Miguel Angel Jimenez stood in the Minnehaha Country Club driving range Thursday morning, stretching with a club in his arms, a lit cigar dangling from his mouth. Just then a fan approached him and asked for a selfie. Jimenez nodded, leaned in and smiled toward the man’s phone, then went back to work as the man thanked the 2020 Sanford International champion and scurried away.
A short chip shot away, Bernhard Langer stood on a practice green and strained to squeeze his name onto a golf ball, fulfilling the autograph request of a fan who had nervously approached the two-time Masters champion.
Those little moments have made the Sanford International a success in Sioux Falls, and the PGA Tour Champions event returns this week for the fourth year of its original five-year contract. And thanks to a summer agreement that wasn’t exactly last-minute but was definitely taking long enough to make organizers nervous, there’s an extended future for the tournament in Sioux Falls, as a deal was struck with Minnehaha Country Club to keep it there through 2024.
A year ago when the tournament was getting underway, the COVID-19 pandemic was still canceling and limiting sporting events across the country, and the Sanford International went out of its way to advertise itself as the first major sporting event to allow fans. They pulled it off largely without incident, and the tournament was a rousing success, with Angel Jimenez memorably celebrating his victory with a cigar on the 18th green and a glass of wine at his post-round press conference.
The best content delivered directly to your inbox.