Fore a Worthy Cause

From February 27th to March 3rd, PGA TOUR Champions will vie for the coveted Conquistadore Helmet trophy in the Cologuard Classic, and Southern Arizona’s kids will benefit.

By Joan Liess

Defending Cologuard Classic champ Steve Stricker describes Tucson as a “neat place” and a “great town” for good reason.  Stricker visited an aunt in Tucson for years.  “I’d come out to see her, play in some of the mini tour events and try to qualify for the Tucson Open.” Stricker eventually played in seven Tucson Open events from 1992 through 2001, and had some memorable moments.  “In 1994, I had a chance coming down the stretch.  Just needed to make a birdie on the back but finished

second,” he recalls.  “It’s a great feeling to finally put that helmet on.”

He will have stiff competition this year.  “We’re expecting, once again, to be one of the strongest fields on PGA TOUR Champions,” says Executive Director Judy McDermott.  The Conquistadores received commitments from World Golf Hall of Fame members, former champions, Charles Schwab Cup winners, and some of the top-ranked golfers on tour.

Steve Stricker.
Photo by J. Martin Harris.

Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen is just one of those exceptional commitments.  The prolific South African golfer, wine maker and golf course designer just recently turned 50 and will compete on the Catalina Course for the first time.  He did, however, have a previous visit to Tucson.  Goosen played through the quarter finals in the World Golf Championships — Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain in 2010.

The field also includes one of the world’s best known golfers — Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, making his Tucson debut.  The Ulsterman claims three PGA TOUR victories, including an Open Championship, 15 International wins and a plethora of national team successes.  The fun-loving Clarke has his priorities.  “When I had my choice of being on the golf course for my 50th birthday or being on the beach in the Bahamas, the beach sort of won that battle.”

Baseball hall of famer John Smoltz (Atlanta Braves) traded his pitcher’s glove for a golf glove a few years back.  Now, thanks to a sponsor’s exemption, he’s playing in the Cologuard Classic.  The workhorse right-hander said of his former career, “I literally gave everything I had every single time I went out there.” No doubt that sentiment applies to being on the links, too.

Fans also can count on three-time PGA TOUR Champion Jerry Kelly to be in the hunt for the helmet trophy.  Kelly shared second place with Gene Sauers and Scot Dunlap in 2018.  As a spokesperson for Exact Sciences, the manufacturer of Cologuard, Kelly also is raising the bar on his co

mpetitors when it comes to colon cancer screening.  “My wife is a cancer survivor,” he says.

“Everybody that we know has been touched by cancer in some way.  It feels like an opportunity to make more people aware of colorectal cancer and get them tested.”

Retief Goosen.
Photo by PGA Tour/Getty Images

TournamentSchedule

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27
Jose Cuervo Pro-Am

Gates open at 7 a.m.

Country duo Chris Lucas and Preston Brust of LOCASH. Photo courtesy LOCASH.

THURSDAY, FEB. 28
Jose Cuervo Pro-Am

Gates open at 7 a.m

FRIDAY, MAR. 1
Cologuard Classic First Round

Gates open at 9 a.m
Opening Ceremony on First Tee 10 a.m.
After-Party Following Play, 19th Hole
Party Pavilion

SATURDAY, MAR. 2
Cologuard Classic Second Round
Dress in Blue Day

Gates open at 9 a.m
LOCASH Concert – Driving Range

SUNDAY, MAR. 3
Cologuard Classic Final Round

Gates open at 9 a.m
Awards Ceremony and Trophy
Presentation on 18th

Tickets and Information:
CologuardClassic.com; (800) 882-7660

Feels Like a Party

Saturday, Mar. 2, After the Last Putt Drops

LOCASH’s new country-rock single, Feels Like a Party, says it all.  This year’s shindig is going to be a rocking good time.  The party site is the big, beautiful Catalina Course Practice Range.

Preston Brust and Chris Lucas are the voices of LOCASH.  The duo has soldout concerts and tasted the top of the chart as Nashville’s quickest-rising singer-songwriters.  Georgia-born country singer Craig Campbell opens the show after the last putt drops.  Special guests include our men and women in uniform.  Get tickets on CologuardClassic.com.


John Daly with spectator. Photo by Chris Mooney.

Play Along

It’s typical to experience first-tee nerves when you’re playing a round with a PGA TOUR Champion legend.  The good news is you don’t have to play like a pro to have an unforgettable experience at the Jose Cuervo Pro-Am.

The evening before the first Pro-Am, amateurs and pros get to know each other at a pairings party.  This two-day golf event matches amateur players with a different PGA TOUR Champion each day.  Yes, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a guaranteed good deed — the real winners are local kids.

Proceeds from the Jose Cuervo Pro-Am and the tournament benefit youth athletic programs and charities.  “Since 1962, the Tucson Conquistadores have been raising money for youth sports in Southern Arizona,” says Conquistadores President Rob Draper.  “Tournament proceeds also will benefit the First Tee of Tucson, which uses the game of golf to prepare kids for life,” he adds.  “Now in our 57th year, the Conquistadores have raised more than $35 million.”

Proceeds from the Jose Cuervo Pro-Am and the tournament benefit youth athletic programs and charities.  “Since 1962, the Tucson Conquistadores have been raising money for youth sports in Southern Arizona,” says Conquistadores President Rob Draper.  “Tournament proceeds also will benefit the First Tee of Tucson, which uses the game of golf to prepare kids for life,” he adds.  “Now in our 57th year, the Conquistadores have raised more than $35 million.”

Smile, You’re on TV

Considering that the Cologuard Classic is a world-wide televised event, looking and acting your best is a smart move.  Fans know to plan for the weather, wear comfortable walking shoes and not leave home without sunscreen and sunglasses.  Fortunately for fans and players alike, navigating the Catalina course at Omni Tucson National Resort is a breeze.

The fan-friendly setup throughout the venue is a result of the Tucson Conquistadores’ 53 years of experience staging golf events, 35 of which were held at Omni Tucson National.  “Generations of Conquistadores have invested their time and talents to make this tournament the best it can be,” says Tournament Chairman Clint Buckelew.  “Our guys roll up their sleeves and get the job done.” Buckelew also praises the contributions of volunteers.  “This event requires service in more than 20 different areas on and off the course,” he observes.  “We couldn’t be successful without them.”

Special Events

Dress in Blue Day

SATURDAY, MAR. 2

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  Players, announcers and fans will wear blue to shine a spotlight on colon cancer, a disease that claims the lives of more than 50,000 Americans each year.  The first 10,000 fans will receive a free colon cancer awareness star pin.

50-50 Hole-In-One Challenge

SATURDAY, MAR. 2

Age 50 is when colon cancer screening is commonly recommended to begin.  The Cologuard Classic is marking that milestone with a special charitable connection.  If one of the pros makes a hole in one on the 16th hole on Saturday, $50,000 will be donated to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and $50,000 to The First Tee of Tucson.

Celebrity Foursome

SATURDAY, MAR. 2

Golf fans are in for a big surprise.  The last group on the final nine holes on Saturday won’t be PGA TOUR Champions players.  Instead, a celebrity foursome will play a 9-hole scramble and meet you at the finish line.

About Us

Tucson Lifestyle Magazine is Tucson's only glossy, monthly city magazine, targeting Southern Arizona’s affluent residents. With over 35 years of publishing experience, Tucson Lifestyle is committed to showcasing the people, places, local flavors, and attractions that make our city unique.

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Tucson, AZ 85715

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