No Stranger To The Big Boys, Annika Sorenstam To Take On Celebs At 25th American Century Championship

May 27, 2014, 14:39 ET from American Century Championship

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif., May 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe will dramatically alter its competitive landscape in 2014 with the addition of LPGA great Annika Sorenstam.

The legendary women's golf superstar, owner of 89 international tournaments and over $22 million in prize money, is among the most successful players in the history of the sport. Now a part-time resident of Lake Tahoe and the mother of two children, Sorenstam will tee it up on even terms with pro athlete golfers in the nationally televised, 54-hole, $600,000 competition at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

On Monday, Sorenstam joined Morning Drive co-host Damon Hack at Golf Channel Studios to announce her participation in the American Century Championship. Morning Drive co-hosts Gary Williams and Holly Sonders also will be participating in the tournament- Williams returning for a second consecutive year and Sonders making her debut.

VIDEO: Sorenstam Announces American Century Championship Participation on Morning Drive

The Tournament will be televised by NBC, NBCSN and Golf Channel.

Sorenstam, 43, is 11 years removed from her memorable international foray onto the men's PGA TOUR at the 2003 Colonial Open in Fort Worth, Texas. Under the media spotlight, she went toe to toe with the best players in the world, missing the cut by three strokes and earning global respect for taking on the unprecedented challenge. 

"Once inside the ropes, I'm sure my competitive drive will kick in," offered Sorenstam, who retired in 2008. "I'm looking forward to the format as I don't play much stroke play, nowadays." 

Celebrities in the field include John Elway, Ray Allen, Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, Jerry Rice, Jason Kidd, Steve Young, Alex Smith, Jason Witten, John Fox, Carson Palmer and Charles Barkley among some 80 stars of sports and entertainment.  Elway and Curry are expected to be on the leaderboard with eight-time winner Rick Rhoden, the former Big League pitcher who started 33 PGA Champions Tour events after turning 50 in 2003.  Other annual contenders for the $125,000 first prize are Trent Dilfer, the 2001 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens QB, former NHL star Jeremy Roenick and former NFL quarterbacks Mark Rypien and Billy Joe Tolliver.  Still, Sorenstam is expected to be the favorite in Nevada's legal sports book betting parlors.

Sorenstam started her golf career in 1995 and spent 15 years on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, winning with remarkable consistency and pocketing 10 major championships.

The American Century Championship has raised over $4 million for scores of charities including UNCF, Autism Speaks, Mark Cuban's Fallen Patriot Fund, FDNY's Uniformed Firefighter Scholarship Fund and LIVESTRONG. In the wake of a 2007  Tahoe region fire, tournament players raised $485,000 for relief and rebuilding initiatives.

Tournament title sponsor American Century Investments is a leading privately-held investment management firm, committed to delivering superior investment performance and building long-term client relationships since its founding in 1958. Serving investment professionals, institutions, corporations and individual investors, American Century Investments offers a variety of actively managed investment disciplines through an array of products including mutual funds, institutional separate accounts, commingled trusts and sub-advisory accounts. 

In honor of American Century Investments Founder James Stowers Jr., an investment management innovator and philanthropist who recently passed away at the age of 90, the official national beneficiary of the 2014 tournament is the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. The Institute is a 550-person, basic biomedical research organization focused on improving our understanding of fundamental biological processes and using this knowledge to guide the development of innovative approaches to treat, diagnose and prevent disease. The Stowers Institute for Medical Research was established in 1994 through the extraordinary generosity of cancer survivors Mr. Stowers and his wife, Virginia, who dedicated their personal fortune to improving human health through basic research.  Each year, more than 40 percent of American Century Investments' profits are distributed to the Institute. Total dividend payments since 2000 now exceed $1 billion

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SOURCE American Century Championship