Sending poems, songs to NBC aren’t players’ tickets into tournament |

Sending poems, songs to NBC aren’t players’ tickets into tournament

Steve Yingling

Celebrities, get a clue. Songs and poems don’t go very far in the bribery department. Try a Mercedes or a Caribbean cruise.

Certainly NBC’s Kevin Monaghan, who ultimately decides who’ll play and who won’t in the Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship, doesn’t take bribes but that hasn’t detracted from prospective players’ creative ways of landing a spot in the July 10-12 tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

“Bobby Anderson is the guy who keeps on writing songs and sending poems. It’s really hard to turn some of these guys away because they want to play so badly,” Monaghan said.

More than 300 celebrities aspire to play in the jewel of celebrity golf, but Monaghan says tournament director Mike Milthorpe won’t allow any more than 80 participants.

“There are gonna be five or six guys who don’t make the cut who will tell me they are coming out anyway. And I’ll have to say, “I can’t promise you you’ll get in the tournament,” Monaghan said.

Celebrity golfers aren’t eligible for the Isuzu championship unless their handicap is 10 or lower. That means a player must average at least an 82 on a par-72 course.

“This is the only time they lie about their golf handicaps,” Monaghan said. “We don’t want guys who are going to embarrass themselves. You get a guy out there who shoots over 100, that’s embarrassing and you really don’t want them back. The only guy we’ve made an exception for is Jason Kidd because he’s a big-name guy and he’s been very good for the fans.”

Even past champions like retired football player Dick Anderson and former NHL star Dan Quinn have lost some of their celebrity status.

“We’re thinking at some point that just because you’ve won this event doesn’t give you a lifetime exemption here. It’s not the Masters. We’re thinking of instituting a five-year policy at some point,” Monaghan said.

Active celebrity athletes are NBC’s priority for filling the field. NBC also prefers injecting 20 to 25 new players into the event annually. This year’s tournament has 21 new faces, including Mike Ditka, Tim Brown, Rex Chapman, Larry Brown, Marshall Faulk, Samuel L. Jackson, Dan Patrick and Jonny Moseley.

Moseley, who learned to ski at Squaw Valley and won Olympic gold in moguls last February, gives the tournament a local face. Monaghan is also considering Whittell High grad Mike Crawford, a second-year middle linebacker for the Miami Dolphins.

“I tried to get him in last year, but I got beaten up on it. He’s a great local story, and I’d like to get him in,” Monaghan said.

And Monaghan doesn’t expect Crawford to send him a poem.

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