Tee time arrives for celebrity golf | SierraSun.com

Tee time arrives for celebrity golf

Susan Wood
Sun News Service
Sun News Service FileFormer NBA star Michael Jordan, shown here during a past American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament, is among the fan favorites returning for this year's event. Held at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, the celebrity golf tournament begins Tuesday and concludes Sunday.
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STATELINE ” In its 18th year, the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament starts Tuesday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course as the premier event of the South Shore. And some could argue it’s good timing for such an event that reaches millions of viewers on NBC and ESPN.

“It’s good because it shows Lake Tahoe (is not on fire),” Edgewood Golf Course Manager Randy Fox said Sunday of the devastating Angora fire that ripped through the North Upper Truckee and Tahoe Mountain neighborhoods of the community two weeks ago.

With the warm spring, Fox said the grounds are in good shape in preparation for the mass arrivals of guests and players.

The staff and volunteers were putting the finishing touches on the lakeshore setting that serves as a selling point for those who work on, play in and watch the festivities.

The cooking staff was wrapping up a wedding Sunday and worked on the tournament logistics for this week. The grandstands were erected this past weekend, and ropes went up yesterday in anticipation of some of the biggest names in sports and the entertainment worlds.

Here’s one for you ladies: Actor Kevin Costner is playing Tuesday for the Lake Tahoe Celeb/Am Tournament of the American Century Championship.

Costner ” who is known for his sports movies from “Bull Durham” to “Tin Cup” ” was staged on the South Shore this weekend to play his other passion with his rock band, Modern West, at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

Beyond his guitar, he was invited to take part in the 18th annual golf tournament and decided to stay over for today’s event ” which is designed to generate interest among amateur golfers and the celebs, LTVA Executive Director Patrick Kaler said.

Sixty-four golfers pay to play with 14 sports and entertainment stars.

With the sports world dominant to males, the addition of Costner opens up a new market for golf tournament.

“Kevin Costner has more of a women following,” Kaler said.

And he plays golf. He’ll play with four players from Harrah’s.

Costner will be joined in the Celeb/Am by U.S. women’s soccer player and World Cup winner Brandi Chastain, Saturday Night Live comic Kevin Nealon, NFL quarterback Billy Jo Tolliver ” who won the championship in 2005, quarterback Neil Lomax, NHL center Dan Quinn and MLB outfielder Vince Coleman.

Tour de France cycling great and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong will return for the second year on Thursday with his foundation that provides assistance to those battling the disease.

The old favorites ” Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Elway and John O’Hurley ” will be joined by some newcomers this year such as Jerome Bettis, the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back nicknamed “The Bus,” as well as announcer Al Michaels and Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo.

Soap opera star Jack Wagner won the tournament in 2006.

– Some of the biggest sports and entertainment stars try their hands at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course Tuesday through Sunday, with the television coverage starting on Friday and gates opening at 7 a.m.

– Tickets are available daily at the gate, running $10 for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, $20 for each tournament round Friday through Sunday and $50 for a season pass (good all days).

– Tuesday’s Lake Tahoe Celebrity-Amateur is one of the best days for autograph seeking.

– For tournament tickets, information and lodging packages, visit http://www.bluelaketahoe.com.