Kraft Nabisco Championship Celebrity Pro-Am takes kinder, gentler approach for 2009
RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. (March 25, 2009) - For the past 37 years, the Kraft Nabisco Championship's Celebrity Pro-Am has showcased some of the biggest talents in Hollywood - ranging from the legendary Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra to more recent Billboard artists like Celine Dion and Michael Bolton.
The 38th annual Kraft Nabisco Championship Celebrity Pro-Am, scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, and Wednesday, April 1, will continue the tournament's tradition of pairing top sports figures and entertainers with the stars of the LPGA. But the event will have a decidedly different feel this year, according to Gabe Codding, business manager for the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Many of the longtime fan favorites will be back, including Kimberlin Brown, Alice Cooper, Franco Harris, Greg Itzin, Cheech Marin, Lisa Myers, Craig T. Nelson, Super Dave Osborne, Jim Plunkett, Scott Record and Ben Roethlisberger. New to the field is Toby Dawson, the 2006 Olympic medalist and freestyle-moguls skier.
But this year, the Celebrity Pro-Am will also feature two of America's youngest - and best - amateur golfers, along with a gifted player who is a disabled veteran. And although they may not be household names in America, their compelling stories are sure to bring a kinder, softer tone to the Celebrity Pro-Am.
Meet six-year-old Kyle LoGrasso. The first-grader from Murrietta, Calif., is the survivor of eye cancer contracted at the age of two. Kyle is already a veteran of one Celebrity Pro-Am, having played with Jay Haas in the FedEx Kinko's Classic celebrity event last year. Kyle plays with one eye and can imitate the golf swings of many of the world's biggest golfers, including Tiger Woods, Lorena Ochoa, Fred Couples and John Daly. The littlest LoGrasso (Kyle has two older sisters) will be playing on Wednesday, April 1, during the Celebrity Pro-Am. The son of Jeff and Regina LoGrasso, Jeff recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and is a gunnery sergeant with the United States Marine Corps.
Hannah Kim of Chula Vista, Calif., also received an invitation to play both days in this year's Celebrity Pro-Am. The 13-year-old attends Bonita Vista Middle School in Chula Vista and is the winner of the 2008 Mutual of Omaha Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship in Celebration, Fla. Kim beat out the boys to win her age group (11-12) at the competition, and is the first female since 2005 to capture the national title in any division. More than 6,500 junior golfers participated in local qualifiers leading up to the nationals. The Callaway Junior Player of the Year last year, Kim plays with an official Southern California Golf Association handicap of 1.7.
Fred Brattain, a retired veteran who plays in knee braces using a non-traditional golf swing, comfortably maintains a 4 handicap. Scheduled to play both days of the Pro-Am, Brittain has undergone 13 knee surgeries. The Corona, Calif., resident is the founder of the Handicapped Golfers Learning Foundation, which is dedicated to teaching the game of golf to people with physical challenges, and a graduate of the Professional Golfer's Career College in Temecula, Calif.
"We are very excited about our Celebrity Pro-Am this year," Codding said. "Not only are we thrilled to showcase many of our most popular celebrities and LPGA players, but we have a fantastic opportunity to share the personal stories of three amazing players. Golf is a humbling sport for even the greatest players in the world, and the incredible skill and positive attitude demonstrated by Kyle, Hannah and Fred are truly inspirational."
The Celebrity Pro-Am will be held on both the Arnold Palmer Course and the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club. Spectators are encouraged to bring their cameras during both days of the Pro-Am. No cameras are allowed once championship play begins on Thursday, April 2.
The 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship Tournament Week runs Monday, March 30, through Sunday, April 5, at Mission Hills Country Club. This year's tournament will once again feature nearly 100 of the elite players in women's professional golf, led by defending champion and number one female player in the world Lorena Ochoa, as well as Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford and Michelle Wie.
For more information on the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship, call 1-888-487-0232.
Topics: ANA Inspiration