LPGA All-Time Great Will Join 80 Sports and Entertainment Stars July 15-20
at Silver Anniversary Celebration of Golf’s Top Celebrity Tournament at Tahoe
Morning Drive Co-Hosts Gary Williams and Holly Sonders Also Confirm
American Century Championship Participation
VIDEO: Sorenstam Announces American Century Championship Participation
American Century Championship to Air on NBCSN and NBC, July 18-20
The American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe will dramatically alter its competitive landscape in 2014 with the addition of LPGA legend and Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam to the field.
The legendary women’s golf superstar, owner of 89 international tournament wins and over $22 million in prize money, is among the most successful players in the history of the sport. Now a part-time resident of Lake Tahoe and the mother of two children, Sorenstam will tee it up on even terms with the accomplished pro athlete golfers in the nationally televised, 54-hole, $600,000 competition at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, July 18-20.
Sorenstam, 43, is 11 years removed from her memorable international foray onto the men’s PGA TOUR at the 2003 Colonial Open in Fort Worth, Texas. Under the media spotlight, she went toe to toe with the best players in the world, missing the cut by three strokes and earning global fame and respect for taking on an unprecedented challenge. Sorenstam announced her retirement in 2008 and her last tournament start came in that season’s year-end ADT Championship.
Tournament scoring is based on a modified Stableford format with 10 points for a double eagle, 8 for a hole-in-one, 6 for eagle, 3 for birdie, 1 for par, 0 for bogey, and minus 2 for double-bogey or higher.
“Once you get inside the ropes, I am competitive and I’m sure that’s not going to go away,” offered Sorenstam about competing against the men once again. “I like the (Stableford) format. I’m playing
from the same tees (as the men). Nowadays, I don’t play stroke play, necessarily. So this will be a little different and I’m looking forward to it.”
The American Century Championship is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2014 with a special salute to America’s Armed Forces. As part of that initiative, Col. Chad Pfeifer, three-time winner of the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Warrior Open and the 2011 National Amputee Tournament champion, will also join the field. Other celebrities include John Elway, Ray Allen, Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, Jerry Rice, Jason Kidd, Steve Young, Alex Smith, Jason Witten, John Fox, Carson Palmer and Charles Barkley among some 80 stars of sports and entertainment.
Elway and Curry are expected to be on the leaderboard with eight-time winner Rick Rhoden, the former Major League Baseball pitcher who started 33 PGA Champions Tour events after turning 50 in 2003. Other annual contenders are Trent Dilfer, quarterback of the 2001 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, former NHL star Jeremy Roenick and former NFL quarterbacks Mark Rypien and Billy Joe Tolliver.
In her only foray at Edgewood Tahoe in 2004, Sorenstam joined Michael Jordan and Donald Trump on the back nine during a practice round. She shot a 3-under 33 from the blue (men’s) tees on a course she had never played.
Sorenstam started her golf career in 1995 and became the 13th player to capture the U.S. Women’s Open as her first American victory. She spent 15 years on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, winning with remarkable consistency and pocketing 10 major championships. With her record six Vare Trophies, eight Rolex Player of the Year awards and recent honor as the First Lady of Golf by the PGA of America; Sorenstam is regarded as the greatest female golfer of our generation, and, arguably, the best of all-time.
“I have played the course before. The location (Lake Tahoe) is amazing. It’s kind of a narrow golf course and I don’t think the distance is going to be (a big factor),” continued Sorenstam, who is expected to be among the favorites to win in the legal Nevada sports books. “My biggest thing nowadays is probably my accuracy on the smaller greens. I’m going to try to stay focused on golf and not the beautiful view.”
Since retiring from the LPGA Tour, Sorenstam has taken time to be with family and embark on a new business adventure. She created the ANNIKA brand, which includes a line of high-end female golf apparel and established the ANNIKA Academy, a state-of-the-art teaching facility outside of Orlando, Fla. With inspiration from her two children, Ava, 4, and William, 3, Sorenstam founded the ANNIKA Foundation, which teaches children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition and offers aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams.
Other events in which she has competed since 2008 include the 2011 ADT Skills Challenge and the 2013 Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge.
The American Century Championship has raised over $4 million for scores of charities over the years including the UNCF, Autism Speaks, Mark Cuban’s Fallen Patriot Fund, FDNY’s Uniformed
Firefighter Scholarship Fund and LIVESTRONG. In the wake of the devastating 2007 Lake Tahoe region fires, players in the tournament came together to raise $485,000 for relief and rebuilding initiatives.
NBC, NBCSN and Golf Channel will televise the tournament as follows:
|Friday, July 18||4-7 p.m. ET (1-4 p.m. PT) Live, NBCSN|
|Saturday, July 19||11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. ET (8:30-11:30 a.m. PT) Replay, Golf Channel|
|Saturday, July 19||3-6 p.m. ET (Noon-3 p.m. PT) Live, NBC|
|Sunday, July 20||10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET (7:30-10:30 a.m. PT) Replay, Golf Channel|
|Sunday, July 20||3-6 p.m. ET (Noon-3 p.m. PT) Live, NBC|
|Monday, July 21||1-4 p.m. ET (10 a.m.-1 p.m. PT) Replay, Golf Channel|
Tournament title sponsor American Century Investments is a leading privately-held investment management firm, committed to delivering superior investment performance and building long-term client relationships since its founding in 1958. Serving investment professionals, institutions, corporations and individual investors, American Century Investments offers a variety of actively managed investment disciplines through an array of products including mutual funds, institutional separate accounts, commingled trusts and sub-advisory accounts.
In honor of American Century Investments Founder James Stowers Jr., an investment management innovator and philanthropist who recently passed away at the age of 90, the official national beneficiary of the 2014 tournament is the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. The Institute is a 550-person, basic biomedical research organization focused on improving our understanding of fundamental biological processes and using this knowledge to guide the development of innovative approaches to treat, diagnose and prevent disease. The Stowers Institute for Medical Research was established in 1994 through the extraordinary generosity of cancer survivors Mr. Stowers and his wife, Virginia, who dedicated their personal fortune to improving human health through basic research. Each year, more than 40 percent of American Century Investments' profits are distributed to the Institute. Total dividend payments since 2000 now exceed $1 billion.