Gene Sauers has been named the recipient of the PGA Tour’s Courage Award following his battle with Stevens-Johnson syndrome which preceded his win at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.
Sauers, 55, won three times on during his PGA Tour career before he was sidelined by Stevens-Johnson, a rare but serious skin disorder which for Sauers was originally mis-diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. At one point given a 25 percent chance of survival, Sauers underwent several skin grafts prior to his debut on PGA Tour Champions in 2012.
Sauers has finished runner-up six times on the over-50 circuit, including a playoff loss to Colin Montgomerie at the 2014 U.S. Senior Open. He earned a breakthrough title at that event two years later, rallying past Miguel Angel Jimenez for his first senior major victory.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan presented Sauers with the award Tuesday at Phoenix Country Club, site of this week’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
“It’s truly an honor to receive the Courage Award, and it is my hope it sheds positive light on the tremendous work being done by doctors and researchers around the country to find a cure for this debilitating disease,” Sauers said in a release.
Sauers becomes the third-ever recipient of the award, which is presented to a player “who has overcome extreme adversity” through courage and perseverance. Past honorees include Erik Compton (2013), a two-time heart transplant recipient, and Jarrod Lyle (2015), who is currently battling leukemia for the third time.