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Tolliver, Rhoden early arrivals at Edgewood

Tolliver, Rhoden among early arrivals

By Paul Andrew

Appeal News Service

STATELINE – A threesome of celebrity golfers got an early start on preparation for the 18th American Century Championship on Monday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

Billy Joe Tolliver, Neil Lomax and Grant Fuhr teed off at midafternoon for a round of fun and practice.

“We love coming to Tahoe every year,” said Tolliver, two-time tournament winner. “The people of this community embrace us every year.”

Lomax, who has played in every tournament since the event began in 1990, agreed.

“I must have something on the guys at NBC, because they keep inviting me back,” he joked. “Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places in the world; the hospitality here is the best. Edgewood is more gorgeous every year.”

The former All-Pro NFL quarterback has finished in the top 10 three times.

“The competition has gotten better since the beginning,” Lomax added. “The same guys seem to win all the time, but the golf overall is better.”

When asked about his game, Tolliver, who is currently a 5-1 favorite, had reserved confidence.

“We’ll find out. I’m a working man now, but I like my chances,” he said. “I’d put a little (money) on me, and a lot on (Tony) Romo. I don’t know how he snuck in at 20-1.”

Six-time champion Rick Rhoden was also spotted on the course – one of his earliest practice round appearances in years. Rhoden wasn’t permitted to play in last year’s tournament because he was a member of the Champions Tour.

Like many participating in the tournament this week, the celebrities were anxious to help the victims of the Angora fire.

“We lost our home to a fire when I was young, so I know what these people are going through,” said Tolliver, a former NFL quarterback. “I work for the Horseshoe Casino, which is part of Harrah’s, so I know we will be doing something.”

As the celebrities continue to come into a town that has meant so much to them over the years, the perils of the fire victims are in their minds, and they are ready to give back.

Costner to play in celeb-am tournament

By Susan Wood

Appeal News Service

Here’s one for you ladies: actor Kevin Costner is playing golf Tuesday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Celeb/Am Tournament of the American Century Championship.

Costner – who is known for his sports movies from “Bull Durham” to “Tin Cup” – was staged on the South Shore this weekend to play his other passion with his rock band, Modern West, at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

Beyond his guitar, he was invited to take part in the 18th annual golf tournament and decided to stay over for Tuesday’s event – which is designed to generate interest among amateur golfers and the celebs, LTVA Executive Director Patrick Kaler said Monday.

Sixty-four golfers pay to play with 14 sports and entertainment stars.

With the event dominated by men, the addition of Costner opens up a new market for the golf tournament.

“Kevin Costner has more of a women following,” Kaler said.

And he plays golf. He’ll play with four players from Harrah’s.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Harrah’s marketing staffer Bryan Casuscelli, calling Costner a “popcorn idol.” Casuscelli also likes the idea he’s played with Costner’s co-star Cheech Marin.

“This will complete the “Tin Cup” cycle,” the Harrah’s golfer said.

Costner will be joined in the Celeb/Am by U.S. women’s soccer player and World Cup winner Brandi Chastain, Saturday Night Live comic Kevin Nealon, NFL quarterback Billy Jo Tolliver – who won the championship in 2005 -quarterback Neil Lomax, NHL center Dan Quinn and Major League Baseball outfielder Vince Coleman.

Tuesday is one of the best days for autograph seeking at the tournament, which ends Sunday.