Illinois golf coach Mike Small to play at the American Family Insurance Championship
He reunites with former collegiate teammate and tournament host Steve Stricker
May 2, 2017 - Mike Small will join his former college teammate, Steve Stricker, at the PGA TOUR Champions American Family Insurance Championship.
Mike Small, University of Illinois golf coach and accomplished PGA member, will join his former college teammate, Steve Stricker, when he plays in the PGA TOUR Champions American Family Insurance Championship. The championship will be held June 23-25 at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison.
Small received a sponsor’s exemption to the championship, which is hosted by Stricker, who will also play in the tournament after turning 50 and becoming eligible for the PGA TOUR Champions earlier this year.
Small is recognized as one of the top collegiate golf coaches in the country. In his 17th season coaching the Illini, he has led the team to eight Big Ten titles in the past nine seasons, plus nine straight NCAA Championship appearances. His teams have advanced to the Match Play portion of the NCAA Championships a record five times. Small was named the Dave Williams National Coach of the Year in 2015, and has been named Big Ten and NCAA Regional Coach of the Year eight times during his career.
Small has also achieved success as a player, competing five years on the PGA TOUR and the Web.com TOUR. While also coaching at Illinois, Small made 34 starts on the PGA Tour, making 15 cuts. Small was the low club professional at the 2007 and 2011 PGA Championships, and qualified for that major seven other times. He’s also a three-time past champion of the PGA Professional National Championship.
In March, Small played in the Tucson Conquistadores Classic in Arizona on a sponsor’s exemption. He carded rounds of 69-72-73 and finished tied for 42nd, his best finish in four starts on PGA TOUR Champions. He made three starts on Tour last season, with his best finish being a tie for 43rd at the U.S. Senior Open.
Small played collegiate golf at the University of Illinois from 1985-88. He and Stricker were members of the Illinois team that won the 1988 Big Ten Championship Tournament, where Stricker finished first individually and Small came in second.
Special discounts still available
Tickets for the American Family Insurance Championship are available at the tournament website (at www.AmFamChampionship.com), with special discounts for certain tickets purchased before June 1, including:
• $5 off a $25 general admission ticket
• $5 off a $20 AARP Champions ticket (50 years +)
• $10 off a $50 Clubhouse ticket (Clubhouse tickets include special amenities)
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.
Fans can also follow the tournament’s social media channels: Twitter: @amfamchamp; Facebook: American Family Insurance Championship; and Instagram: AmFamChampionship.
Photos above: In the trophy shot, Mike is holding the trophy (center) and Steve is far right. In the team shot, Steve is standing far left and Mike is sitting far right. (Their coach was Ed Beard.)
About the American Family Insurance Championship
The inaugural PGA TOUR Champions American Family Insurance Championship was held in June 2016, hosted by 12-time PGA TOUR winner and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker. The second annual event will be held June 23-25 in Madison, Wis. at University Ridge Golf Course and will feature a 78-player field competing for a $2 million purse. The no-cut event includes two Pro-Am events on June 21-22, followed by three days of tournament play, June 23-25. Proceeds from the event are donated to the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation and the American Family Children’s Hospital. More than $1 million in proceeds was donated to charitable organizations from the 2016 event. Web: www.amfamchampionship.com; Facebook: American Family Insurance Championship; Twitter: @AmFamChamp; Instagram: amfamchampionship
About PGA TOUR Champions
PGA TOUR Champions is a membership organization of golf’s most recognizable and accomplished players, age 50 and older, including 32 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Tour’s mission is to provide financial opportunities for its players, entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back and generate significant charitable and economic impact in tournament communities. In 2017, the PGA TOUR Champions schedule includes 26 tournaments in 18 states, Japan, Wales and Canada, with purses totaling more than $55 million. The Charles Schwab Cup, which includes the Regular Season and the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, is used to determine the season-long champion. All events are televised in the United States, with most receiving complete coverage on Golf Channel, the exclusive cable-television partner of PGA TOUR Champions. Internationally, telecasts air live, tape-delayed or in a highlights-package format in excess of 190 countries and territories, reaching more than 330 million potential households. The PGA TOUR's web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Follow PGA TOUR Champions at facebook.com/PGATOURChampions, on Twitter @ChampionsTour and on Instagram @pgatourchampions.