Celebrity golf adds a Great One | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Celebrity golf adds a Great One

Tribune and AP reports

Retired NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky will make his first appearance in the American Century Golf Championships July 2-4 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

Gretzky, regarded as the greatest player in hockey history, will now unleash his competitive fire against the best golfers from the worlds of sports and entertainment, including defending champion Mario Lemieux, four-time winner Rick Rhoden, actor Jack Wagner and active and retired stars such as Mike Schmidt, Johnny Bench, Dan Marino and Jerry Rice.

“I guarantee this will be the best field we’ve ever had. Buy your tickets now,” said Phil Weidinger, whose public relations firm has promoted the event throughout its 10-year history.

Perennial contender John Elway, who retired from the NFL’s Denver Broncos earlier this month, also has committed to play in the 54-hole tournament. Elway, who finished fifth a year ago, will be making his 10th consecutive appearance in the event.

”It always has attracted a big audience of spectators on site and has done pretty well in the TV ratings,” said Ed Markey, a spokesman for NBC Sports in New York.

”This certainly will give it a little extra added attraction,” he said about Gretzky, considered the greatest hockey player ever, and Elway, who quarterbacked the Broncos to the past two Super Bowl titles.

The $500,000 stroke-play competition will be televised by NBC Sports on July 3 from 1-3 p.m. and July 4 from noon to 3 p.m. The Golf Channel will televise the opening round July 2 from noon to 3 p.m.

Gallery tickets are available Tuesday through Sunday, with practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday at $10, the Celebrity/Amateur on Thursday and the three rounds of tournament golf at $15 per person daily.

Tickets are available each day at the gate. Discounted tickets can be purchased in advance for Friday through Sunday rounds at $12.50 each through BASS, or by calling the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority toll-free central reservations at (800) AT-TAHOE.

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