We have often said that Wisconsin has the friendliest people. When you fly into the Milwaukee airport, you are welcomed with happy hellos from strangers. It feels like landing over the rainbow. Now Wisconsin is shining bright in the golf news world, first with Steve Stricker’s win at the PGA Tour Champions’ Cologuard Classic presented by Jose Cuervo. Played on the beautiful Omni Tucson National course last week under sunny March skies sans Wisconsin snowflakes, Steve edged out by 2 strokes his fellow Wisconsinite, Jerry Kelly who took second place in the competition but first place as the ambassador for Cologuard. Well, Jerry actually took second seat for a bit there too as in the press conference on Thursday, Tom Lehman shared his personal story of Colon Cancer. He said he was “at this little golf event in ’95 the Masters when he experienced serious symptoms on Wednesday including tremendous bleeding.” He contacted the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona and had a colonoscopy scheduled but it would be two weeks out, so he finished the Masters in 40th place and went on to Hilton Head placing 24th. He was very lucky to experience symptoms that serious and still be in an early stage, according to his Gastroenterologist David Ahlquest. It turns out Tom was in the best of hands as Dr. Ahlquest is responsible for co-developing the Cologuard patient friendly detection test. Why did he? A lot of people were forgoing early detection because they didn’t want to take the time off work for the prep and procedure and/or fear of the invasive format. Other less famous colon cancer survivors were on hand at the press conference to reinforce the medical and personal significance of early testing with the easy Cologuard prescribed by your doctor and mailed to your home delivering 94% accuracy. Headquarters for Exact Sciences, the company behind the Cologuard Test is located in Wisconsin. They have committed to a long-term sponsorship of the Champions event at the Omni Tucson National where Jerry was thrilled to be staying this year, joking that he couldn’t afford it on his own previously. Something tells us this is a profitable partnership for all involved and a remarkable medical breakthrough. Since PGA pros qualify for the Champions tour at age 50 and that happens to be the recommended age for testing for colon Cancer and since March is Colon Cancer (the number 2 cancer killer) prevention month, it is also a timely teaming event. Oh, and yes, women are covered too by the way.
Coinciding with the conclusion of the Cologuard Classic, Wisconsin popped out of our mailbox via the Sand Valley Magazine that shares the story of Sand Valley Golf Resort opening two new courses in May of this year. The Sandbox will open for play on May 1 as a short 17-hole par 3 course designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, described as a “fun and wild ride of unique shot-making opportunities.”
Mammoth Dunes will open for play May 31, designed by David McLay Kidd. Mike Keiser hired him to design the first course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. We last saw the Kidd donning a kilt at his wonderfully architected Tetherow in Bend, Oregon. No doubt both Sand Valley courses and the additional lodging, clubhouse and restaurant due in late summer will provide an extraordinary new destination for golfers, in Wisconsin with the friendliest people.