The first year of the Sanford International was a home run! The future of the event is bright, and there are some big names that could join the PGA Champions Tour in the next few years.

This past weekend, the first year of the Sanford International went off without a hitch. Volunteers came from 14 different states came to help with the event, and thousands showed up to Minnehaha Country Club to watch some of the greatest golfers to ever play the game.

The names were certainly there. Steve Stricker won after shooting -13 through the three days. We saw other golfers like Vijay Singh, Rocco Mediate, Scott McCarron, and even John Daly come to Sioux Falls. And heck, you can't top Jack Nicklaus playing an exhibition nine-hole event!

Sanford Health and the PGA Champions Tour signed a five-year deal prior to this past tournament. With four years remaining in the current contract (and yes, I 100% expect that it gets extended well past the first deal), I couldn't help but think about some of the names we could see in the future.

These aren't confirmed entries. These are current PGA Tour players that are approaching the age of 50. To be eligible for the PGA Champions Tour, players must be at least 50 years old. Players that will hit the age of 50 within the current Sanford Health/PGA Champions Tour contract that runs through 2022 include:

  • Retief Goosen (49)
  • Angel Cabrera (49)
  • Jim Furyk (48)
  • Phil Mickelson (48)
  • KJ Choi (48)
  • Tim Herron (48)
  • Ernie Els (48)
  • Stuart Appleby (47)
  • Charlie Wi (46)
  • Brian Gay (46)
  • YE Yang (46)
  • David Duval (46)
  • Mark Hensby (46)

Again, not saying that these players will immediately jump into the PGA Champions Tour but they would at least be eligible to do so. If the partnership between Sanford and the tour continues beyond the current contract, some of the other names that would be on the horizon include:

  • Lee Westwood (45)
  • Brett Wetterich (45)
  • Brian Smok (45)
  • Tiger Woods (42)
  • Henrik Stenson (42)
  • Zach Johnson (42)
  • Jason Dufner (41)

It was such an exciting and fun event that I heard many people making plans for next year before this year's event even ended. Whether or not some of those players make an appearance in the future, it's a guarantee that the Sanford International will be a hit year after year.

A guarantee.

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