A record 36 celebrities have committed to compete in next month's BMW Charity Pro-Am, held at three courses in the Upstate.
First-timers announced Wednesday include former Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, Southern Charm star Shep Rose, actor Ron Perlman, former baseball stars Ozzie Smith and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, former NFL star Patrick Peterson and Olympic curlers John Shuster and Matt Hamilton.
Returnees include Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former NFL receiver Sterling Sharpe, actors Anthony Anderson, Oliver Hudson, Rob Riggle and C. Thomas Howell, comedians Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall, and former baseball standouts Jim Rice and Josh Beckett.
The tournament will be held May 17-20, with The Cliffs Valley course rejoining the three-venue rotation that includes main host (and destination for the final round) Thornblade Club in Greer and Furman University Golf Club. The Cliffs layout in Travelers Rest was part of the event when all three courses were part of The Cliffs Communities over the initial years of the current format and title from 2001-07.
"We are very happy about the roster of talent we have traveling from across the United States to join us this year," tournament president Bob Nitto said in a release. "From comedians and actors to reality stars and professional athletes, I think every spectator is going to find someone on the list they will be excited to follow and even possibly meet."
A new side event will be the inaugural Celebrity All-Star Softball Game at 7:30 p.m. May 17 at Fluor Field.
The tournament is a favorite on the Web.com Tour, which serves as a feeder organization for the PGA Tour, and winner of the 2015 "Best Player Experience," the first year of the award's existence. The BMW is the lone event on this tour pairing amateurs and celebrities with the pros all four rounds, which are broadcast by Golf Channel.
The Web.com is a mixture of rising young talents just beginning their professional careers, older participants still trying to give pro golf a go, and former PGA players attempting to work their way back to the main, more lucrative tour.
Last year's winner in the rain-shortened three-round event was Stephan Jaeger, who played at Tennessee-Chattanooga and is the only three-time winner of the Southern Conference Player of the Year award. Jaeger earned the winning share of $126,000 from the $700,000 purse and is currently playing on the PGA Tour. The top three finishers behind him -- Tyler Duncan, Xinjun Zhang, and Andrew Yun are also now PGA Tour regulars.
Among the players expected to compete are 2013 BMW Charity Pro-Am champion Mark Anderson, a former USC All-American who has finished top-15 in three of his last five starts and ranks 24th in earnings with $49,119. Former Clemson standout Billy Kennerly, who has three top-25s in seven starts and is 50th on the money list with $24,365, should also be in the field.
The tournament will focus on four featured charities this year with Mobile Meals of Spartanburg, the Children's Hospital of Greenville Health System, the Cliffs Residents Outreach and Upstate South Carolina STEM Collaborative. Other charities will benefit as well.
This article is written by Eric Boynton from Spartanburg Herald-Journal and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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