Armstrong returning to golf tournament |

Armstrong returning to golf tournament

Steve Yingling

Although Lance Armstrong hasn’t been bitten by the golf bug in retirement, he will return to the American Century Championship next month.

For the second straight year the seven-time Tour de France winner plans to participate in the one-day celebrity-amateur tournament on July 12 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. More than 80 entertainment and sports stars, including Charles Barkley and Donald Trump, will compete in the 54-hole championship July 13-15.

“It takes quite a bit of time to play golf, and (that’s tough) when you’re trying to juggle kids and training,” said Armstrong on a teleconference on Monday. “Now that I’m retired, you never know.

“I don’t expect to come off looking cool. My expectations are low. I’m a big believer in mulligans. I need as many as I can (get).”

Tournament executives announced on Monday that Armstrong’s foundation will be the sole beneficiary of charity fundraising throughout the event. In addition, the winnings not collected by amateurs in the tournament will be donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which has raised more than $180 million toward cancer research.

“I’m still humbled by the (money raised),” said Armstrong, who overcame testicular cancer in the 1990s to become the second American to win the Tour de France. “We can be proud of the progress we’ve made.”

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Armstrong, 35, has been reluctant to join the 80-plus player celebrity field for the 54-hole tournament in Stateline. Armstrong is uncomfortable playing in front of spectators and obviously is more at home with a handle bar in his hands than an iron. Hundreds of fans watched his 18-hole pretournament round last July.

“There was a bigger crowd than I expected (last year),” Armstrong said. “It’s not that fun to tee off in front of a group of people. Hell, I get nervous when the lady in the beverage cart pulls up and I’m on the tee.”

But that notable round didn’t produce his worst moment in golf. Ten years ago, Armstrong participated in the Jimmy V. Foundation Tournament with the intention of sinking a hole-in-one so he could raise $1 million for the cause.

“I had this dream that I hit one for a million bucks, and I’ll be damn, I didn’t hit my tee shot 100 feet. It was totally humiliating,” he said.

Today, there are many cyclists in Europe that feel the same way following Armstrong’s stranglehold on the most coveted cycling title in the world.