There’s one place where NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB rivalries meet annually to settle old scores. The venue: Lake Tahoe. The event: The American Century Championship. At stake: a share in the $625,000 prize purse. The scene: Six days of fist bumps, high fives, autograph signing, photos with fans, laughs, and some great golf.
A blockbuster lineup of sports legends, all-stars, Olympians and hall of famers plus Hollywood celebrities of film and television will go tee to green in two weeks, July 14-19 at the 26th American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Club.
The No. 1 celebrity golf tournament in America brings plenty of high-stakes competition, thrills and a fair share of wild swings, long putts and errant golf shots to the famed Edgewood course as a field of more than 80 players tee it up before galleries totaling some 40,000 who line fairways, beaches and watch aboard speed boats, sailboats and chartered yachts along the shoreline.
Among this year’s celebrity lineup, multi-talented music artist and actor Justin Timberlake will join superstar athletes and entertainers for the first time. The much-decorated performer is an avid golfer who plays to a six handicap and is renowned in the sport for his philanthropic endeavors.
He will join an already-impressive list of sports and entertainment celebrities, including TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley, NFL MVP and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, comedian Larry the Cable Guy, TV personality Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty and a host of current pro athletes and retired Hall of Famers. The 26th annual tournament raises money for multiple charities and offers free admission to military personnel and guests.
Defending 2014 champion Mark Rypien, the Washington Redskins’ former Super Bowl XXVI MVP (1992), who won the very first American Century Championship in 1990, returns this year as well as past winners, three-time champion Billy Joe Tolliver, and eight-time champion Rick Rhoden and two-time winner actor/singer Jack Wagner.
The American Century Championship annually brings in a bevy of new superstars to keep the player list fresh and packed with new faces among the pro sports and entertainment fields. First timers in 2015 are former fashion model and actress Kim Alexis; former MLB All-Star pitcher David Cone; country musician, rapper and southern rock anthem songwriter Colt Ford; Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly; actor comedian Rob Riggle of the “Daily Show,” “Saturday Night Live” and “22 Jump Street;” Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera; and Brandon Weeden of the Dallas Cowboys.
Three recently elected Hall of Famers are Jerome Bettis, “The Bus” of Pittsburgh Steelers fame; Tim Brown, Oakland Raiders; and John Smoltz, of the Atlanta Braves. Smoltz will join his former pitching rotation mates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.
NFL stars also include Hall-of-Famers John Elway, Marcus Allen, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Steve Young. Current stars include five-time Pro Bowl and All Pro defensive end Jared Allen, Pro-Bowlers Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals and Wes Welker, Denver Broncos, plus Kansas City QB Alex Smith. Recently retired superstars include Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and Rodney Harrison of the New England Patriots.
In addition to Rivera and Kelly, coaches in the field include South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and former Jets and Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards.
The American Century Championship has an impressive lineup of former Major League Baseball players including two-time All-Star and six-time stolen base champion Vince Coleman; All-Star pitchers Roger Clemens, Trevor Hoffman, Derek Lowe, Mark Mulder, Bret Saberhagen, Tim Wakefield, and David Wells; World Series champion first baseman Kevin Millar and All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez and outfielders David Justice and Kenny Lofton.
National Hockey League stars include: Hall-of-Famers Mike Modano and Joe Sakic; All-Star goalie Martin Brodeur, and famed center Jeremy Roenick; and U.S. Hockey team captain Mike Eruzione, best known for scoring the winning goal in the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game against the Soviet Union.
Other notable Olympians include U.S. Ski Team alpine ski racer and gold medalist Bode Miller; Tennis Olympic silver medalist Mardy Fish; and Olympic gold medalist speed skater Dan Jansen.
Film, television, comedy stars include Brian Baumgartner, best known for his role as Kevin Malone in “The Office;” Actor Dennis Haysbert, Oliver Hudson of the ABC hit drama series “Nashville” and CBS Comedy “Rules of Engagement”; longtime American Century player and fan favorite, actor/comedian Kevin Nealon of “Saturday Night Live” and “Weeds;” “Seinfeld” actor and National Dog Show host John O’Hurley; Alan Thicke, best known for “Growing Pains” Alfonso Riberio, best known for his role as Carlton Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Retired U.S. Army Corporal Chad Pfeifer, an Iraqi War Veteran and amputee whose golf-centered rehabilitation turned him into a top-tier tournament player, joined the field in 2014. Pfeifer returns this year along with retired Army Sgt. Maj. Rodney Gorman who won the Bush Center’s fourth annual Warrior Open at Las Colinas Country Club in October, 2014.
Will you be at the 26th Annual American Century Championship?