July is a great month to view celebrity golf at Lake Tahoe. It’s when the peak vacation season kicks in, although with the huge snow pack, rivers and creeks are still running cold and fast.
The celebrity events start this weekend with the 9th annual Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic at Schaffer’s Mill Golf Club in Truckee. The event honors the memory of Upshaw, a Hall of Famer as an Oakland Raider guard and raises money for cancer programs and traumatic brain injury research.
The practice rounds and pairing party are Sunday with the tournament teeing off at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Among the prominent former players are NFL Hall of Famers Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk and Mike Haynes along with Cy Young winner Vida Blue and Ron Rivera from Cal and the Carolina Panthers.
There will be 25 celebrities with former NFL players, Herm Edwards, Willie Gault and Cornelius Bennett, plus former San Francisco Giants first baseman J.T. Snow, and Alex Carter, cornerback for the Detroit Lions and former Stanford standout among them.
The tournament has raised nearly $1.3 million in its eight years. Upshaw, who wore 63 playing left guard for the Raiders, died at 63 of pancreatic cancer, just three days after his was diagnosed. He led the NFL Players Association from 1983 until his premature death in 2008. He was the first player to participate in the Super Bowl in three different decades.
For information, please see http://www.gu63.org/.
The following week, the action shifts south to Edgewood at Tahoe for the American Century Celebrity Championship. It features the famed 17th hole, a par 3 along the Lake Tahoe beach.
It has drawn a great field of celebrities including Steph Curry from the Warriors and his dad, Dell. Quarterbacks Aaron Rogers (Green Bay) and Jared Goff (Los Angeles) also will tee it up with a variety of current players and retired hockey, baseball and football stars plus actors. It’s always a great party at Lake Tahoe South, although this will be the first year in memory that the tournament will not be played the same week as The Open (it takes place a week later this year).
For Steph, it will be an opportunity to tune up his competitive game before the Ellie Mae Classic at the TPC Stonebrae Country Club in Hayward, July 31-Aug. 6. Curry received a sponsor’s exemption to play alongside the upcoming pros who routinely have torn up the David McLay Kidd layout in the Hayward hills. In 2011 and 2012, famed 49er wide receiver Jerry Rice received exemptions and tried his luck against the pro’s. He learned just how tough the tour is and admitted a year later that the pros were playing the game at a different level.
Last year’s winner, Stephan Jaeger, opened his tournament with a record-setting 58 on July 28. That was the first-ever 58 recorded on an official PGA Tour round, but was equaled just nine days later when Jim Furyk achieved the same score on the PGA Tour at the Traveler’s at TPC River Highlands on Aug. 7.
Jaeger ripped up the par 70, 7,100-yard TPC Stonebrae with three rounds in the mid-60s to finish 30 under par at 250. Yes, 30 UNDER.
By Tim Hunt