Celebrity Participants Announced for 2006 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Golf Tournament
Costner, Bell, Russell Celebrity Headliners; NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback John Elway & Dhani Jones Newest AdditionsKevin Costner and his wife Christine, John Elway, Catherine Bell, Kurt Russell, Dhani Jones, Wayne and Janet Gretzky, Cheech Marin, John and Lisa O’Hurley, Brad Daugherty, George Rogers, Ben Wright, Jennifer Mills, Pat Green, long-drive champion Sean “The Beast” Fister, and Spartanburg native Fred Griffith are the celebrities that are scheduled to compete in this year’s BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament.
Famed international golfer and Grand Slam winner Gary Player is this year’s featured golfer.
Kevin Costner is an Oscar-winning actor/director/producer, and has starred in such hits as, The Untouchables, No Way Out, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Dances with Wolves, JFK, Thirteen Days; Open Range; and the 1996 golf movie Tin Cup. This will be Costner’s fifth appearance in the tournament. Costner’s wife Christine will also play in the tournament as a celebrity.
For 16 amazing seasons – 234 games that included a NFL-record 148 wins – John Elway was the undisputed leader of the Denver Broncos. He will be forever remembered for his 47 game-winning or game-tying drives in the fourth quarter (another NFL record), his spectacular passing statistics, and his enduring competitive spirit, which led him twice to the ultimate professional and personal triumph in the Super Bowl. In 2004, in his first year of eligibility, Elway was elected on the first ballot to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This will be Elway’s first appearance in the tournament.
Catherine Bell is best known as Marine Corps attorney Lt. Colonel Sarah ‘Mac’ Mackenzie on the former hit TV series, J.A.G. Bell, who most recently starred in the Sci-Fi networks’ original miniseries The Triangle, enjoys sports and was voted the 38th sexiest girl in FHM’s “2002 Sexiest Girls” edition. Bell was born in London, but moved to California with her Iranian mother at the age of two. She is fluent in the Persian language of Farsi. This will be her third appearance.
Kurt Russell began his acting career as a child with the Walt Disney Co, but once he outgrew child roles, he quit acting to pursue his love of baseball. He played second base with the minor league baseball teams of the California Angels and San Diego Padres until he hurt his arm. His injury returned him to acting, and in 1979 he made his mark on the big screen portraying the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Elvis. Since then Russell has gone on to star in such hits as: Silkwood (where he received a Golden Globe nomination); Escape from New York; Overboard; Back Draft; Captain Ron; Tombstone; Executive Decision; 3,000 Miles to Graceland; Vanilla Sky, and Miracle. Russell has lived with actress Goldie Hawn since 1983. This will be his third appearance.
Jones, starting linebacker for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, was voted one of People magazine’s 50 hottest bachelors in 2005 and named New York magazine’s Sexiest New York Athlete. He created his own bow tie line and is an established poet and artist, honored by the Guggenheim in 2004.
Wayne Gretzky, arguably the greatest ice hockey player of all time, and his wife Janet will return for their second appearance in the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs barring that the Phoenix Coyotes, the NHL team that Gretzky coaches, doesn’t make the playoffs. Few careers were more star-studded or classy than that of Gretzky’s. The Hall of Fame center (inducted in 1999) rewrote the NHL record book by setting 61 records, including being the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer with 894. More importantly, Gretzky transcended the sport and brought hockey to new and dizzying heights, including the southern United States, which, prior to Gretzky, rarely even covered the sport in its daily newspapers. His wife, Janet Jones-Gretzky, is an actress who has been in many movies including “A League of Their Own”, “Police Academy 5”, “The Flamingo Kid” and “Staying Alive”. The two were married in 1988 and have five children.
Best known as one half of the no-holds-barred duo of Cheech and Chong, Cheech Marin has starred in films such as Up in Smoke; From Dusk till Dawn, Desperado, The Great White Hype, and as Kevin Costner’s caddie in the golf movie Tin Cup. Most recently, Marin appeared on the television drama Nash Bridges. He was also the voice of Banzai in The Lion King.
One of only four celebrities who have competed in every BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs tournaments (Jennifer Mills, Ben Wright and George Rogers), John O’Hurley will forever be remembered for his sitcom parody of real-life catalog mogul J. Peterman on the hit TV series Seinfeld and for his classy dance moves on the reality television show, “Dancing with the Stars,” where he and partner Charlotte Jorgensen were runner-up. O’Hurley’s wife, Lisa, will also compete as a celebrity.
