Am Fam 18th green fans

A youngster finds the perch on shoulders the perfect spot to watch the last pairing Sunday on the 18th green. Fans and American Family Championship volunteers made their way to the green to watch the action.

Wisconsin.Golf photo/Jim Kelsh

University Ridge GC in Madison will likely remain the home for the American Family Insurance Championship through at least 2021, tournament director Nate Pokrass confirmed last week.

The PGA Tour Champions event, hosted by veteran PGA Tour golfer and Madison resident Steve Stricker, will complete its first three-year contract with Madison-based American Family Insurance, the PGA Tour and the University of Wisconsin when it returns to University Ridge in late June. American Family Insurance CEO Jack Salzwedel confirmed after the 2017 event in June that tournament officials were entertaining the idea of rotating the tournament between Madison and Milwaukee or, perhaps, other venues in the state during the next three-year cycle.

However, Pokrass said American Family Insurance, the UW and the PGA Tour are “the only parties at the table” in negotiations for a three-year extension to continue what, in just its first two years, has become one of the most successful events on the senior circuit. Pokrass said tournament officials hoped to be able to finalize and announce the new deal “early in 2018.”

In June, Salzwedel confirmed discussions about involving Milwaukee in a rotation between Wisconsin’s two largest cities, in part to capitalize on American Family’s sponsorship of Summerfest. The insurance giant signed in January to become the presenting sponsor of Milwaukee’s annual lakefront celebration and to replace its 23,000-seat amphitheater.

“That’s a long-range concept that has been brought up,” Pokrass said in an interview last week. “That is not an immediate-future concept. Madison has been extremely supportive of this as a community. All the parties that have been involved have supported this to be in Madison. We would like to continue to have this as a home game, I guess you could say. That is the intent. That is the plan. That is the direction we are trying to move this as we move forward.

“At the same time, we recognize the entire state is passionate about golf. … Maybe someday (a rotation) could come together. … But that is not on the radar for the next three years.”

The Am Fam Championship donated more than $1 million in proceeds to American Family Children’s Hospital and 33 other local charities after its inaugural event in 2016. Pokrass said officials will announce the charitable impact from the 2017 event at a Dec. 11 news conference.