Professional golfers, football and basketball players, as well as Olympic athletes have signed up to participate in the 2012 Art of the Olympians College of Life Foundation Premiere Olympian Golf Classic. To be played Dec. 2 to 4 at The Colony Golf & Country Club in Bonita Springs, Fla., the tournament pairs celebrity-athletes with amateurs in a fundraiser for Art of the Olympians Foundation Inc., the Fort Myers-based museum and gallery.
Scheduled to participate in the inaugural tournament that recognizes the return of golf to the games at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro include:
-Cornelius Bennett, football: Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts; 5-time Pro Bowl; 2-time All-Pro
-Lee Elder, golf: 14 professional wins; first African-American to play the Masters
-Mike Eruzione, hockey: USA Olympic hockey; 1 gold medal; scored winning goal during Miracle on Ice game versus Russia
-Julius "Dr. J" Erving, basketball: 11-time NBA All-Star; 4 MVP titles; 3 championships
-Rowdy Gaines, swimming: USA Olympic swimming; 3 gold medals; NBC TV swimming commentator
-Artis Gilmore, basketball: 6-time NBA All-Star; 5-time ABA All-Star
-Carl Lewis, track and field: USA Olympic track and field; 9 gold and 1 silver medal
-Rodney Hampton, football: New York Giants; 2-time Pro Bowl; XXV Super Bowl champion
-Tim Hardaway, basketball: USA Olympic basketball; 5-time NBA All-Star; 1997 All NBA team
-Jackie Joyner-Kersee, track and field; USA Olympic track and field; 3 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals
-Mark McCumber, golf: 10-time PGA Tour winner
-Shannon Miller, gymnastics: USA Olympic gymnastics; 2 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals
-Nat Moore, football: Miami Dolphins; 1977 All Pro and Pro Bowl teams
-Chris Mullin, basketball: NBA 1985-2001; Dream Team 1992; 5-time NBA All-Star
-Bobby Nichols, golf: 11-time PGA Tour winner
"This inaugural golf event is certain to be the hit of Southwest Florida's fairways this season," said Bob Beamon, CEO of AOTO. "We are grateful to the celebrity-athletes who have committed their time for three days of great golf, camaraderie and living the Olympic ideals."
Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the nonprofit Art of the Olympians Foundation in promoting the highest ideals of humanity with their creative talents through the sport/art relationship by providing programs of art, education, sport and cultural outreach to inspire the world.
The exclusive event is slated to include 29 foursomes, plus pros. Player golf packages begin at $5,000 per foursome and include eight tickets to the Golf Classic dinner and auction, practice round, golf for four with a celebrity-athlete plus tournament food and beverage.
The title sponsor of the inaugural tournament is College of Life Foundation Inc.
The presenting sponsor is WCI Communities. Other sponsors currently committed to the tournament are The Colony Golf & Country Club and The News-Press Media Group. Additional sponsorship packages are available.
The Art of the Olympians Museum and Gallery at the Al Oerter Center for Excellence is a nonprofit organization home to unique exhibitions of Olympian art, Olympic memorabilia and educational activities. The museum and gallery opened in 2010 and has since secured the rights to display the USA Olympic rings, an act protected by Congress.
For additional information, call 239-332-5055 or visit www.artoftheolympians.org. Art of the Olympians is located at 1300 Hendry Street, on the waterfront in downtown Fort Myers.