Hear from Tom Byrum, Steve Stricker, Fred Couples and defending champ Miguel Angel Jimenez at Sanford International

Worlds best Champions Tour players are glad to be back in Sioux Falls
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 11:17 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The Sanford International starts tomorrow at Minnehaha Country Club and no player is happier to be here than Onida native Tom Byrum. It’s a chance every year to get back to South Dakota to see friends and family. And we’ve talked in the past about what it means to have the rest of the Champions Tour come play in his home state. He’s proud of that.

”Well it’s my home state for one so obviously it means a lot for me to come here and play professional golf in my home state. I mean that’s a dream come true for me. So right there I could stop right there, but it’s a really nice tournament for everybody else as well. We’ve got a great golf course. It’s in great shape, it’s tricky. You don’t just go out there with your eyes shut and play this place,” says Byrum. Tom tees off tomorrow at 12:35 on the first tee with Rocco Mediate and Davis Love III.

Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker is back where he won in 2018 in the very first year of the event. He loves the course as do most of the pro’s because of it’s character. And he obviously has fond memories of playing well here. So, is Steve looking forward to next week’s Ryder Cup in his home state of Wisconsin?

”A lot. I want to enjoy the Ryder Cup. I want to enjoy this week first, this is where I’m at. And that’s kind of how I live my life. Where am I at right now. And this is where I’m at and I want to have a good week here, I want to play well here. And then we look to next week which is a whole other week and then I’m looking forward to the week after that for sure,” says Stricker. Steve has a lot on his mind with the Ryder Cup next week in his home state of Wisconsin. But he focuses on one day at a time and he’s glad to be back here at a course that reminds him of home. With his wife as his caddy again too.

When Fred Couples came for the first time last year he said he’d be back if he liked the course. He loved the course and was all smiles today talking about it. Plus he has fond memories of this incredible shot when he slam dunked his wedge on #9 for a deuce... That’s even rare for the world’s best.

”It’s a weird feeling. A hole-in-one is really weird (he’s had 6) but even on the golf course, it was a sand wedge. You think you’re going to make a few of those but I don’t make many and that was one of them. Mark says...on the fly! Fred responds: “Yes, that was even weirder yes. It was luck let me tell you. The hole is this big and it flew in the hole so,” says Couples.

At age 61 Fred is still playing some great golf. And he told me he really wants to get another win under his belt. He hopes it’s this weekend in Sioux Falls.

The last time we saw this guy he was smoking a cigar and drinking fine wine after winning last year. And while it appears Miguel Angel-Jimenez is all about having fun, his caddy told me last year that he’s a very hard worker. He made the same observations today... And he feels his game works really well on this course. After all, he’s a shot-maker.

The defending champ said, ”It takes more creative shots and this golf course has more diversified holes. No two holes are the same and you need to play shots, yeah.”

He has always been a crowd favorite everywhere in the world. And last year the most interesting man in golf made plenty of new fans in South Dakota. He’s with Steve Stricker and Bernhard Langer tomorrow.

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