SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

ESPN grabs first day of celebrity golf tourney

The American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, a tournament co-owned by NBC Sports and SFX, has a new opening-round TV carrier.

Tournament officials say ESPN will replace The Golf Channel as first-round broadcaster, providing same-day taped coverage of the 12th annual event from 7 to 9 p.m. July 6.

NBC will broadcast the final two rounds, airing the competition live from 4 to 6 p.m. ET July 7 and from 3 to 6 p.m. ET July 8.

The field for the tournament, which has a total purse of $500,000, is expected to be announced this week.

Among those who have previously competed in the event are John Elway, Jerry Rice, Mario Lemieux, Mike Schmidt and Johnny Bench. Al Del Greco is the defending champion. The tournament, taking place at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe, Nev., typically attracts high-profile athletes and former athletes who are not professional golfers, as well as celebrities from the television, music and movie industries.

In addition to title sponsor American Century Cos., which has titled the event since 1999, the tournament's sponsorship roster includes Beck's beer, Unisys, EMC, American Airlines, Taylor Made Golf and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. Sponsorship packages include category exclusivity on the NBC broadcasts.

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