Great news for the golf world. Since the game is more suited for pandemic precautions, Lake Tahoe’s top tournaments can come to town. There are definitely differences from years past, but the community and charities will benefit tremendously as the show gratefully goes on.
First up is the 31st annual American Century Championship, which imports 80 Hollywood stars and sports figures to play the Fazio family-designed Edgewood Tahoe from July 8-12. Two-time defending champion Tony Romo of Dallas Cowboys fame; Jack Wagner, the lucky guy who’s never missed the championship, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers are among the usual suspects, while newcomers include The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison and retired MLB third baseman Adrián Beltré. They’ll stay safe by riding separately, taking temperatures and substituting traditional play with no-touch practices.
“We’re excited to bring a live, competitive sporting event to TV viewers, something that has been deeply missed over the past few months,” said American Century Investments chief executive officer Jonathan Thomas, of this year’s no-spectator set-up. (You’ll have to catch it at home courtesy of NBC Sports.)
Another major change is that all prize monies will be donated to COVID-19 relief and the Black Lives Matter movement in addition to its longstanding support—over $5 million—of local non-profits.
Roma summed it up best: “It’ll be fun to try to win again but the sense of community and charity fundraising will be most important.”
Not much later, the 22nd annual Barracuda Championship, one of only 46 full-field stops on the PGA Tour, returns to the region from July 27-August 2. Last year Collin Morikawa won his first PGA Tour championship at Montrêux Golf & Country Club in Reno. The 2020 event relocates to Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood Golf Course in Truckee. Its 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus design debuted in 2004 within 600 acres of forest and meadows situated nearly 6,000 feet above sea level. The move from its 21-year home throws extra challenges into the mix. Though both venues factor in high elevations and soaring pines, playing a course for the first time always presents some adversity.
“While we visited several incredible local courses, Old Greenwood’s design and beauty made it the ideal location as the new home for the Barracuda Championship,” said tournament director Chris Hoff.
He also noted that the course’s propensity to lengthen the distance of golf shots by 10 to 15 percent perfectly syncs with the tournament’s Modified Stableford format, where players score based on the number of strokes per hole.
For example, a double eagle totals 8 points, a birdie is 2, and par is 0.
Whether fans will be able to watch this risk-inviting strategy in person and attend the event’s over-the-top barbecue known as the Great Clubhouse Cookout is still up in the air.
“While we’re excited to be part of the return to golf, the safety and well-being of every person on the course is our utmost priority,” said Hoff.
Regardless, the things that matter come out ahead. Since the tournament’s inception, it’s donated $4.4 million and supported over 100 charities.