Survivor Sauers savoring time on Champions Tour with buddies

  • Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2014 - 10:31 PM

After recovering from a rare skin condition, Gene Sauers is always upbeat.

hide

Gene Sauers, who nearly died because of a rare skin condition, waved to the gallery on the 17th green Sunday.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER • jwheeler@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Gene Sauers held out his forearms, then lifted the bottoms of his golf pants to show the scars. White and red splotches that look alarming, if not painful.

Then he smiles. There is no pain. Not anymore.

“It’s so good to be out here,” he said.

It was a much different story after he let on-course struggles with his golf game get the best of him. Sauers quit the only profession he knew.

Seven years later, in 2011, Sauers discovered dark discoloration spots on his arms and legs. The areas grew. Tests revealed he had Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare disorder in which blood vessels get clogged and cause the skin to burn from the inside out.

The affected areas had to be cleared away with excruciating treatments. Skin grafts followed. A lot of them.

He was given a 25 percent chance to survive. Touch-and-go days followed, but he pulled through.

Along the way, Sauers vowed to get back into golf. The three-time PGA Tour winner was done with the sore attitude. Nothing but positivity, from that first tiny practice shot to the last putt each week now as a full-time player on the Champions Tour.

“Hey, I make par, I make birdie, I miss a shot, whatever,” Sauers said. “I’m just living life to its fullest and trying to enjoy myself. I know I came real close to seeing that white light, you know? Real close.”

He’s also inching closer to reaching the top of his golf game.

On Sunday, Sauers shot his second consecutive 7-under-par 65 in the 3M Championship at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. He finished at 20 under for the tournament, good for a payday north of $100,000. Three weeks ago, he lost in a playoff to Colin Montgomerie in the U.S. Senior Open.

“I feel awesome about my game,” Sauers said. “I’m hitting so much better than I did on the regular tour. Good distance control, my putting is coming around. If I could putt half as good as some of these guys, I’d be hard to beat.”

Sauers smiled again.

“You know, I was hard on myself on the regular tour,” he said. “I don’t do that anymore. It’s good to be back out here with my buddies again.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia - WP: A. Harang 5 FINAL
Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann 3
Atlanta - LP: S. Marimon 5 FINAL
Toronto - WP: B. Cecil 6
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 12 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 3
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 4 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 2
Cincinnati - LP: H. Bailey 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: C. Martinez 5
San Diego - LP: C. Kimbrel 6 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: Z. Rosscup 7
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 4 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1
Milwaukee 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Pittsburgh 6
Miami 0 Top 8th Inning
NY Mets 5
LA Angels 0 Bottom 7th Inning
Houston 1
NY Yankees 5 Top 7th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Oakland 5 Top 8th Inning
Kansas City 0
Arizona 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Francisco 1
Colorado 1 Bottom 1st Inning
Los Angeles 0
Texas 0 Top 1st Inning
Seattle 0
Washington 93 FINAL
Toronto 86
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Golden State 106
Milwaukee 85 4th Qtr 3:30
Chicago 99
Dallas 8:30 PM
Houston
Minnesota 1 FINAL
St. Louis 4
Detroit 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 5
Pittsburgh 0 2nd Prd 19:40
NY Rangers 1
Winnipeg 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Houston 1 FINAL
D.C. 1
Orlando City 0 2nd Half 30:00
Columbus 3
Toronto FC 0 1st Half 5:00
FC Dallas 3
Seattle 1 1st Half 35:00
Colorado 0
Vancouver FC 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Sporting Kansas City 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close