Attendance record nearly set |

Attendance record nearly set

Steve Yingling, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The return of superstar Michael Jordan and the fan appeal of celebrities such as John Elway, Charles Barkley and Sacramento Kings’ Mike Bibby and Chris Webber nearly added up to a record week at the gates for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.

Attendance for the six-day event at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course was 25,012 spectators — a 20.95 percent increase over last year. Jordan missed that event because of cracked ribs.

However, it was 2,932 less than the all-time record set in 2000.

Attendance totals have been kept since 1995.

Considering rain and thunderstorms interfered with this year’s tournament, the totals were pleasing, according to Phil Weidinger, whose firm regionally promotes the event.

“It was rained out on Thursday, so I think this would have broken them all,” Weidinger said.

The championship also raised a significant amount of money for the Uniformed Fire Fighters Association Scholarship Fund. Excluding what several players donated from their tournament winnings, $136,000 was raised during the week.

Tournament champion Dan Quinn donated $10,000 of his $100,000 first prize to the firemen’s cause Sunday and money was also donated through memorabilia auctions, purses for the New York Fire Department three tournament participants and a $10,000 consolation prize for NYFD’s Guy Warren missing a $1 million putt on Saturday.

Tournament officials had hoped to raise more than $150,000 for the fund, which unlike other September 11 charities, has cultivated less than $1 million.

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