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Tiger Woods, Lon Kruger to host charity golf tournaments in Las Vegas

Tiger Woods and former UNLV basketball coach Lon Kruger will host charity golf events in Las Vegas within the next week.

Woods will host his 19th annual Tiger Jam on Friday and Saturday at Shadow Creek and the MGM Grand. Kruger will be the main host of the 10th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Classic from Sunday through Tuesday, also at the MGM and Shadow Creek but with events at Southern Highlands and Topgolf Las Vegas, too.

There are millions of reasons in the form of dollar signs why Woods and Kruger, now the coach at Oklahoma, continue to host the events in Las Vegas. There might be no better city in the world to hold a charity and celebrity event because sponsors and players love it here. Woods has raised $19 million at Tiger Jam, and Coaches vs. Cancer has raised more than $3.6 million.

“It means a lot to see so many people involved in fighting cancer,” Kruger said. “The event really took off when Scott Sibella and Jim Murren from MGM jumped on board and provided great assistance. Netting a million dollars is huge. Coaches travel from all over the country to help and donate their time. Having it here at MGM and in Las Vegas is a big reason why we are so successful.”

Kruger helping hand, Part 2

When former UNLV women’s golfer Therese O’Hara graduated from UNLV in 2011, Kruger was among several people who sponsored her when she turned professional.

“While we were coaching here, she was a terrific player for the Rebels, and when she started playing professionally, we wanted to help her in any we could,” Kruger said. “Now she is on the LPGA Tour, which is great. You really have to respect her determination, competitiveness and perseverance.”

O’Hara has played in six LPGA Tour events this season, making two cuts and $14,867.

Now on the tee, Miss America

Golf isn’t just a hobby for 2015 Miss America Kira Kazantsev, who will serve as a host and social media correspondent during Tiger Jam. She has played the game since she was 3.

“I love the game because it’s something I grew up doing with my dad as a way to bond,” said Kazantsev, 25. “As Miss America, it became an incredible business and networking tool. I think women who golf are some gutsy women who hold their own on a golf course and can hang with the boys. Every young girl should learn about golf and taught to play.”

Kazantsev, an 18 handicap, also was part of Tiger Jam last year.

“The thing that impacted me most was hearing the success stories of how life changing the Tiger Woods foundation has been for kids seeking their educations,” Kazantsev said. “Providing support, mentorship and scholarship to help educate our youth is one of the most powerful things one can do to support our next generation. Getting some chipping in with Tiger was pretty memorable, too.”

Golf.com named Kazantsev one of the most beautiful women in golf this year.

Deal of the week

A $40, 90-minute all-ages clinic to benefit junior golf will take place May 21 at Las Vegas National.

Stars on, off course

North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams, Oregon coach Dana Altman and Nebraska coach Tim Miles were among those named to the Coaches vs. Cancer all-decade team for their contributions.

The golf notebook appears each Thursday. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider on Twitter.

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