Steve Stricker sheds tears of gratitude at the gathering to celebrate the 2022 AmFam Championship in $2,234,000 in charitable donations | Professional men

Madison – Steve Stricker is living in a sweet spot in his life.

A year after the onset of a terrifying illness, he feels relieved as his 56th birthday approaches in February. He’s looking forward to playing a full PGA Tour Champions schedule in 2023, and maybe even a couple of PGA Tour events. He oversaw the remodeling of his home track, Cherokee Country Club, now TPC Wisconsin. His daughters, Poppy and Azzie, are carving their own golf courses.

It all gave him perspective and an appreciation for what the game gave him.

Other than family, nothing means more to him than the philanthropic work he and his wife, Nikki, do through the Steve Stricker Family Insurance Corporation of America, thanks to the American Family Insurance Championships, the Tour of Champions event he’s hosting in June.

Golfer Madison Steve Stricker is in tears as he addresses the audience at Monday’s AmFam announcement regarding the distribution of AmFam tournament proceeds to 140 nonprofit agencies.

His gratitude came out pouring Monday during the AmFam Championship Awarding Ceremony at the company’s headquarters.

The 2022 tournament, won by Thailand’s Thongchai Jaide, raised $2,234,000 for charitable organizations. This brings the total amount raised for charity to $14,813,000 since the inaugural AmFam tournament in 2016.

Stricker has been known to shed a tear or two after his many tournament victories — 12 on the PGA Tour and 11 to count on the Champions Tour — but went into full meltdown mode when asked by Jim Buchheim, AmFam’s community and social media influence officer, what those numbers mean to him. .

Overcome with emotion, Stricker had difficulty getting the words out. He had to stop several times to secure himself. Tears rolled down his cheeks.

“Um” he started in a staccato voice as he looked at the gathering of grant recipients. “Sorry…but it means so much to all of us, our families, American Family Insurance, the people here, the sponsors, the volunteers—everyone is a part of this.

“I was in that hospital a year ago… I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know where I was going. He had such an incredible care. … So you just never know, right? That’s why I go hunting in the fall.” Now, ’cause I don’t play any golf. I just do the things I want to do. You just never know what life is going to throw at you.

“So I just want to say thank you. We couldn’t do it without all of you. … You can tell what this means to me … Sorry … to be able to do this, to give back to the community, the place I call home, the place I grew up I’m in. And I’m a mess. Thank you so much. We’re so happy to be able to help everyone here.”

Stricker joked that he downed some beers to calm his nerves before giving his speech at the Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony in 2021, but that “I didn’t have any beer this morning.”

This is why Wisconsin loves Steve Stricker. He is honest. He cares. It’s connected. Unlike many successful athletes, it’s never about him.

In a later interview, he said that charitable donation through his foundation means more to him than anything he does in the game of golf. More than those 23 wins. More than two PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year awards.

He said, “Yes, absolutely.” “Just what we can do for others. The number of people we touch, to see the smiles on their faces, to hear the impact of the money we give them, and what that does for their organizations.

“Especially, you know, as we get older we get that perspective. Golf is golf. Don’t get me wrong, it’s how I make a living and it’s been such an important part of my life. That’s why we’re able to do it. But this, sans No doubt, it means a lot to all of us.”

After COVID-19 canceled the 2020 AmFam Championship and limited spectator numbers in 2021, the tournament is back this year without restrictions. Fans from 32 states attended the event at University Ridge and 925 volunteers from 14 states donated 20,000 watches. The local economic impact was estimated at $15 million.

Nearly 50 percent of the money raised went to the American Family Hospital for Children in Madison. The balance has been donated in varying amounts to 140 primarily local charities such as Badger Childhood Cancer Network, Camp Hometown Heroes, MACC Fund, and SHARP Literacy.

“We are so happy to be able to help everyone here,” Stricker said, before posing for photos with several of the grantees. “I know how much that means to you guys. We love being able to support your endeavors, your foundations, and your charitable giving to the best of our ability. We try to help a lot of different people. Again, I appreciate all of you. We hope to keep this going for many, many years.” Let’s keep giving, and keep helping Children’s Hospital.

“I am so happy and honored and privileged to be a part of it. Thank you.”

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