As if the beautiful scenery wasn’t enough, a galaxy of stars were also out in full force to support one of golf’s greatest charity events, the 21st Annual American Century Championship, held July 13-18 at the Edgewood Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
This premier event draws dozens of stars from both entertainment and the world of sports, and features a purse of $600,000. The event is owned and created by NBC Sports specifically for broadcast for days in a row. As the country’s premier celebrity golf tournament, it includes larger-than-life celebrities who compete for a record purse over a total of 54-holes in a modified Stableford format. The lineup at the sun-splashed, radiant lake area boasted a field of more than 120 celebrities, including greats like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Tony Romo, Kevin Nealon, Ryan Sheckler, Ray Romano, Emmitt Smith, Don Cheadle and Dale Jarrett among numerous others, most of them from the West Side.
While the skill levels may have varied from entrant to entrant, high spirits and plenty of goodwill were on hand to make the tournament one of the more enjoyable events in golf. This year the American Century Championship set an attendance record of 37,500 over the three days of festivities.
It was also another good year for participant and former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver, who got off to a strong start and was never challenged by the field, as he earned his third title with a record total of 84 points, placing him ahead of actor Jack Wagner and professional athletes John Elway, Tony Romo, and John Smoltz. In the scoring format, 6 points are awarded for an eagle, 3 for a birdie and 1 for a par. Golfers like basketball legend Michael Jordan are known to be very serious about the game and is always a fan favorite, but even those with humbling golf skills enjoy the camaraderie and endear themselves to fans as part of the charitable activity, a role that was well-filled by former basketball great Charles Barkley.
Much more than just a golf tournament, this event sets the standard for charitable golf elsewhere as well, but has been held for the last 21 years at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf course. The namesake sponsor American Century is also part of a sponsorship group that includes ADT Security, Korbel, American Airlines and Sotheby’s, just to name a few.
While the tournament offers plenty of high spirits and entertainment value for the gallery, the event is designed to also bring awareness to deserving charity causes. This year, for the fifth year in a row, the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) was the official charity of the American Century Championship. The tournament helps focus awareness on the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign, and contributes to the LAF’s cancer survivorship initiatives. The LAF is a particularly good fit for American Century Investments, as a good portion of the firm’s profit from asset management goes to fund research for the prevention and cure of gene-based diseases such as cancer.
One of the highlights of this affluent and high-class tournament was the much talked about gifting lounge where the celebs, key CEOs and corporate sponsors were given gifts by such recognized names as Debra Luptak who is known for her revolutionary and well compensated programs to transform Corporate America through lectures and workshops, teaching how to obtain the right mind-set, a much-needed talent for corporations of any size in our rapidly changing world and economy. The lounge also offered fun-filled socializing among the 400 celebs and execs that were privileged enough to receive expensive gifts. A true eye catcher was the exhibit of classy female nude sketches and art work by celebrated artist, Loraine Stern, ( Legsley) whose reputation as a distinguished and dominant artist have grown stronger over the past few years with numerous high profile homes decorated on the West Side with her extraordinary pieces. Liona Boyd, from Santa Monica, the First Lady of the Guitar, with 22 CDs out worldwide had a noticeable presence as corporations competed for her music compilations for branding purposes at fundraisers and other high-ranking events.
All in all, this ongoing classic tournament is a sterling example of what can be done when celebrities come together to enjoy an event not only for fun and games in a gorgeous locale, but also for the larger good of well-deserving charitable organizations.