The 2020 Sanford International marks a monumental year amid the coronavirus pandemic but tournament organizers are ready to make it a memorable one for players and fans alike.
Miller Brady is back in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for his second Sanford International as president of the PGA Tour Champions.
“It’s such a great place to come and visit, but it’s a great place for the Champions Tour year in and year out. We have a great title sponsor in Sanford Health and it’s because the community loves coming out to the tournament,” Brady told Sanford Health News.
Brady was named president of the tour in 2018 and emphasizes this event is all about community.
“I think what’s really special about the Sanford International is the way that the community rallies behind the event. If you look at the size of the hospitality structures, the build that’s on the golf course, it makes you feel like you’re at a big time golf tournament, which you are,” Brady said.
The Sanford International marks the first PGA Tour sanctioned event for fans to enjoy in person this season.
“For us to be able to do that and do it in a safe manner is great for everybody. Not only is it great for Sioux Falls, but it’s great for the world of golf to be able to show that we can do it safely.”
Safety on and off the course
Speaking of safety, organizers of the tournament are well-positioned to make the event as safe as possible.
“We’ll have hand-washing and sanitation stations set up throughout the golf course. More prepackaged foods, distance between folks at lines. We’ll have bleachers this year, as opposed to individual seats, so people can find the appropriate distance between themselves and the person sitting next to them,” said Micah Aberson, executive vice president for Sanford Health.
“There’ll be a number of things throughout the golf course, but at the end of the day, it comes down to personal responsibility and accountability.”
Minnehaha Country Club provides a great opportunity to remain socially and physically distanced, Aberson added.
Brady encouraged spectators to keep safety top of mind this weekend.
“I think safety, especially being the first event back to have fans, safety is paramount,” Brady said.
“There’s been a communication to all of the spectators on how to properly distance yourself, going to have hand sanitizer throughout the golf course. We’ve extended the rope lines a little bit to make them a little wider than normal and probably the corridors between the green and the tee to make them a little wider. We feel like we’re doing it in a very safe manner.”
Next level partnership
“We have a great partnership with Sanford with Kelby Krabbenhoft and Micah Aberson, as leaders of the organization, couldn’t be better partners for us,” Brady said.
While Sanford continues to play offense against COVID-19, its partnership with the PGA TOUR grew even stronger when it became the official mobile COVID-19 testing partner. The organization has deployed mobile testing units to all events on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions and Korn Ferry Tour since play resumed in June.
“That’s been very, very important for us to be able to get back up and playing golf.”
Brady and his team leading the PGA Tour Champions look forward to many years of partnership in Sanford.
“It’s important for not only golf, maybe for other sports to be able to emulate, but it really worked well here,” he said. “What better partner than a health care organization in Sanford to be able to do it? And to be able to have the knowledge of clinicians and infectious disease doctors to put a plan together that we all felt comfortable to have spectators is just tremendous for us.”
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