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Ernie Els says 2025 AmFam Champ will be team event, tournament says no decision made

MADISON – As Ernie Els accepted the trophy as the 2024 American Family Insurance championship on the 18th green of University Ridge Golf course, he thanked all the requisite parties – and then potentially broke some news.

He turned toward tournament host and 2023 champion Steve Stricker and said, "We're going to Steve's golf course next year in a team event and I'm really looking forward to coming back."

As the words sunk in, Stricker looked to the right at his American Family Insurance partners lined up behind Els and smiled sheepishly.

"I don't have any signed agreements, so we have a lot to work through with the PGA Tour and all those operational elements from A to Z," tournament director Nate Pokrass said after Els' revelation. "Everything needs to be figured out in partnership with the PGA Tour."

Pokrass acknowledged that with no signed agreements or approvals on format from the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions policy board, "everything is on the table" for the 2025 tournament at the Stricker re-designed TPC Wisconsin. The tournament is in current conversation with the PGA Tour Champions, and its policy board meets quarterly. The 2025 AmFam Championship will be the week of June 2-8.

"Nothing has been presented to them at this time," Pokrass said. "So without their approval on any changes on any structural change to any field it has to go through the policy board and that is; nothing has happened in that sense."

Since it's inception in 2016, the AmFam Championship has been a traditional PGA Tour Champions event held over three tournament rounds of 54-hole stroke play. Pokrass said that moving to new course offers a chance to re-evaluate the tournament.

"How do you keep getting bigger, better," Pokrass said of why the tournament might examine a format change. "How do we separate ourselves from everybody else on the PGA Tour Champions. When we came on the PGA Tour Champions in 2016 we reset the bar on how tournaments were run and other tournaments have caught up, and we're always looking at ways at how we can get better and be the best on PGA Tour Champions. And that means looking at operations, logistics, hospitality and format as well."

Els concluded his press conference by saying he didn't want to say who his teammate would be in 2025, but then went ahead and said Tim Herron would be his partner in the yet-to-be-finalized event.

Ernie Els poses with the winner's trophy next to tournament host Steve Stricker, who he beat in a playoff during the final round of the American Family Insurance Championship on Sunday at University Ridge Golf Club in Madison.
Ernie Els poses with the winner's trophy next to tournament host Steve Stricker, who he beat in a playoff during the final round of the American Family Insurance Championship on Sunday at University Ridge Golf Club in Madison.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ernie Els says AmFam Champ will be team event, tournament says no decision made