Sports fans will get a big peek at their favorite players when the annual Lake Tahoe Celebrity-Am Tournament gets under way today.
Last year’s champion Billy Joe Tolliver tees off at 1 p.m. off No. 1. Tolliver, a former NFL quarterback, has won the American Century Championship title three times — 1996, 2005 and 2013.
Three other former champions — Mark Rypien, Jack Wagner and Rick Rhoden — also are playing in the celebrity-am event. Wagner, who won in 2006 and 2011 and is the only non-athlete to win the ACC, tees off No. 1 at 8:50 a.m. while Rhoden, an eight-time champion and only one of two players to win back-to-back years, tees off No. 10 at 12:55. Rypien goes off No. 1 at 12:50 p.m.
There are several first-time players entered in the celebrity-am tournament, and two of them, Roger Clemens and Britton Colquitt, will be in action today.
Colquitt, a punter, is going off at 8:40 with Olympic speedskater Dan Jansen and NFL kicker Robbie Gould of the Chicago Bears. Clemens tees off No. 10 at 2:05.
WOMEN IN THE FIELD
There are three women in the field, including tourney favorite Annika Sorenstam. The other two are Lisa Cornwell, a Golf Channel host, and Hilary Knight, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in women’s ice hockey.
Daily tickets will be sold at the gate for the 25th annual event at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Tickets are $15 for today’s and Thursday’s event. Ticket prices are $25 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are discounted when purchased from Raley’s, Bel Air or Nob Hill Foods. Tickets are $12 for today and Thursday, and $18 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In honor of American Century Investments founder James Stowers Jr., who passed away recently at the age of 90, the official national beneficiary of the 2014 tournament is the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.
Each year, more than 40 percent of ACI profits are distributed to the institute. Total dividend payments since 2000 are more than $1 billion.
Last year’s ACC tournament keeps helping local organizations, as the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority distributed $85,000 to 28 different non-profit groups through funds raised during the annual tournament.
“The American Century Championship happens once a year, but it gives to the community every day in more ways than one,” said Carol Chaplin, director of the LTVA, in a press release. “Our long-term partnership with American Century and NBC Sports is firmly rooted in our community. The event positively impacts the destination through national marketing and media exposure. But just as important, American Century and NBC lend their support to area organizations that need help.”
Since 1990, the tournament has donated more than $4.2 million to local and national non-profits. Since 2009, more than 80 checks have been cut to local non-profits with donations totaling $630,000.