The PGA Tour Champions Cologuard Classic has a tradition of pairing competitors with cancer patients, cancer survivors or in memory of those who lost their battle with cancer.
For the 2023 event, Steve Stricker will be paired with longtime Golfweek/USA Today senior writer Steve DiMeglio.
This is the third year that players will be “paired up” and wearing ribbons with their honoree’s name throughout the competition.
During his pre-tournament news conference Thursday, Stricker was asked about his pairing with DiMeglio.
“When I learned of his prognosis back last year, I’ve been in contact with him probably on a monthly basis just checking in with him and seeing how he’s been doing,” he said. “Steve, I’ve been kind of in his corner since I found out and been seeing how he’s been doing, how he’s been feeling. We’ve been talking back and forth. So it’s kind of, it’s, I don’t know how to say it, but it’s a nice surprise that I get to play for him this week because he’s a friend and we’ve gone back to the days when I first came on [PGA] Tour that I’ve known Steve. And he’s been always very good to me and fair to me.
“Hopefully he can say the same. Yeah, it’s a cool situation that I get to think about him a little bit more this week and wear a ribbon with his name on it. Yeah, it’s a pretty cool thing.”
Stricker has also noticed how fired up DiMeglio is for the pairing.
This week’s @ColeguardGolf tournie raises awareness for colon cancer. It honors those fighting the evil, survivors and those who succumbed. I’m being honored. Each of us is paired with a player who wears a ribbon with our name. My partner? STRIX! Tune into the Champions Tour.
— Steve DiMeglio (@Steve_DiMeglio) February 28, 2023
“We texted back and forth after I found out that I was playing for him, texted back and forth a little bit. So I’ll send him out another probably thing before we get going,” Stricker said. “I just hope and pray that he’s on the mend and getting going in the right direction. It’s a tough thing. I know he’s stage IV, which is pretty far along, so he’s still got an uphill battle. I don’t know if he tells me everything. He keeps telling me that he’s fighting it. All I keep saying is keep plugging and keep kicking butt and you can do it and all that kind of stuff.
“Yeah, hopefully he’s going to beat it and make it through.”