ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — One of the Rockford area’s longest running sports events has now fallen victim to the Covid 19 pandemic. The Rockford Pro Am golf tournament won’t be held this year organizers announced Thursday.
The Rockford Pro Am has been going strong since 1977. It’s the longest running golf pro am in the nation that isn’t associated with a tournament. Over the years it has survived the loss of prime sponsors, escalating appearance fees by the pros and even a straight-line wind storm, and it has never been rained out, but Covid 19 is too much to overcome says Pro Am Board President Scott Nicholas to WTVO.
“It’s terribly disapopinting, but these are conditions nobody could ever imagine. It just became pretty obvious with so many events being canceled that it just made the most sense to postpone and start putting our efforts towards getting ready for 2021.”
This year’s event had been scheduled for Monday, July 13 the day after the PGA’s John Deere Classic in the nearby Silvis, Illinois. At the moment that event is still on, but like all sporting events it faces much uncertainty. Recruiting pros to Rockford is always challenging even in typical years, this year that would have been far more challenging.
“It absolutely would have made it more difficult on my son Adam to bring in a good quality field,” said Nichols.
Nicholas says the Pro Am Board is commited to seeing the event return next year and beyond.
“One thousand percent! We are going to sort of reinvent ourselves a little bit. Some of that had already started for this year.”
Nicholas says one small example of that was doing away with the pairings party the Tuesday before the event, and instead revealing the pairings live over the internet the Sunday night before the tournament as a cost-cutting move.
“We think we can have some fun with it and save ourselves a little bit of money. It’s a small change that puts money in the pocket of the beneficiary.”
In recent years the trend has been toward bringing in more LPGA Pros and fewer PGA pros to the Pro Am. Nicholas says going forward the makeup of the pros will depend on the schedules for the two tours, but ideally the Pro Am still wants a mix of players from both tours.
“We think a blend of the ladies and the guys is the best way to go for our event, and we’ll continue to have that as part of our agenda as we go forward.”
This year’s Rockford Peo Am was scheduled to be held at the Aldeen Golf Club for the second straight year. Nicholas says the Pro Am Board is ecstatic about how it played out there last year. The board plans to have the event back at Aldeen next year.