Thirty-six big names from sports and entertainment are scheduled to play in the inaugural Westgate Resorts Celebrity Classic on April 23-26 at Las Vegas Country Club.
The event is being produced by the same people who have operated the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood in Lake Tahoe and the Diamond Resorts International LPGA Tour Tournament of Champions in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The Las Vegas tournament festivities are scheduled to begin with a celebrity golf draft on the same night that the National Football League draft begins in Las Vegas. Several former and current NFL stars are expected to play in the tournament along with hall of famers from other sports and other male and female athletes and entertainers. The event is the vision of Richard A. Siegel, Westgate executive vice president and son of founder, David Siegel.
The Las Vegas tournament executive director is Bryan Ingrande, who served as the Diamond Resorts tournament executive director from 2015-2019.
“We will set a strong platform in year one and add to the already robust Westgate Las Vegas entertainment tradition and continue to build the tournament over the years,” said Ingrande, the former Diamond Resorts tournament executive director who will run the Las Vegas event. “Las Vegas is synonymous with sports and entertainment, and the Las Vegas Country Club is the perfect venue, located 75 yards from the Westgate Resort.
“We have taken bits and pieces from the best celebrity and professional tournaments and will combine that with Vegas-style, headline entertainment and hospitality, and a high-quality, competitive golf tournament.”
Ingrande said that in year one there will be no public spectator tickets available and the new Westgate event won’t be televised, but expectations are for that to evolve in future years.
Current celebrities invited include former Las Vegas Raiders Marcus Allen, Jerry Rice and Charles Woodson, legendary quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, baseball hall of famer and Las Vegas resident Greg Maddux, plus current NFL players Aaron Rodgers, Larry Fitzgerald and AJ Hawk. A strong National Hockey League presence also is expected because of the success of the Vegas Golden Knights. Official “save-the-date” cards went out to potential players on Jan. 20.
The American Century field features 90 big-name celebrities and has a waiting list of more than 300, while the Diamond Resorts event has a waiting list of more than 100 celebrities. Expectations are that a who’s who of stars will play in the Las Vegas Westgate tournament.
Celebrities who have played in the Tahoe and/or the Diamond Resorts event include Charles Barkley, Roger Clemens, Allen, Maddux, Blair O’ Neal, Michael Waltrip, Larry the Cable Guy, Vince Carter, Justin Timberlake and Tony Romo, the Tahoe defending champion.
The Tahoe tournament is widely regarded as the top celebrity golf tournament in the world and is televised by NBC. Michael Milthorpe oversees the American Century and the Diamond Resort events and is the Las Vegas tournament director.
The celebrity purse is $200,000 — the champion receives $50,000 — and a celebrity-amateur tournament is set for Friday before the celebrities and 12 qualifying amateurs play the weekend. The Las Vegas Country Club was the site of the inaugural Panasonic Pro-Celebrity Classic in 1983 — now the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open — and was also the home of the LPGA Tour’s Takefuji Classic in addition to several high-profile celebrity tournaments.
Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at email@example.com or @LVGolfInsider.