LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- The American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe will add a bona fide hero to its array of celebrity golfers this July as part of the tournament’s 25th anniversary.
Retired United States Army Corporal Chad Pfeifer will join the field in competition for $600,000 in prize money this July. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the American Century Championship will honor America’s Armed Forces and recognize the service of Pfeifer at the July tournament and on its live NBC Sports broadcasts.
Pfeifer is an Iraqi War Veteran and amputee whose golf-centered rehabilitation has turned him into a top-tier tournament player. Three-time winner of the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Warrior Open and the 2011 National Amputee Tournament champion, Pfeifer is a working PGA Club Professional at the Golf Club of Estrella in Goodyear, AZ.
While serving in Iraq in 2007, Pfeifer’s life changed when a bomb exploded under the patrol vehicle he was driving and he lost his left leg above the knee. Now 32, he used golf to help overcome the adversity and found a talent that had roots in his three-sport high school athlete days. He attended the Golf Academy of America to learn the business end of the sport and now brings his competitive skills to the 80-player field at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, where John Elway, Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, Jerry Rice, Ray Romano and Andy Pettitte hold forth each year.
“The American Century Championship invitation was a stunner,” offered Pfeifer, whose hole-in-one during the 2012 Warrior Open was witnessed by former President George W. Bush. “Golf has taken me to great places and I’ve met President Bush and many others, but Lake Tahoe in July is a special one. I’m looking forward to competing with some athletes who know the meaning of the word at its highest level.”
The tournament has a history of promoting and fundraising for military and first responder causes. In 2002, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, three New York City firemen who had worked tirelessly at Ground Zero were added to the celebrity field and the tournament raised over $150,000 for the Uniformed Firefighters Scholarship Fund to aid the children of those lost in that tragedy. In 2003 and 2004 Mark Cuban’s Fallen Patriot Fund was the tournament’s charity beneficiary and $1.5 million was raised to aid military veterans with extraordinary needs upon returning home from fighting for America’s freedom.
“Corporal Pfeifer’s participation will be a highlight of our 25th anniversary celebration,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports Group, which owns and operates the tournament. “He’s sure to be a gallery favorite in Lake Tahoe and fans around the country will be rooting for Chad to be a leaderboard contender all three days.”
NBC Sports, NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel will be televising the tournament.