Strickers McCarron wtih trophy

Scott McCarron has a hold on the Am Fam trophy as he shares a light moment with Steve and Nicki Stricker during Sunday's award ceremony.

Kirk Triplett and Fred Couples have tried and failed. Will Scott McCarron be the first golfer to successfully defend his title at the American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison?

McCarron officially threw his hat in the ring Tuesday when Am Fam Championship tournament director Nate Pokrass announced that the 2018 winner is among the first four golfers to commit to play in the 2019 event, which is June 21 through 23. McCarron, who had 13 top-10 finishes in 26 starts in 2018, joined tournament host Steve Stricker, fellow Madison golfer Jerry Kelly and Triplett, the inaugural Am Fam champion, in saying they will be part of the 78-player field, which will be finalized June 15.

An eight-time winner on the senior circuit, McCarron won last year's Am Fam Championship in an exciting finish with many of the tour’s top players, edging Kelly by one shot and Stricker, Couples — the 2017 champion — and Colin Montgomerie by two. McCarron, who finished second in last year’s Charles Schwab Cup to Bernhard Langer, has three top-10 finishes in six starts in 2019, including a runner-up finish at the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Arizona, an event hosted by Kelly.

Stricker, a native of nearby Edgerton and the 2020 Ryder Cup captain, won three times on PGA TOUR Champions in 2018, while also playing on the PGA Tour. This year, he has two top-10 finishes in four starts on the PGA Tour Champions, the best being a tie for fifth place in defense of his title at the Rapiscan Systems Classic in his last start.

Kelly, a three-time winner on PGA Tour Champions, has battled an elbow injury over the first three months of the 2019 season with his only top-10 finish coming in his title defense at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai where he tied for third. He has not broken 70 in nine tournament rounds since that start and told Wisconsin.Golf last month at the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach, California, that he was looking forward to a break in the PGA Tour Champions schedule — there has been just one event in the last five weeks leading into this week's Mitsubishi Electric Classic — to rest the elbow, which the 2017 rookie of the year injured while battling a knee injury late last season.

Triplettreturns to the Am Fam Championship after not playing in last year’s event to attend the college graduation of his son, Sam, a former Northwestern golfer now competing on golf's mini-tours. Kirk Triplett won the inaugural Am Fam Championship with a back-nine charge that boosted him past Bart Bryant and Mike Goodes. Triplett notched his seventh PGA Tour Champions win with his victory at last month's Hoag Classic.

Tickets for the American Family Insurance Championship are available at AmFamChampionship.com/tickets, with special discounts for certain tickets purchased before June 1, including:

$5 off a $25 general admission ticket

$5 off a $20 Champions ticket (for fans age 50 and older)

Active duty, reserve and retired military personnel can again enjoy a free three-day pass and any child 15 and under gets free admission to the tournament with a paid adult admission.

rob@killarneygolfmedia.com

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.