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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of August 20 - 26, 2003


The Thompson tees it up, battling leukemia

27th annual golf tournament for cancer research starts Thursday

It’s late August and the evenings are growing shorter, which means it’s time in Sun Valley for the small miracle story called the Danny Thompson Memorial golf tournament.

Year by year, dollar by dollar, the Thompson has chipped away at the ravages to personal health and family life caused by leukemia. The gathering is named for Thompson, a Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers infielder who died of leukemia in 1976 at 29.

The 27th annual Thompson Memorial, played exclusively at Sun Valley since its founding in 1977, returns Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 20-23 on the Sun Valley and Elkhorn championship golf courses.

Last year’s Thompson take for cancer research was $600,000 including a record-setting $225,000 at the tournament’s live and silent auction.

And tournament director Georgie Fenton is optimistic that the 2003 Thompson tournament will reach or exceed $600,000 in net proceeds.

In 26 years, the Thompson has raised $6.1 million for cancer research, split between University of Minnesota Leukemia Research Foundation ($3.33 million) and St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute of Boise ($2.98 million).

This year Fenton is expecting about 250 golfers for the four-day meet. A highlight will be the 10th annual Thompson Memorial live and silent auction with auctioneer Marjoe Gortner Friday, Aug. 22 at River Run Lodge.

Among this year’s items are a trip to Paris, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a fly fishing trip to Ireland, a 700 ATV, a Mediterranean cruise, NASTAR tickets, art work, jewelry and an autographed pin flag from the 2002 Ryder Cup.

Generous donors will be giving up substantial sums of money because they want to indirectly help people like Dayshia Maire Elsworth of Boise, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) just two weeks shy of her fourth birthday.

Dayshia is this year’s Thompson "Survivor’s Story." Her battle with the disease at Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise, and her treatment to the point where Dayshia is now in full remission, will touch all those attending Friday’s auction dinner.

All the big fund-raising numbers and loyal support represent quite an accomplishment for a late-August celebrity clambake started in 1977 by Idaho legislator Ralph Harding and baseball slugger Harmon Killebrew.

The celebrity list is dotted with athletes, legislators and entertainers.

It starts with two of the Thompson Memorial’s most loyal supporters over the years—two men who happen to be two of Utah’s most distinguished athletes and coaches. They are Arnie Ferrin and Ladell Andersen.

Ogden’s Arnie Ferrin, former University of Utah athletic director, was a four-time basketball All-American for the Utes from 1944-48.

As a freshman, Ferrin (13.2 ppg) won the Most Outstanding Player award in Utah’s 42-40 (OT) victory over Dartmouth in the 1944 NCAA championship game before 15,000 fans at Madison Square Garden. Ferrin scored 22 of Utah’s 42 points. He played three seasons for the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers from 1949-51, helping the Lakers to two NBA titles. Ferrin went back to school and earned his college degree from Utah in 1966.

Andersen, 75, was men’s basketball coach at Utah State University and Brigham Young University.

The 2003 Thompson Memorial sports celebrity list includes:

·  From baseball: Brooks Robinson and Paul Hartzell.

·  From football: Ed Marinaro, Jerry Kramer and Joe Washington. From basketball: Jack Marin. From hockey: Rod Gilbert.

·  From ESPN: John Barrett (fly fishing), Jimmy Dykes (basketball commentator) and Chris Berman ("The Berminator"). From the entertainment world: Actor/comedians Arte Johnson and Leslie Nielsen.


Celebrity, pol details

Among this year’s celebrities:

Rod Gilbert, 62, from Montreal, is the compact, 5-9, 175-pound right-hand shot who played his entire 18-year career with the New York Rangers from 1960-77. The eight-time NHL All-Star was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1982.

Although he never won a Stanley Cup, Gilbert was a Big Apple favorite while scoring 406 goals and 1,021 points in 1,065 Ranger games, topped by 43 goals and 97 points in 1972.

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

One-handicapper Marin was a 6-6 forward who graduated from Duke in 1966 and was a 15.0 ppg pro scorer. Marin, who also played for Buffalo and Chicago, was traded by Baltimore to Houston for Elvin Hayes in 1972. He was a two-time NBA All-Star in a career that lasted from 1966-77.

Brooks Robinson of Little Rock, the "Human Vacuum Cleaner," is familiar to any baseball fan with a healthy respect for diamond defense. The all-time greatest third baseman was named to the Hall of Fame in 1983 after a matchless 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles.

Robinson, 66, is a 6-1, 190-pounder whose numerous major league fielding records include a .971 fielding average, best ever for a third sacker. He batted .267 with 2,848 hits in 2,896 games from 1955-77, all with the Baltimore Orioles, which was a major league record.

The 18-time All-Star won the Golden Glove each year from 1960-75 and was baseball's Most Valuable Player in 1964 with career-best .317 with 28 homers and 118 RBI. He starred on the four-time AL pennant-winning Oriole teams that also won World Series championships in 1966 and 1970, losing only one game.

Paul Hartzell, a big league pitcher, is also returning to the Thompson.

Hartzell, 50, a 6-5, 200-pound right-hander from Pennsylvania, started his big league career with the California Angels in 1976 and played on four different teams through 1984. Now a corporate executive, Hartzell is an important member of the Thompson Memorial board of directors.


Besides the athletes, there is a long list of politicians on board:

They include Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.); Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (R-Ky.); Rep. Martin Sabo (D-Minn.); Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio); Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.); Rep. Butch Otter (R-Id.); Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Id.) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Id.).

Others are Rep. Joe Baca (D-Ca.); Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.); Rep. Chris John (D-La.); Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.); Rep. Charles Stenholm (D-Tx.); Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.); Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.); and Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.).

U.S. Bank remains the tournament's "Platinum" sponsor and is joined this year at that level by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Corbett Industries. The only sponsor at the "Gold" level is Ullico.

"Silver" sponsors are Anheuser-Busch, Regence Blue Shield of Idaho, Simplot, Conoco Phillps and Washington Group International. The "Premier" sponsors are Ceridian, Delta Airlines, Merrill Corp. and Visa.

Spectators are invited to watch and, when appropriate, ask for autographs. Check the pairing sheets at the Sun Valley and Elkhorn golf pro shops to get an idea of where your favorite golfer is playing.

Tournament format is four-man two-best ball over two days.

Here is the tournament schedule.

  • Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 20-21: Registration from 8-6 on the Sun Valley Lodge Terrace. Practice rounds all day on the Elkhorn and Sun Valley golf courses.

  • Thursday, Aug. 21: Welcome western barbecue at 6:30 p.m. on the Trail Creek Cabin grounds. Tournament pairings distributed there.

  • Friday, Aug. 22: First 18-hole round of the Thompson Memorial, an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start at Sun Valley and Elkhorn. Cocktails and auction dinner 6 p.m. at River Run Lodge.

  • Saturday, Aug. 23: Final 18-hole round of the Thompson Memorial, an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Awards reception at 5:30 p.m. in a tent on Hole 9A of the Sun Valley Golf Course.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.