It’s a family affair |

It’s a family affair

Charles Sizemore

For many of the 80 celebrity participants in the 18th annual American Century Championship, this weekend is a chance for the family to get away to beautiful Lake Tahoe. Some of the players, who have been playing in the tournament for years, have turned this week into something of a family vacation.

Rick Rhoden, former MLB all-star pitcher, who has won the tournament six times, came with his wife.

“My wife wouldn’t let me come if she couldn’t come,” Rhoden said. “When I’m playing in the tournament she’ll be walking and watching me play, but she’s got a lot of friends here that we’ve become friendly with over the years, and some of her good friends are here, and I’m sure they’re hanging out.”

Another tournament favorite, Dan Quinn, a former Pittsburgh Penguins center, came to Tahoe this year with his wife and two daughters, Jordan and Cameron. Quinn’s wife has joined him in Lake Tahoe every year, but it’s only the second year for his daughters. During the tournament Quinn’s wife and daughters plan on coming out to watch, and his brother will be his caddy.

“They love coming out here. … It’s a good family event,” Quinn said. They rented a house, and will be in town until Monday. Quinn has won the tournament four times.

Sterling Sharpe, former NFL receiver, was out on the course Wednesday, while his family stayed at the hotel and relaxed.

“They’ll come out (this weekend) and walk the course with me, which will be fun,” Sharpe said.

Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench has played in the tournament for years, and he and his wife, Lauren, have come to view the annual trip to Lake Tahoe as a vacation. They’ve come this year with their 15-month-old son, Justin.

Bench, still a fierce competitor, used to focus solely on playing and competing in the tournament, but now enjoys the week more as a chance to get out on Lake Tahoe, and enjoy the beauty that the area has to offer.

“This is one of the most beautiful places that you’ll find in America,” Bench said.

Lauren plans to follow her husband as he plays this weekend, but “it depends on what the boy lets her do,” Bench said with a laugh.

Speed-skating gold medalist Dan Jansen and his wife, Karen, played a round together on Wednesday, and she’ll caddy for her husband one day of this weekend’s tournament. Karen will watch the rest of the tournament from the sidelines with family and friends.

Maury Povich arrived in the South Shore this week with his wife, anchorwoman Connie Chung. Chung did not accompany her husband during his practice round on Wednesday.

“I’m sure she’s busying herself,” Povich said with a smile. Povich said that his wife does plan on watching and supporting him while he plays this weekend.

Actor and comedian Kevin Nealon, who struggled to shift his golf cart into drive, and keep from rolling onto a fairway, managed to say, “yes, I brought my family.” Nealon added, “I can’t do three things at once.”

Not all the participants have come to Lake Tahoe with their family. John Elway, Super Bowl MVP quarterback did not bring his family, nor did former NFL runningback Marshall Faulk.

“This is my getaway,” Faulk said. “I’m here by myself.”

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