Celebrity tournament returns for fourth year

May 08, 1994|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,Ocean City Bureau of The Sun

Ocean City -- "Golf, by and large, is like watching paint dry," says stand-up comic Tom Dreesen. Unless, he quickly adds, you can identify with the person playing.

And Mr. Dreesen says anyone can identify with the players on the Celebrity Golf Association Tour, which comes to Ocean City May 12-15.

"A lot of golfers are 7, 8, 9 handicaps. When they see us, they live vicariously through us," says the comedian, himself a 6-handicap player.

Mr. Dreesen is only one of the 32 celebrities who will tee off during the weekend at Eagle's Landing Country Club. The CGA is now in its fourth year, and has expanded from one tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nev., in 1990 to six cities this year.

It's the first year the tour has come to Ocean City, and local organizers are pleased to be included.

"To associate with this caliber of celebrity adds an incentive both those who are planning on coming to Ocean City and those who are thinking of getting a head start on summer," says Scott M. Warren, the city's special events coordinator.

The event has attracted national sponsors, Mr. Warren says, including NationsBank (the Ocean City tournament's official name is the NationsBank Celebrity Golf Classic), TWA, MCI and Mollison Golf, a national chain of golfing supply stores.

And Mr. Warren is hoping local golf aficionados will turn out to fill the gallery at Eagle's Landing.

"Past tourneys have sold 5,000 tickets in their first year," Mr. Warren says, and he's hoping for at least that many in Ocean City. Daily admission is $10 for adults, and $5 for children under 12, he says, or a three-day pass is available for $20 for adults, $10 for children.

Among the celebrities scheduled to play in Ocean City are Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, former Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt, hockey players Pierre LaRouche and Mike Eruzione and former Orioles pitcher Dave McNally. Players will compete for a $100,000 purse in Ocean City; the total prize money on the tour exceeds $1.4 million.

The tour's commissioner is Jim Karvellas, and the tour is a joint partnership between Karvellas Communications, NBC Sports ventures, SMTI and Sports Minded. Cable's Prime Network will tape parts of the tournament in Ocean City for later broadcast, Mr. Warren says.

Mr. Dreesen will arrive in Ocean City for the tournament after some concert dates with Frank Sinatra. The two performers will appear at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Aug. 29, but Mr. Sinatra won't be in the gallery in Ocean City, the comic says, because of an entertainment commitment in Pennsylvania. Mr. Dreesen also will play in the Orlando, Fla., leg of the tour that precedes the Eagle's Landing stop, and says he is looking forward to the tournament coming to Maryland.

"If you would let me, I'd play 54 holes a day, seven days a week," says the former caddy. He says his regular partners when he's home in California's San Fernando Valley are Frankie Avalon and Joe Pesci.

What will he do in Ocean City besides play golf?

"First I'll find out where the nearest Italian restaurant is -- a ma-and-pa type, not a fancy one," Mr. Dreesen says. Told that Maryland is famous for its seafood, he says, "I'll get shrimp marinara."

CELEBRITY PLAYER LIST

1. BOBBY ANDERSON, former Denver Broncos star running back

2. DICK ANDERSON, former Miami Dolphins All-Pro safety

3. DONNIE ANDERSON, former Green Bay Packers All-Pro running back

4. CHRIS BAHR, former NFL top scoring placekicker

5. STEVE BARTKOWSKI, former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro quarterback

6. JOHNNY BENCH, baseball Hall of Fame catcher

7. EARNEST BYNER, Washington Redskins All-Pro running back

8. CHUCK CECIL, Phoenix Cardinals All-Pro safety

9. AL DEL GRECO, Houston Oilers place-kicker

10. TOM DREESEN, comedian

11. MIKE ERUZIONE, 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team captain

12. ROLLIE FINGERS, baseball Hall of Fame pitcher

13. BOBBY GRICH, former Orioles second baseman

14. PIERRE LAROUCHE, former NHL all-star center

L 15. CHIP LOHMILLER, Washington Redskins All-Pro place-kicker

16. NEIL LOMAX, former Phoenix Cardinal quarterback

17. JACK MARIN, former NBA All-Star forward

18. ED MARINARO, former football star, actor

19. DAN MARINO, Miami Dolphins superstar quarterback

20. GENE MAUCH, former Major League baseball manager

21. DAVE McNALLY, former Baltimore Orioles All-Star pitcher

22. DAN QUINN, NHL center

23. SHANE RAWLEY, former Major League baseball All-Star pitcher

24. RON REED, former major league baseball All-Star pitcher

25. RICK RHODEN, former Major League baseball pitcher

26. "TRUCK" ROBINSON, former NBA All-Star forward

27. MARK RYPIEN, former Washington Redskins quarterback

28. MIKE SCHMIDT, Philadelphia Phillies third baseman

29. BILLY JOE TOLLIVER, Atlanta Falcons quarterback

30. JACK WAGNER, actor/recording star

31. PETER TOM WILLIS, Chicago Bears quarterback

32. To be named

A view of Eagle's Landing

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