ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–We have seen the last of one of the great sports events in Rockford’s history. The Rockford Pro/Am Golf Tournament, a staple every summer in Rockford for more than four decades will not longer be held. Pro/Am board members made that announcement Wednesday morning at the Rockford Country Club.
“This has been a big part of our lives, all of us, for a long time,” said Pro/Am Board President Scott Nicholas choking up.
It’s the end of an era.
“Sorry it’s just hard,” continued Nicholas.
43 years of the Rockford Pro Am has come to an end.
“43 years of your life is a long time,” said former Pro/Am Board President Mike Tulley.
“Many of us had our families grow up here. If you can’t tell, it’s a sad day,” said Nicholas.
It was 43 years of community, of bringing the game’s greats to Rockford, Illinois. They included Curtis Strange, Arnold Palmer, John Daly, Laura Davies, Nancy Lopez…and the list goes on.
“It’s a great story for Rockford, it really is,” said Tulley.
Tulley recalled the time a few years ago when he ran into Freddie Couples, and they got to talking about the Rockford Pro/Am.
“He goes, ‘how many years?’ and I said it was 42 or 43 years, and he goes ‘Mike I gotta tell you, that’s truly remarkable.’ Nobody will ever repeat that, there’s no question about it.”
A lot of conversations happened before the board made the final decision, but after pausing the event last two years, board president Scott Nicholas knew there was no coming back.
“We just decided…let’s go out on top. Let’s go out having had a really great event for the city for 43 years.”
The Pro Am relied heavily on local sponsors to keep the ship afloat, and after the pandemic, those charitable donations went elsewhere.
Along with the sadness Wednesday during the announcement there was also a sense of great pride in what the Rockford Pro/Am had become and what it represented for so many years.
“While it’s a somber day, we hope it’ll become a bit of a storytelling celebration of something really neat in Rockford,” said Nicholas.
For 43 years, the Rockford Pro Am gave this community something to come together for, and that will always be pretty special.
“I think we’ve done something that’s pretty special for our community and you always want to give a little back to your community, and I think we’ve done that,” said Tulley.