By Steve Rivera
You can’t blame Kevin Sutherland for being excited for his return to the 2022 Cologuard Classic in February. After all, Arizona has been very good for the defending champion of the annual golf tournament.
“I do love Arizona,” Sutherland said. “The Champions Tour has been very good, winning twice in Phoenix and once in Tucson.”
He recalled playing well in Tucson during the regular PGA Tour and now has a victory to show for it in Tucson. He will be back at Omni Tucson National Resort with the hopes of a repeat when the tournament tees off Feb. 25. A week of tournament activities begins on Feb. 21.
“I enjoy being there and for some reason I play well there,” Sutherland said. “I’m looking forward to it. I always look forward to going to Tucson National.”
Sutherland will have to defend his title against 77 of the best senior golfers in the world who will play for a $1.7 million prize pool.
There were no major commitments at press time, but among those eligible are Phil Mickelson, former Arizona Wildcat Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, David Duval and Steve Stricker.
“These guys are amazing players – and the field is only going to get stronger,” said Brandt Hazen, the Conquistadores’ liaison to the PGA.
“Last year was the best we’ve ever had – including Phil,” said Josh Robinson, this year’s tournament chairman. “There’s a chance he’ll come back to Tucson, which would be wonderful.”
What’s important is the Cologuard Classic will return with a golf-clapping crowd that has always made professional golf in Tucson so good. Last year’s event – because of COVID-19 restrictions – limited the crowds and yet the tournament raised more than $600,000 for the kids in Southern Arizona.
“We certainly learned a lot from it,” said Robinson. “We learned from an operations standpoint and cost perspective to save some money. Obviously, every penny we save we get to give back to the community – and that’s our objective.
“Would I want to go through all that again? No. The fans missed out on an amazing field last year. We want them back and we want to make sure we showcase a great event. We want to give the city the most and best exposure possible.”
Robinson said the tournament will attempt more fan interaction, as well as add more hospitality for fans on the 16th hole. There also will be sports betting on site from WynnBet.
The Conquistadores, DM 50 and Cologuard Classic officials never disappoint when it comes to the week’s highlight concert benefitting the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base airmen and their families.
Country singer Jake Owen and country group Diamond Rio will perform at the Military Appreciation Concert sponsored by Nova Home Loans, DM50 and the Tucson Conquistadores. The concert is Feb. 26 at the Omni Tucson National Practice Range.
Admission to the second round of the tournament on Saturday includes both the golf tournament and evening concert.
Concert VIP tickets for $150 include admission to the golf tournament, access to the VIP concert area, and complimentary food and beverages. Concert Side Stage VIP tickets are $300, get you closer to the stage and also include tournament admission and food and beverages. General admission to the concert and golf tournament is $55 per person.
“We want to put on a great week and raise a lot of money,” Robinson said. “We fully expect to see the full stack of fans back. We do a pretty good job of creating a fun party out there. Even if you don’t like golf, you can come out and enjoy the sun and enjoy a cold beer, walk around and enjoy the outdoors.”
Pictured above – 2020 Tucson Conquistadores at Omni Tucson National Resort
MILITARY APPRECIATION CONCERT
Sponsored by NOVA Home Loans, DM50 and the
When: Saturday, Feb. 26, 5 p.m.
Where: Omni Tucson National Practice Range
Featuring: Country artists Jake Owen and Diamond Rio
For Concert Sponsorship Packages & Ticket info:
For more information: www.CologuardClassic.com