MADISON – The American Family Insurance Championship is moving up on the calendar to the first week in June in 2020 as part of a reshuffling of the PGA Tour Champions schedule.
The AmFam Championship, held the fourth week of June in its first four years, will move to June 1 through 7, with the three tournament rounds being played June 5, 6 and 7 at University Ridge Golf Course.
The move is a result of the United States Golf Association moving the U.S. Senior Open to the week immediately following the U.S. Open. That has been the AmFam’s spot on the calendar. The PGA Tour Champions builds it schedule around championships staged by the USGA and the PGA of America.
“We’re proud to partner with the PGA Tour Champions and, ultimately, they develop the schedule,” AmFam tournament director Nate Pokrass said. “They develop the schedule for the entire season, which is defined in relationship to the PGA of America and the USGA.
“Our current date is not available in 2020. Therefore, we have to explore other dates in partnership with the PGA Tour Champions. We felt the first week of June aligned great for both parties, so the 2020 date is the first week of June. We feel good about it. We feel great about the month of June. We know it will be great weather and the golf course can be prepared in time.”
The AmFam Championship will follow the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa, which has dates of May 26-31 in 2020, according to the tournament’s website. The MasterCard Japan Championship is likely to follow the AmFam, though that tournament has not yet posted its dates.
Because of the AmFam’s date change, the WIAA boys’ state tournament, also held at University Ridge, will be moved to June 15 and 16, one week later than its traditional dates.
“We’ve had collaborative dialogues with the University of Wisconsin and the WIAA,” Pokrass said. “They were aware of a change in our schedule coming down the road. … Ultimately, with University Ridge and the UW staff, along with WIAA, they have set their schedule. And now we can officially set ours.”
Spectator parking for the AmFam Championship at Verona Area High School will not be affected by the date change, at least in 2020, because the school year ends early next year in that district in anticipation of a move into a new high school building.
It is not known whether the AmFam’s move is for one year or is permanent, though the USGA appears set on holding the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open in back-to-back weeks going forward. The PGA of America (PGA Championship followed by the Senior PGA Championship) and the Royal & Ancient (British Open followed by the Senior British Open) have adopted that scheduling philosophy.
“We do not have dates beyond (2020),” Pokrass said. “That is established down the road. Ultimately, the PGA Tour Champions doesn’t have to provide us a date until one year out. All we know at this time is through 2020. We feel good about the date. Our fans, sponsor and volunteers, everybody will be ready and we’ll have a great golf course and we will put on a great golf tournament.”
Most area schools will still be in session in the first week of June, so Friday ticket sales could be impacted.
“Yes, some schools will be in session, so we anticipate the potential of there not being so many kids on Friday,” Pokrass said. “But we’ll still have a lot of activities for kids on Saturday and Sunday.”
Pokrass said the AmFam Championship would be able to weather the date change, even if it becomes permanent.
“Yeah, I think what we’ve seen here is the state of Wisconsin loves its golf,” he said. “They’re going to come out and they are going to support golf and, ultimately, (we’ll) put on a great tournament no matter what time of year.
“We feel confident that the fans and everybody around here – the volunteers and the sponsors – will support the new date. It obviously leads into a great fall ahead with the Ryder Cup coming in late September (at Whistling Straits).”