Four! Stars trickle in
By Charles Sizemore
Tuesday marked the official beginning of the 18th annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament week, which runs through Sunday.
A 9 a.m. shotgun start got things rolling with the 2007 Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority celeb/am tournament, which teams a celebrity with four amateurs who pony up $6,000 per foursome or $1,750 for individuals.
Today’s events include the Harrah’s celeb/am tournament, and some celebrity practice rounds.
About 30 celebrities have made their way to Tahoe so far, with the rest anticipated to arrive today. The entire field is expected to play in the ACC tournament, which begins on Thursday at 7 a.m. Eighty celebrities from the sports, entertainment and even the political worlds will participate in the final event before the 54-hole tournament begins Friday.
Sixteen celebrities played in the celeb/am Tuesday, including actor Kevin Costner, comedian Kevin Nealon, former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien and ESPN analyst Digger Phelps.
Jerome Bettis, former NFL All-Pro running back, arrived Tuesday afternoon, and hurried to get some practice swings before the weather turned sour. A recent contract with NBC brings Bettis to the tournament, but it’s more than just work for the former Pittsburgh Steeler.
“I love golf, so it makes for a fun event,” Bettis said.
Many participants have played in the tournament for years and take pride in the event.
For Baltimore Raven’s quarterback Kyle Boller, it’s his fifth year playing the event.
“I love Tahoe. I grew up coming here as a kid,” Boller said.
Boller feels that the tournament gets better each year. “NBC does a great job putting (the tournament) together and the fans have a good time,” Boller said. “It’s very competitive and that’s what people love.”
Former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver has also played in years past, winning the event twice. Tolliver played Tuesday in the celeb/am.
“We’ve been doing this tournament a long, long time,” Tolliver said. “Everybody gears their game for this one event and everybody looks forward to it.”
– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling contributed to this story