American Century Championship invites Warrior Open winner to tournament for second year | TahoeDailyTribune.com

American Century Championship invites Warrior Open winner to tournament for second year

Rodney Gorman hits a tee shot in the final round of the 2015 American Century Championship as NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk looks on. The U.S. Army Sergeant Major earned a spot in the tournament by winning the Warrior Open, which will again award the winner an ACC berth.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

For the second year in a row, American Century Investments is inviting the winner of the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Warrior Open, held next Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 29-30, at Las Colinas Country Club, to play in the American Century Championship. As part of the Warrior Open prize package, the 2015 Champion Cup winner will spend July 19-24, 2016 in Lake Tahoe and compete against more than 80 celebrities and athletes for a portion of the $600,000 ACC prize purse.

Now in its fifth year, the Warrior Open is a competitive 36-hole golf tournament featuring members of the U.S. Armed Forces who served their country honorably and have been severely wounded since Sept. 11, 2001. The tournament is a program of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative.

“The Warrior Open champions are true heroes and we’ve been honored to host them at the American Century Championship,” said Jonathan Thomas, president and CEO of American Century Investments. “U.S. service members unselfishly protect the freedoms we hold dear, so bringing the annual Warrior Open winner out to Tahoe for a great time with our celebrity field is American Century’s way of showing gratitude to our brave military.”

Broadcast on NBC since 1990, the ACC is network television’s longest-running celebrity golf tournament. Past participants include musical artists, sports heroes, television and movie stars and top comedians. Former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder is the defending champion.

American Century’s decision to invite the annual Warrior Open winner to play in the celebrity tournament was prompted by the appearance of retired Iraq war veteran and amputee U.S. Army Cpl. Chad Pfeifer at the 2014 tournament. The three-time Warrior Open winner’s strong showing and popularity with fans inspired American Century to establish participation in the ACC as the grand prize for future Warrior Open winners.

Last year’s Warrior Open Champ U.S. Army Sergeant Major Rodney Gorman earned the opportunity to play in the 2015 American Century Championship, where he finished 14th in a field of more than 90 celebrity players. A Gulf War veteran who experienced multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, Gorman now trains Special Operations Forces for the Department of Defense.

“Having the opportunity to play in the 2015 American Century Championship was a surreal experience for me because I spent 20 years in the service trying to be discreet — being in the corner — not having attention drawn to me,” Gorman said.

“Out in Tahoe I was treated like a celebrity. My family and I had the time of our lives and hopefully I’ll play well enough in the 2015 Warrior Open to win a return trip. I appreciate American Century for their hospitality and support for wounded vets.”

The Warrior Open prize package includes paid roundtrip airfare for two to Lake Tahoe, as well as hotel accommodations and access to evening dinners, concerts and other entertainment. While in Tahoe, the Champion Cup winner will be able to participate in practice rounds at the Edgewood Tahoe course, play in a celebrity-amateur tournament and compete for cash prizes in the televised American Century Championship. The tournament’s top prize is $125,000 followed by $60,000 and $35,000 for second and third place finishers.

For more information about the Warrior Open, the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative or the George W. Bush Presidential Center, please visit http://www.bushcenter.org or the Bush Center’s Facebook page. The American Century Championship is online at http://www.tahoecelebritygolf.com.