Black Mountain native, Owen High School basketball standout, former University of North Carolina star and NBA great Brad Daugherty returns for his second appearance. Daugherty was the first overall pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1986 NBA draft. Following an injury that cut his career short, he retired from the NBA as the Cavaliers all-time leader in points scored (10,389), rebounds grabbed (5,227), free throws made (2,741), free throws attempted (3,670) and All-Star appearances (five). He currently is a commentator for ESPN and co-owns a NASCAR Busch Series race team. His No. 43 jersey was retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers organization and hangs in the rafters at Gund Arena.
As the 1980 Heisman trophy winning running back from the University of South Carolina, George Rogers rolled up 21 consecutive 100-yard games, including every game his senior year, when he led the nation in rushing with 1,781 yards and tied for third in TDs with 14. New Orleans Saints coach Bum Phillips, who made Rogers the top NFL ’81 draft choice, noted the running back’s double edge – Rogers could dodge a defender or run over him. Rogers was a member of the 1987 Washington Redskins Super Bowl Championship team. He retired in 1988. Rogers and professional partner Kyle Thompson, also an alumnus of South Carolina, won the 2002 Pro-Celebrity portion of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs. This will be Rogers’ sixth appearance, one of four celebrities that has competed in every tournament.
Designer of the Cliffs Valley course, Ben Wright has been covering the golfing world for 50 years, most notably with CBS Sports. Wright has attended the world’s major golf events since 1954. He announced The Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club for more than 20 years in succession, and also broadcast the Ryder Cup matches in 1989, ’91, ’93, and ’95. His articulate prose and ability to tell a tale are unrivaled, as are his wit and intellect. He is competing in his sixth tournament, one of four celebrities to do so.
Born and raised in Greenville, Jennifer Mills helped launch The Golf Channel as an 11-year anchor of Golf Central, the CableACE award-winning nightly broadcast. A graduate of Wake Forest University, Mills has more than 20 years in broadcast journalism, beginning as a sports photographer at an NBC affiliate in Winston-Salem, N.C., and stints with ESPN and The Travel Channel. A mother of two, Mills now lives in Orlando, Fla. This will be Mills’ sixth appearance.
Texas native Pat Green got his start in country music while attending Texas Tech in the mid-’90s. He started writing songs at age 18 and convinced his parents to loan him some money to record an album. The independently released Dancehall Dreamer appeared in 1998 just as Green was becoming a hot performer on the local bar scene. A year later, Green wowed an audience of 2,000 people at Willie Nelson’s July 4th picnic, and he has never looked back. His latest album, Lucky Ones, debuted in 2004.
Sean “The Beast” Fister is a three-time World Champion long ball hitter. Performing 80 plus exhibitions for Fortune 500 companies, celebrity events, PGA TOUR events, and major charity golf outings every year, Fister was inducted into the Long Drive Association Hall of Fame in 2005.
Spartanburg native Fred Griffith moved to Los Angels in 2002 to pursue his acting career. He had a role in the 2003 Warner Brothers feature “Gods and Generals,” had a guest appearance on “24,” and is currently starring and producing a short film titled “Alex.” This will be Griffith’s first appearance.
Featured golfer Gary Player is one of five golfers in the world that have ever won golf’s Grand Slam (Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are the other four). Nicknamed the Black Knight for his courageous style of play, fierce competitiveness and penchant for black attire on the golf course, Player is the most successful international golfer of all time. Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Player turned pro in 1953. Since then, he has won 163 championships, including nine majors (three Masters; three British Opens; two PGA Championships; and the US Open), and over $11 million in earnings. Player and his wife Vivienne are the parents of six children and 13 grandchildren. Player, who also breeds thoroughbred racehorses, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, was named South African Sportsman of the century, and was the recipient of the 2000 PGA TOUR Ambassador of Golf Award.
The 2006 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament will be played April 27-30, 2006 at The Cliffs Valley, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove and The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards golf courses. All four rounds will be televised live by The Golf Channel.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs is the only tournament on the Nationwide Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide Tour professionals in a three-day better-ball competition. Amateurs, celebrities and pros will rotate between each of the three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the 14 lowest scoring pro-amateur/pro-celebrity teams advancing to play Sunday’s final round. Celebrities will play once at each course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event will take home $112,500 from the total purse of $625,000, which is one of the largest purses on the Nationwide Tour. Amateurs and celebrities will compete for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice out of the beneficiaries selected by South Carolina Charities, Inc.
The first five tournaments have raised more than $3 million for area charities.
General Admission tickets for the 2006 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs can be purchased for $25 through one of the 29 selected charities or by calling (864) 297-1660. Children 14 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Corporate sponsorships and ticket packages that include VIP and Clubhouse tickets can also be purchased by calling (864) 297-1660.
For more information on the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament; sponsorship opportunities, charitable funding or volunteer opportunities, call (864) 297-1660 or visit the tournament’s website at www.bmwcharitygolf.com.