Like all large gatherings, Lake Tahoe’s major golf tournaments are hopeful that spectators will be able to return and watch their favorite players in action this summer. Tickets to the 32nd annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament went on sale in May. Limited to advanced, online purchases with pre-registration forms for health precautions, gate sales are on hiatus for the time being. Safety measures further cut capacity to half the usual 60,000 spectators. Golf fans are ecstatic, nonetheless.
“It will be so good to have the fans back—they make the tournament. And with this year’s lineup of stars, they’ll have plenty to see and cheer about,” said Carol Chaplin, president and CEO for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
She’s correct in that the mix of stars from the worlds of Hollywood and sports is shaping up to be a good one. Eighty celebrities will compete for the 54-hole tournament’s $600,000 purse at Edgewood Tahoe Resort from July 7-11. Justin Timberlake, Charles Barkley, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and two-time tournament champion Tony Romo are among returning fan favorites. Former New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill and Justin Lee Tuck, who has two Super Bowl wins as a New York Giants defensive end under his belt, are making their debuts. Mardy Fish, a retired professional tennis player who’s captain of the U.S. Davis Cup, defends his tournament champion title. Other talents to watch are PGA Tour Champions exemption competitor John Smoltz and Mark Mulder, a three-time tournament winner and two-time All-Star pitcher.
Designed by George Fazio, Edgewood Tahoe’s highly-rated course presents multiple challenges including an altitude of 6,200 feet. The tournament’s modified Stableford point format adds to the competition.
It’s always fun to see where winners donate their prize money. Last year benefited covid relief funds within the tournament’s longstanding charitable contributions reaching well over $5 million.
It’s too early to call whether the Barracuda Championship will allow spectators to watch its 23rd annual event from August 2-8. Formerly known as the Reno-Tahoe Open, the region’s sole PGA Tour event also moved settings last year. It returns to Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood Golf Course in Truckee. Jack Nicklaus designed the par-72, 18-hole layout to blend in with the natural landscape. It opened in 2004.
Worth 300 points in the FedExCup series, the tournament stands out on the PGA Tour for its modified Stableford scoring system. Players will compete for a $3.5 million purse. Recent champions are Richy Werenski, Collin Morikawa, and Andrew Putnam.