‘We’re excited’: What the AmFam Championship’s June return means for the economy, return to normal

MADISON, Wis. — The American Family Insurance Championship is returning to University Ridge and will allow fans to attend this summer, the tournament’s organizers announced Wednesday.

Up to 5,000 people will be allowed to attend the tournament every day from June 11 to June 13 — a number that includes players, caddies, spectators, tournament staff and volunteers. Face coverings will be required for all spectators, staff and volunteers unless they’re actively eating or drinking. Additionally, eating and drinking will not be allowed within 10 feet of the spectator rope line.

It’s been a long road,” said Tournament Director Nate Pokrass. “A very collaborative road.” 

The tournament says public bleacher seating will not be available, but fans are encouraged to bring their own chairs and sit in socially distanced ways throughout the course.

The celebrity foursome will not be held this year, but will return next summer.

Certainly, it’s still going to be a fun tournament,” Pokrass said. “The players are still excited to come to Madison, we’re still going to see some great, competitive golf.” 

Tournament organizers say the plan was developed by officials from the PGA Tour and approved by UW-Madison to make sure the tournament follows local and state COVID-19 protocols.

“The American Family Insurance Championship is committed to a 2021 event that is above all safe, and also allows us to achieve our ultimate purpose – which is to raise funds to help meet essential needs in our communities,” said Jack Salzwedel, American Family’s chair and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The AmFam Championship has raised more than $10 million for American Family Children’s Hospital and hundreds of other non-profits since 2016.

On top of that, Pokrass says it’s responsible for bringing roughly $15 million back to the local economy. Despite limited crowds in 2021, he says it still means an influx of cash to the region.

“It’s exciting to have the American Family Insurance Championship back in action,” said Madison native Steve Stricker, who doubles as a player and the tournament’s host. “I know the players and I are looking forward to returning and competing in front of fans in Madison. But more importantly, the tournament will again give us the platform to raise money for charity and positively impact our community.”

The tournament’s safety plan was modeled after ones used in other PGA Tour events.

Public Health Madison Dane County says it’s a sign COVID-19 vaccinations are moving in the right direction.

This is an exciting time,” said Bonnie Koenig of PHMDC. “We’ve been waiting a long time to have orders like we have in place right now. This is a time when these events can happen again, but they’re going to have to be modified to meet certain requirements and implement best practices for consumers to feel safe attending, but we can do that.”

Tickets will go on sale starting May 11 and will be sold on a per-day basis.