Friday, August 15, 2008

Golfers will take aim to fight leukemia

At next week’s Danny Thompson tournament

The Danny Thompson Memorial golf tournament will be shooting to go over the $10 million mark in money raised for leukemia and cancer research when it returns to Sun Valley for the 32nd year next week.

Played exclusively at Sun Valley since originating in 1977, the Thompson golf tournament attracts 200 participants from politics, business and sports. It will be held Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 21-23 on the Sun Valley and Elkhorn golf courses.

In 31 years, the Thompson Memorial has raised $9,417,500 for cancer research, split between University of Minnesota Leukemia Research Foundation ($4.794 million) and Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) of Boise ($4.623 million).

Last year's proceeds were $730,000, the second highest ever. 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. Co-founder of the tournament is Idaho's Harmon Killebrew, a Hall of Fame slugger who was Thompson's teammate.

Killebrew, Brooks Robinson and Bobby Grich are among sports celebrity participants in the 2008 Thompson tourney. Other well-known figures due are Chris Berman, Arte Johnson, Jerry Kramer, Ed Marinaro, Kevin Sorbo, Joe Washington, Muzzie Braun, Eddie Robinson and Don Felder.

A highlight will be the 15th annual Thompson Memorial live and silent auction Friday, Aug. 22 in the Limelight Room of Sun Valley Inn.

On the live or silent auction lists are a trip to the 2009 Masters golf tournament, a visit to Ed Marinaro's Boca Grande Celebrity fishing tournament next April 29 in Florida, a trip to Cape Town, airline tickets, jewelry, a "Smart Car," a 2008 Limited Edition Harley Davidson motorcycle, a villa in Tuscany and sports memorabilia.

The celebrity list includes:

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

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

From ESPN: Chris Berman. From entertainment: Musicians Muzzie Braun and ex-Eagles guitarist Don Felder, and Arte Johnson.

Thompson politicians are Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (R-Ky.); Gov. Butch Otter (R-Id.); Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Id.); Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.); and retiring Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.).

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