Friday, August 17, 2007

Celebs coming for Thompson golf tournament

Four days of fun while fighting leukemia

Express Staff Writer

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew follows through at last year?s Danny Thompson Memorial golf tournament in Sun Valley. Killebrew, an Idaho native and a founder of the tournament, is one of many celebrities lined up to play this year. Photo by Willy Cook

Familiar celebrities are lined up for the 31st Danny Thompson Memorial golf tournament returning to Sun Valley and Elkhorn Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 22-25.

Sports celebrities include:

From baseball: Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Harmon Killebrew, Bobby Grich and Paul Hartzell.

From football: Ed Marinaro, Idaho's Jerry Kramer and Joe Washington.

From basketball: Jack Marin and Arnie Ferrin. Duke basketball All-American Marin, one of the founding fathers of the Celebrity Players Golf Tour, is one of the best golfers in the Thompson field.

From ESPN: Well-known sportscaster Chris Berman.

Joining "Hill Street Blues" actor Marinaro from entertainment: Kevin Sorbo, James Sikking and Arte Johnson.

Another celebrity and leukemia survivor is Mississippi's Gregg Giuffria, a founder of the 1970s rock band Angel who has been a successful businessman in the gaming industry.

Politicians on board in 2007 include Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (R-Ky.); Rep. Joe Baca (D-Ca.); Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.); Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.); Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.); Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Id.); and Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.), who is the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee.

Tournament director Georgie Fenton expects a full field of 240 golfers including celebrities and politicians during the four-day event on the two Sun Valley golf courses. A lucrative highlight will be the 14th annual Thompson Memorial auction Aug. 24 in the Limelight Room of Sun Valley Inn.

Items on the auction list include trips to The Masters, Ryder Cup, Tuscany, Hawaii and the Kentucky Derby along with impressive jewelry and more. Auctioneer is Larry Flynn.

Last year's Thompson take for cancer research was $760,000, highest ever.

In 30 years, the Thompson has raised in excess of $8.6 million, split between University of Minnesota Leukemia Research Foundation and Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) of Boise. Since MSTI opened its doors in 1969 it has become Idaho's largest provider of cancer care services.

The tournament is named for Danny Thompson, a Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers infielder who died of leukemia in 1976 at 29. It was started here as a summer celebrity clambake in 1977 by Idaho legislator Ralph Harding and baseball slugger Harmon Killebrew, a Twins teammate of Thompson.

Youth baseball clinic

Former big leaguers Hartzell, Robinson and Grich are due to meet with local kids next Wednesday for the second annual Legends for Youth baseball clinic in Hailey.

Up to 100 Wood River Valley boys and girls, ages 6-17, will meet with the pros Wednesday, Aug. 22, from 4-6 p.m. at Founders Field in Hailey. Check-in begins at 3:15 p.m. Registration is limited to the first 100 boys and girls. And it's free.

Bring your glove, cleats and the willingness to have a good time on the ball field with former major league ballplayers. For more details contact Buffy Brunker at 720-1998.

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