Celebrity Participants Announced for 2007 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Golf Tournament
Costner, Bell & Elway Returning; George Lopez, Greg Kinnear, David James Elliott and Joanna Krupa Newest AdditionsKevin Costner, George Lopez, David James Elliott, Greg Kinnear, Joanna Krupa, Catherine Bell, John Elway, Wayne and Janet Gretzky, Jim Rice, Kevin Sorbo, Cheech Marin, Josh Kelley, Javier Colon, Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Edwin McCain, Brett Hull, George Rogers, Tom Dreesen, David Mobley, Ben Wright and Jennifer Mills 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 will play as a pro.
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, Tin Cup and most recently The Guardian. Costner will also star in the upcoming film Mr. Brooks where he plays a serial killer. This will be Costner’s sixth appearance in the tournament.
Newcomer George Lopez is one of the premier comedic talents in the entertainment industry today. He is the co-creator, writer, producer and star of the ABC sitcom The George Lopez Show. Lopez’s latest CD, Team Leader, was nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album and his autobiography, Why You Crying? made the New York Times’ bestsellers top twenty list. Lopez is an avid golfer who was the top scoring celebrity in the 2004 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He and his pro partner finished third.
David James Elliott, who is best known for his role as Commander Harmon “Harm” Rabb on the hit TV show J.A.G., will participate in his first BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament. Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in 1996, Elliott currently plays Assistant District Attorney James Conlon on the television series Close to Home.
Greg Kinnear is an Academy Award-nominated actor who received his breakthrough when he became the first host of Talk Soup in the early 90s. He left Talk Soup for the NBC late-night talk show, Later with Greg Kinnear in1994. It was also in 1994 that Kinnear received his first big screen role, as a talk show host yet again in the comedy Blankman. In 1997, Kinnear starred in the blockbuster comedy drama As Good as It Gets, for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Kinnear next portrayed actor Bob Crane in the biopic Auto Focus about the life and murder of Crane. In 2006, he starred in Little Miss Sunshine and co-starred alongside Mark Wahlberg in the film version of Invincible, based on the true story of a man who tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles football team.
Model/actress Joanna Krupa was born in Warsaw, Poland and moved to Chicago with her family at the age of five. Krupa has graced the covers of various men’s magazines including FHM, Maxim, Inside Sport, Stuff and most notably the July 2005 issue of Playboy, in which she was named the Sexist Swimsuit Model in the World. Maxim named her No. 61 in its 2006 Hot 100 list. She was voted German Maxim’s Model of the Year in 2004-05. Krupa enjoys playing poker.
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 currently plays Sally Pressman in the Lifetime drama Army Wives, also starred in the Sci-Fi networks’ original miniseries The Triangle, where she was nominated for a Saturn Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for Best Supporting Actress. Bell 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 fourth appearance.
For 16 amazing seasons – 234 games that included an 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 second appearance in the tournament.
Wayne Gretzky, arguably the greatest ice hockey player of all time, and his wife Janet will return for their third 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.
Anderson, S.C. native and Major League Baseball superstar Jim Rice played his entire career for the Boston Red Sox from 1974 to 1989. Like Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams before him, Rice was a power-hitting left fielder. In 1978, Rice won the Most Valuable Player award in a campaign where he hit .315 (third in the league) and led the league in home runs (46), RBIs (139), hits (213), triples (15) and slugging percentage (.600). He is one of only two American League players ever to lead his league in both triples and home runs in the same season, and he remains the only player ever to lead his league, and Major-league Baseball in triples, home runs, and RBIs in the same season. Rice led the AL in home runs three times (1977, 1978, 1983), in RBI twice (1978, 1983), in slugging percentage twice (1977, 1978), and in total bases four times (1977-1979, 1983). Rice is currently eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kevin Sorbo quickly rose to international stardom in the title role of the hit series, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” In 1997, Sorbo made his feature film debut, starring in Universal Studio’s “Kull the Conqueror,” a prequel to “Conan the Barbarian.” Sorbo has also appeared on several hit television shows such as “Hope and Faith,” “According to Jim,” “Dharma & Greg,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Cybill,” “The Commish,” and “Murder, She Wrote.” A native of Mound, Minnesota, Sorbo enjoys golfing and snow skiing in his spare time.
