NHL Superstar Wayne Gretzky Joins All-Star Cast of Celebrity Participants for the 2005 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs

GREENVILLE, S.C. - 04/20/2005

The Great One is coming to town!

Wayne Gretzky, arguably the greatest ice hockey player of all time, will participate as a celebrity in next week’s BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament. Gretzky will join an all-star line up that includes Kevin Costner and his wife Christine, Catherine Bell, Kurt Russell, former Vice President Dan Quayle, Kevin Sorbo, Cheech Marin, John O’Hurley and his wife Lisa Mesloh, Steve Spurrier, George Rogers, Brian Griese, Steve Bartkowski, Ben Wright, Jennifer Mills, and Steve Nicklaus. Famed international golfer and Grand Slam winner Gary Player will also participate in this year’s tournament.

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.

“He’s the Michael Jordan of hockey,” said Darin MacDonald, tournament director of The BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs. “We are honored to have him join us in helping to raise money for charity.”

Former University of South Carolina head football coach Lou Holtz, former NHL star Don Edwards and NFL quarterback Chris Chandler announced that they will not participate in this year’s BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs golf tournament. They withdrew late last week due to commitments that arose.

“We understand that work takes precedence,” MacDonald said. “We are disappointed because the three of them are such good people and take philanthropic work very seriously. They were very accommodating to anyone who approached them. We wish them well. They have an open invitation to join us next year.”

The 2005 tournament will be played April 28-May 1, 2005 at Cliffs Valley, The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards and The Cliffs at Walnut Cove. 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 PGA Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide PGA 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 at Cliffs Valley. Celebrities will play once at each course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Cliffs Valley will serve as the host course. 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.

Last spring’s events raised a record $763,646 for 31 Upstate and Western North Carolina charities. The first four tournaments have raised more than $2.4 million for area charities.

General Admission tickets for the 2005 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs can be purchased for $25 through one of the 28 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 or sponsorship opportunities call (864) 297-1660 or visit the tournament’s website at www.bmwcharitygolf.com.

Owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Nationwide Tour is in its 16th season in 2005. Nationwide, one of the world’s largest insurance and financial services providers, is in its third year as the umbrella sponsor of the Tour. The 2005 season will consist of 31 events played in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Panama and 22 U.S. states. Purses will top $16 million this year. The Top 20 money winners on the season will automatically earn playing privileges on the 2006 PGA TOUR. The PGA TOUR is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, and its website is www.pgatour.com.

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