Clemson's Brad Brownell part of BMW Charity Pro-Am's celebrity lineup for 2013

The Reserve at Lake Keowee will join the rotation for this year's Web.com Tour event

Clemson men's basketball coach Brad Brownell talks about the Tigers' upcoming 2011-12 season before hosting his annual media day golf outing at The Reserve at Lake Keowee in Sunset, S.C. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. Clemson opens their season on Nov. 11 hosting Gardner-Webb at Littlejohn Coliseum. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson men's basketball coach Brad Brownell talks about the Tigers' upcoming 2011-12 season before hosting his annual media day golf outing at The Reserve at Lake Keowee in Sunset, S.C. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. Clemson opens their season on Nov. 11 hosting Gardner-Webb at Littlejohn Coliseum. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Some familiar faces will be back in the field as the BMW Charity Pro-Am makes its 13th annual appearance in the Upstate in mid-May.

The Web.com Tour event features future PGA Tour stars and long-time touring pros seeking another shot on the big tour being paired with celebrities and amateurs.

Every other Web.com Tour event features a 36-hole cut at a single venue, while the BMW Charity Pro-Am not only has the unique multiple courses with amateurs format, it also provides a week’s worth of pro-ams, concerts and parties.

The event raised $634,571 for Upstate charities last year to push its total to more than $9.25 million over its 12-year existence. Due to the nature of changing locales over the years (The Reserve at Lake Keowee is new to the rotation in place of The Carolina Country Club), putting on the tournament is an ever-changing process.

“All the different pieces that come into play, logistically it is something you really have to key in on during a year-round basis and continue to tweak it,” Executive Director Darin MacDonald said Tuesday. “We have lessons learned every year and come up with more than 100 things we want to tweak and change for the next year.

“I’ve never been involved with a PGA Tour event and what it takes to put it on, but during tournament week we have (an official) who runs the (PGA Tour’s) Northern Trust Open that comes in and runs the Chanticleer course during our tournament week. He saw it firsthand for the first time last year and said anyone who can run this event could run a PGA event blindfolded because everything is multiplied by three, so that was a great compliment.”

The inclusion of celebrities (most of whom will take the time to chat and sign autographs during and after their rounds) has long been a favorite aspect. Actor Kurt Russell and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky will return after being absent last season.

“I was really excited we have eight returning celebrities who had been here before, but there was a lapse in time since they’d been back,” MacDonald said. “With 15 coming back from last year it’s probably as deep as we’ve ever had as far as star power.”

While the big names are fun, spectators also can witness at least several players who might not be known now, but will likely make a name in the coming years. Five-time PGA Tour winner Jonathan Byrd won the inaugural event in 2001, while reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson was the 2005 runner-up. He tied that year with Charley Hoffman, who tied for third with Jim Furyk at last week’s PGA stop in Texas.

While new venue The Reserve is more remote (about 30 miles from downtown Greenville), MacDonald points out making the longer trek does have its advantages.

“It’s not too difficult to get to and what’s nice about the remote course in our rotation is that golf course on that day you’re going to get as much up close and personal attention from the celebrities and pros as you’re going to get anywhere. Thornblade being right here in the heart of town is busy with a lot of spectators, but out there you’re going to get to know Wayne Gretzky by the end of the day if you decide to follow his group because there just won’t be as much gallery out there.”

As far as the additional headaches of having to bring a new course aboard, MacDonald said it’s always an ongoing process even at courses that have been used for a while as part of the tournament.

“The second year and beyond is certainly easier than any first-year golf course. With the first year you visualize what you want it to be from the person who pays $10 to come out to the person who spends thousands to play in the tournament as an amateur. You have to look at all those ingredients.”

CELEBRITY LIST

A total of 24 celebrities comprise this season’s commitments for the Web.com Tour’s 13th annual BMW Charity Pro-Am held May 16-19 at Thornblade Club, Chanticleer and The Reserve at Lake Keowee. Actor Craig T. Nelson is the lone first-timer in joining eight returning after being absent at least one year and 15 who participated in last season’s event.

Those competing after at least a one-year absence are actor Kurt Russell, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, comedian George Lopez, actor Michael Pena, musician Edwin McCain, singer Javier Colon, Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell and actress Janet Jones-Gretzky.

Celebs returning for at least a second consecutive season include actors Anthony Anderson, Andy Buckley, Jeffrey Donovan, Oliver Hudson, Danny Masterson, Terry O’Quinn, Paula Trickey, Gary Valentine, Patrick Warburton and Wyatt Russell and musicians Steve Azar, Mark Bryan, Jay DeMarcus, Dean Felber and Joe Don Rooney.

© 2013 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features