PGA Tour

Sports celebrities bring the stars to the BMW Pro-Am

Tournament Director Marshall Bettendorf announces the celebrity players for the BMW tournament.

Cheese heads, tomahawk chops and camouflage apparel will all have a place at this year’s BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by Synnex.

Cheese heads will want to follow Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whenever former Atlanta Braves slugger Chipper Jones sinks a putt the fans can do the tomahawk chop and anybody dressed in camo will probably be following Larry the Cable Guy.

The 2017  celebrity list includes 11 first time players who will be in the field for the tournament beginning on May 18th.

Many fan favorites like Home Improvement’s Richard Karn, John O’Hurley of Seinfeld fame, Alfonso Ribeiro and Gary Valentine will be welcomed back to the Upstate.

 The field of celebrities is easily the best group the tournament has brought to the Upstate in several years.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be one of the celebrities playing in the BMW.

“We tried to up our game inside the ropes in how we treat the celebrities,” said Marshall Bettendorf, the Tournament Director. “The town of Greenville and the Upstate, they love it and if they want to play inside the ropes they can only do it here or at the AT&T at Pebble,” he said.

Last year the event produced $676,252 for local charities. This year 16 charities will benefit from the proceeds of the tournament.

“Organizations that support education, children and resources for the senior community are true pillars of charity in the Upstate, and we feel very good about focusing on supporting those valuable philanthropic efforts,” said Bob Nitto, the President of the BMW Charity Pro-Am.

Atlanta Braves slugger Chipper Jones will be one of the celebrities at the BMW tournament.

Thornblade Club will again be the headquarters for the tournament and the site of the final round on Sunday, May 21st.

The Preserve at Verdae returns for the second year and the Furman Golf Club joins the three course rotation for the first time as each will host tournament rounds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Also among the first time players at the tournament are sportscaster Tim Brando, Olympic Golf Medalist Dan Janssen and Red Sox World Series ace Josh Beckett.

“If the fans go to any of the three golf courses they are going to have the chance to get up close and personnel with national celebrities. It is something we are very excited about,” said Bettendorf.

The guy wearing camo on the golf course will be Larry the Cable Guy who will be in the Upstate for the BMW.

One of the most interesting first time players is Larry the Cable Guy. The comedian is known for his cut off shirts, jeans and work boots, not exactly normal golf course attire.

If he was not a celebrity Larry would have trouble playing any of the three courses in his usual clothes.

“We have already signed off on his attire and it will be much like it was at the AT&T at Pebble Beach another PGA tournament. He is a blast and golf is secondary to him,” said Bettendorf.

Larry the Cable Guy will not only play in the tournament, but he will also open the free Celebrity Concert on Thursday night in downtown Greenville. He will be joined by the Back 9 Band from Spartanburg and a number of celebrities from the world of music.

“Tournament week is going to once again be packed with sport and entertainment, It’s a one-of-a-kind combination for our community, and we are grateful for the enthusiastic support the tournament and related events receive,” said Nitto.

Last year the BMW tournament contributed $676,252 to charity.

The tournament is still in need of volunteers, especially for The Preserve at Verde and at Furman. The deadline to sign up to volunteer has been extended. Information on how to become a volunteer and the volunteer opportunities that are available can be found on the event website at

Tickets can be purchased in advance from the participating charities or at the tournament when play begins.

Interview with Marshall Bettendorf, Tournament Director




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