Star power surge to jolt Tahoe again |

Star power surge to jolt Tahoe again

Steve Yingling

It never ceases to amaze me the quality of celebrities that the American Century Celebrity Championship attracts.

… Peyton Manning, Donald Trump, Carson Palmer, Kurt Russell, Derrick Brooks, David Carr, Trent Green and Angiew Everhart.

And they are just some of the new folks joining the 54-hole championship July 16-18 at Edgewood Tahoe.

Of course, when your drawing card is “The greatest freebie in sports” there shouldn’t be a problem attracting new talent each year.

As usual, the main gate attractions are Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Elway, Mario Lemieux, Mark McGwire, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith.

Scanning the tentative 84-player list reveals 19 past or current NFL quarterbacks. With many of the QBs enjoying their final week off before training camp at that time, a skills competition sometime during the week seems like a natural fit.

The number of skiers entered has doubled as Jonny Moseley, who grew up skiing at Squaw Valley and then won a gold medal in moguls at the 1998 Winter Olympics, joins World Cup overall threat Bode Miller for the 15th championship. Moseley hasn’t been in the tournament since 1999 and no one has missed his golf skills. He finished next to last, beating only former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Four of the top six finishers in the Celebrity Players Tour are entered as well. Keep an eye on Brian Kinchen of the New England Patriots.

Kinchen parlayed a first-round 5-under-par 66 into first place in the Stan Humphries Classic last weekend in San Diego. He beat the best celebrity golf has to offer in the process.

Dan Quinn, who won here in 1992, 2001 and 2002, was a shot back, closing with a 6-under 65. Al Del Greco, the 2000 championship winner and six-time champion Rick Rhoden were third and sixth, respectively. Rhoden’s putter must have betrayed him as he shot a pair of even-par 71s.

The most notable exclusion from the top of the leaderboard was actor Jack Wagner. Wagner is the best player to have not won the championship – if Phil Mickelson had to carry that baggage for several years on the PGA Tour, a Hollywood type can, too. Last year’s championship runner-up finished a disappointing 22nd in San Diego.

Among the stars you won’t see this year are Mike Schmidt, Jason Kidd, Troy Aikman, Bo Jackson, Chris Webber, Tom Tolbert and Dave Mirra.

Schmidt will be missed the most. The Hall of Famer is one of 10 celebrities to have played in the previous 14 championships.

Don’t worry, he has a good excuse. The former All-Star third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies is going back to his roots, taking predawn bus rides and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He’s giving managing a shot with the Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League.

Schmidt carried his intensity on the diamond into retirement, making it difficult for any scribe or autograph seeker to approach him.

Don’t let his intense stare fool you. He has a soft side. Those who remained patient were usually rewarded with an autograph or interview.

For a complete list of championship entries, see B4.

– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or

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