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American Family Insurance backs new Champions Tour event

American Family Insurance has signed a three-year agreement to be the title sponsor of a new Champions Tour golf event to be held in the US state of Wisconsin from 2016.

The inaugural American Family Insurance Championship will take place at the University Ridge Golf Course in Madison from June 22-26 next year. A field of 81 players will compete for a prize purse of $2m (€1.8m).

Next year’s event will mark the first time that Wisconsin will have staged an annual top-level golf event in seven years. PGA Tour event, the US Bank Championship, previously known as Greater Milwaukee Open, took place in the city of Milwaukee from its foundation in 1968 through to its final edition in 2009.

“This will be a fantastic event, not only for players and golf enthusiasts, but for everyone who will benefit from its popularity and the positive economic impact it will bring to our local communities,” Jack Salzwedel, American Family Insurance chairman and chief executive, said. “Most importantly, proceeds raised will support the American Family Children’s Hospital and other charitable organisations that make Madison – and Wisconsin – a great place to live and work.”

Steve Stricker, 12-time PGA Tour winner and Wisconsin native, helped develop the new event. He will serve as tournament host in 2016 and then as player-host starting in 2017 when he becomes eligible for the Champions Tour upon turning 50 years of age.

Stricker said: “The bottom line is American Family Insurance gets its name out there as a sponsor and is trying to promote the brand. For me, as a player, the charitable element is very important.

“We’ve been talking about it with American Family Insurance since I became one of their brand ambassadors two or three years ago. We continued to look at it and the PGA Tour came in for a couple of visits. Finally, it all fell together and I’m very much looking forward to the event.”