a commitment from Steve to be here in 2020 just weeks before the Ryder Cup. That’s pretty cool because the Ryder Cup is really the biggest event in golf, Steve Stricker’s the captain for our country, and he’ll be here in Sioux Falls the same day he announces the team, so Sioux Falls is kind of in the center of the golf world now and will be again in 2020,” Sanford International tournament director Greg Conrad said.
This year’s field will include Bernhard Langer, who’s won a record eleven senior major championships.
“I’ve been around the world, seen a lot of golf course, a lot of tournaments, seen a lot of different cultures, but I hadn’t been to Sioux Falls yet, so this is going to be a brand new experience,” PGA Tour Champions golfer Bernhard Langer said.
After missing the inaugural Sanford International due to a scheduling conflict, Langer will get his first look at Minnehaha Country Club, and prefers to spend at least two days preparing for a new course.
“I want to play a practice round on a golf course that I’ve never seen before, where I just spend quite a bit of time making my own charts and my notes, have a good look at every single shot and every hole, where to put it, where not to put it, and spend a little bit of time on the greens getting to know those,” Langer said.
Langer recently turned 62-years-old, but says the competitive juices are still flowing, though the PGA Tour Champions has a family feel.
“Believe me, there’s only 78 guys out here and there’s about 7800 who would love to be out here, so it’s very competitive, but we’ve all been friends for so many years. We don’t just know each other, we know the families, the grandkids, the kids, and on and on you go,” Langer said.
The 2-time Masters champion has more than 100 victories on six continents since turning professional in 1972, but says his passion for golf is what brings him back to the course.
“I just love the game. I enjoy playing golf and enjoy competing against the best. I’m fairly good at it, so what else is there to do? Golf is a great game. If I wouldn’t be playing as a professional, I’d probably still play four times a week just for fun. The clock is ticking, but I think I still have a few good years left in me,” Langer said.
This year’s Sanford International will also include John Daly, Davis Love III, Colin Montgomerie, and Vijay Singh, just to name a few.