Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com

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July 15, 2014
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Elway sets sights on American Century Championship

Driving is just one of many talents for NFL legend John Elway.

His legacy began by taking the wheel of the Denver Broncos offense in 1983 culminating with back-to-back Super Bowl wins to cap his Hall of Fame career.

He holds the NFL record for fourth-quarter comebacks with 47 including the most famous of them all, “The Drive,” which Elway engineered to tie Cleveland in the 1987 AFC Championship game.

The Broncos went on to win in overtime marking the first of five Super Bowl appearances for Elway.

Now, Elway is aiming his driving skills on the golf course at the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course this Friday through Sunday. He is a 12-1 favorite to win the tournament.

The event is televised on July 18 on NBC Sports Network from 1-4 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday on NBC at noon.

Last week, Elway, Annika Sorenstam, Notah Begay III and Cpl. Chad Pfeifer engaged in a conference call with the media from Edgewood.

Elway, as in his playing days, is one of the best golfers to compete at the ACC, which he has done every year in the events’ 25-year history. He has piled up 11 top-10 finishes, including second-place finishes in 2010 and 1999, but has yet to lift the ACC trophy.

“It’s grown tremendously. From back in 1990 … I think the first five years total is what we see on Saturday and Sunday at the tournament now. It’s a tournament everyone wants to play in.”

The ACC uses the Stableford format (like the Reno-Tahoe Open), which rewards players points for low scores. For example, a birdie is worth one point and so forth.

Standing in Elway’s path, though, are four players with multiple titles, including Rick Rhoden (eight), 2012 champ Dan Quinn (five) and 2013 winner Bily Joe Tolliver (three). Oh, and tournament favorite and women’s legend Annika Sorenstam.

Sorenstam is currently at even money to win the tournament. As for how Elway and the others stand up to Sorenstam, the NFL legend was honest.

“It doesn’t stack up,” Elway said. “Playing golf for her is probably like riding a bike. With her history and the great career that she had, she’s going to be the one to beat.”

Despite Sorenstam’s presence, the former LPGA great said the course is setting up nicely.

“This is not an easy golf course and it’s impressive what they do here,” Sorenstam said. “They don’t do this for a living. This is kind of what they do for fun. You really have to respect it more to play another sport at a pretty good level. You don’t just hit a few balls and become a scratch golfer.”

Elway, the Broncos’ executive vice president, will be joined on the course by several familiar Denver heroes — former teammate and NFL MVP Terrell Davis, current Broncos coach John Fox, Broncos punter Britton Colquitt and former Colorado Avalanche center and NHL Hall of Famer Joe Sakic.

Sakic sank a hole-in-one on the par-3 No. 17 in 2011 and won $1 million. Other sports stars who will compete include Golden State guard Steph Curry, NFL legend Jerry Rice and fan favorite NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, among many others.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 15, 2014 03:56PM Published Jul 15, 2014 10:36AM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.