Annika Sörenstam, the greatest female golfer of her generation, and often regarded as the best player in LPGA history, will be conducting a pre-tournament clinic for the entire field of registered golfers and 25 participating sports celebrities, Monday, July 15, at the 5th annual Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic at the Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing in Truckee, Calif.
This year’s tournament roster includes Hall of Famers Marcus Allen, Mike Haynes, and former Raiders head coach Tom Flores. NFL players Tim Brown, Raymond Chester, Herm Edwards, Steve Bono, plus decorated American downhill and Super G skier Daron Rahlves are also among the field of 25 celebrities. All registered tournament golfers will get a lesson from Sörenstam.
The modified shamble format for the event includes one sports celebrity and four golfers in each team. Practice rounds begin Sunday, July 14, followed by a private VIP pairings party at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. Tournament play begins Monday, July 15, after Sörenstam’s clinic with a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start and awards party.
Proceeds from the celebrity tournament benefit the Gene Upshaw Memorial Fund held at Tahoe Forest Health System Foundation. The fund benefits the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center, and the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research. Since the inaugural golf tournament in 2009, the event has raised nearly $500,000 for pancreatic cancer research, quality medical treatment and care for cancer patients and their families, sustainability and advancement of medical technology, and funding for research in areas such as traumatic brain injury. Support care programs at the Cancer Center are considered among the best in the country along with the latest in technology and treatment options, including access to clinical trials through its affiliation with the UC Davis Cancer Care Network.
Upshaw died in August 2008 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 63. He was a founding member of the Golf Club at Gray's Crossing.
Registration, sponsorship opportunities and volunteer inquiries and a list of participating celebrities can be viewed at http://www.gu63.org/. Sponsors receive golfer spots in the tournament, lodging at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, VIP tickets to the private pairings party, gift bags, and recognition on all program materials and releases. The presenting and eagle sponsors will have their corporate names engraved in the Circle of Life located in the main lobby of the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. Sponsors of this year’s event include the National Football League Foundation; The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe; Tahoe Mountain Club; CPSI (Computer Programs and Systems, Inc.); Professional Athletes Foundation; NFL Players Association; Aon Hewitt; NEPC; Vail Resorts Echo, and Northstar California.
Gene Upshaw served as executive director of the National Football League Players Association from June 1983 to August 2008, after a successful 16-year career as a player with the Oakland Raiders. During that time, Upshaw worked diligently to enhance, protect and defend the individual rights of professional football players throughout the National Football League. Upshaw also served as chairman of National Football League Players Incorporated.
A perennial All-Pro offensive guard for the Oakland Raiders, Upshaw was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, his first year of eligibility. He played in 217 league games and appeared in six Pro Bowls.