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.
Singer/songwriter Josh Kelley, from Augusta, Ga., began his musical career at the age of 11. He later formed a band with his younger brother, Charles and, at 14, the band released a five-song CD that caught the attention of a major record label. Kelley released his first album Changing Faces in 2001 and released For The Ride Home in 2003. Kelley released his third album, Just Say The Word, last June.
R&B singer and heartthrob, Javier Colon, 26, burst onto the scene in 2003 with the release of his self-titled album. His latest release, Left of Center, contains 13 tracks and is a mix of R&B, hip-hop, rock, pop balladry and straight-up soul. It also contains Latin, jazz, acoustic and gospel aspects. This will be Colon’s second appearance.
Darius Rucker and Mark Bryan are two members of the Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling band Hootie & The Blowfish. Rucker is the band’s lead singer and front man and Bryan is the group’s lead guitarist. The band is best known for its 1994 debut album, Cracked Rear View, which won two 1995 Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Pop Duo/Group. The album featured such hits as “Only Wanna Be With You,” “Hold My Hand,” and “Let Her Cry.” The band released its fifth album in August 2005 entitled, Looking for Lucky, which includes the hit track, “One Love,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard charts.
Greenville native and award-winning musician Edwin McCain returns for his fourth appearance. McCain has released seven albums, including his latest Lost in America. Honor Among Thieves, which was his first full-length effort, debuted at No. 1 on Soundscan’s “Top New Artist” albums chart in 1995. Aside from achieving both gold and platinum records, McCain has earned top 40 hits with his songs, “I’ll be,” “I could not ask for more,” and “Solitude,” which also featured Hootie & The Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker.
NHL superstar and future Hall of Famer Brett Hull tallied 741 goals and 1,391 points, to rank third on the all-time scoring list, over his 20-season career. He holds the single season scoring record for right wings with 86 goals, won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1991, and was awarded the Lady Byng trophy for sportsmanship in 1990. Hull also won the Stanley Cup Championship while a member of the Dallas Stars in 1999 and the Detroit Red Wings in 2002.
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’ seventh appearance, one of only three celebrities (Jennifer Mills and Ben Wright) that have competed in every tournament.
Tom Dreesen’s name has appeared on the marquees of Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Reno and Atlantic City with artists such as Frank Sinatra, Smokey Robinson, Liza Minnelli, Natalie Cole and Sammy Davis, Jr. Dreesen, who opened for Sinatra for well over a decade in club and concert appearances throughout the U.S. and Canada has also appeared in many network television shows including the Tonight Show. Dreesen is also a frequent guest on the Late Show with David Letterman and recently hosted in Letterman’s absence. Dreesen has also appeared on T.V. shows such as Columbo, Gabriels Fire, Murder She Wrote and Touched By An Angel.
David Mobley was the world’s No. 1 ranked long-distance driver from 2003-05. He won the 2004 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship with a drive of 377 yards, is also a five-time semi-finalist of the event, and holds more than 20 long-drive titles. His personal best long drive: 503 yards.
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 seventh tournament, one of only three 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. She recently hosted the very successful show PGA TOUR Sunday on the USA Network. 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’ seventh appearance, one of only three celebrities to compete in every tournament.
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 more than $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 2007 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament will be played May 17-20, 2007, 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. Along with a brand new BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle, the professional winner of the overall 72-hole event will take home $117,000 from the total purse of $650,000, 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 six tournaments have raised more than $3.7 million for 80+ area charities.
General Admission tickets for the 2007 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs can be purchased for $25 through one of the 20 selected charities or by calling (864) 297-1660. Tickets can also be purchased in the Upstate at area Arby’s restaurants beginning in March. 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.