Tahoe’s ready for celebrities | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe’s ready for celebrities

From setting up scoreboards to selling tickets, staff and volunteers of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship have attended to every detail in preparation for the official opening on July 4.

In anticipation of Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan’s playing in the tournament, the 11th annual, $500,000 event has taken on an air of excitement.

“This year is a lot more involved with Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan playing,” said Billy Rapaport, coordinating producer for NBC Sports and SFX Sports Group. “Michael (Jordan) has added to the fan peripheral. The fact that he hasn’t been here in three years adds to (the excitement of the event).”

Having helped coordinate the tournament for the past 10 years, Rapaport and the NBC and SFX staff of about 20, are kept plenty busy making sure players’ arrangements are taken care of, uniforms are made available to the employees and the necessary gift bags and souvenirs are delivered.

With ticket sales up, and only three celebrities canceling, things are running smoothly, Rapaport said. Skier Jonny Moseley, quarterback Dan Marino and jockey Corey Nakatani have pulled out.

“Not everyone is teeing off on the same days,” Rapaport said. “The celebrities just sort of appear and then we get them a time.”

Other headliners who will be playing in this year’s championship include John Elway, Jerry Rice, Matt Lauer and five-time defending champion Rick Rhoden. As only some of the big names in the sports and entertainment world, they will be joining a group of more than 75 celebrities.

With so many public figures flocking to Lake Tahoe’s South Shore this week, the community has pulled together to help make the event come off without a hitch.

As a tournament sponsor and volunteer coordinator, the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority has worked tirelessly in promoting the nationally recognized event. Caesars Tahoe, which is the official hotel host, has also been prepping for the tournament.

Coverage of the event will be aired on NBC on Saturday, July 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, July 9 from noon to 3 p.m. The Golf Channel will air the first round on Friday, July 7 from noon to 3 p.m.

Tickets for the practice rounds on July 4 and 5 are $10. Tickets for the Celeb-Am on July 1 are $15. And the price for the American Century Golf Championship from July 7-9 is $15.

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