PGA Tour

BMW Tournament returns to the Upstate

The BMW Celebrity Pro-Am format began 20 years ago. Nancy Smith started as a volunteer and now is the head of the Volunteer Committee, Max Metcalf was just starting his new position at BMW Manufacturing and serving on the board of Carolina Charities. The two tournament veterans have helped the event raise almost $14 million for local charities. (GolfClub Photo)

The BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by Synnex will begin tournament play on June 10th at Thornblade and Cliff’s Valley and wrap up with the final round on June 13th at Thornblade.

“We knew we had our date and we were just waiting for the go ahead,” said South Carolinas Charities Secretary Max Metcalf. “Our staff has done a great job coordinating everything so we will be ready for a great tournament,”he added.

The Tour players bring  outstanding golf ability, but it is the celebrities that make the tournament at Thornblade and The Cliff’s Valley the most unique event on the Tour’s schedule.

Kevin Costner headlined several of the early celebrity pro-am fields and helped establish the tournament as the most unique event on what is now the Korn-Ferry Tour. (GolfClub Photo)

When the tournament began in 2001 Kevin Costner headlined the event.  Fans came to see the movie star as well as a group of celebrities from sports, and music in addition to Hollywood.

Scoring an autograph or snapping a picture with a celebrity  brought fans to the course each year. 

While this year’s attendance will be slightly limited, the celebrities are expected to be available to the fans for the usual autographs and pictures.

“We know there will be areas for golfers only just like there are at most golf tournaments, but with testing and everything that is being done we should be good,” said Metcalf.

Last year baseball superstar Roger Clemens was scheduled to play and appear at the Breakfast with Champions. He will be in Greenville this year to do both.

Several events affiliated with the tournament are scheduled during the week extending the opportunity to do some celebrity sighting away from the golf course.

The Thursday night Shoot-Out at Greenville 3’s will feature golf and live music.

A Friday night concert at Camperdown Plaza will feature the band Steel Toe Stiletto as well as many of the musical celebrities playing in  the tournament.

Each event requires a separate ticket. A limited number are available for each event  though the tournament office at 864-297-1660.

Baseball super-star Roger Clemens will headline the Breakfast with Champions before beginning play in this years’s Tournament. (Twitter photo)

“When we started this we wanted it to be more than a golf tournament. We want to showcase the hospitality and the quality of life in the area. We did that in 2001 and now in 2021 we still are able to have that same message,” said Metcalf.

Cedric the Entertainer is one of the new celebrities playing in this year’s BMW tournament. (Twitter Photo)

New celebrities for this year’s tournament include comedian Cedric the Entertainer.

Professional Boxer Canelo Alvarez and baseball star Ken Griffey, Jr. join Clemens, David Wells and Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith.

Golf media personalities Lauren Thompson and Brian Katrek will be in the field.

Returning favorites include ‘Blackish’ star Anthony Anderson, comedian Larry the Cable Guy, Reality TV star Shep Rose from Southern Charm, Olympic Gold Medal curler Matt Hamilton and former Gamecock standout Sterling Sharpe.

Players with local connections are a little scarce in this year’s field. Wofford grad Andrew Novak, Bishopville’s Tommy ‘Two-Gloves’ Gainey, Winthrop grad Taylor Dickson and Clemson grad Billy Kennerly are the players with local connections.

Usually a few more golfers with college or home town ties receive ‘sponsor exemptions’ to play in the event.

This year only former Clemson golfer Carson Young from Pendleton received the exemption given to the host Thornblade Club by the tournament.

Young won a mini-qualifying tournament among a group of aspiring professionals who play out of Thornblade to earn his spot in the field.

The number one player on the Korn-Ferry Tour ’25’ money list, Stephan Jaeger leads the field with 2-wins and a 2nd place finish last week at the Rex Hospital Classic in Raleigh.

Tickets and additional tournament information is available at the event’s website.

Thornblade Club Director of Golf Jon Hines presented Carson Young with his exemption to play in the BMW. (GolfClub Photo)

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