South Lake Tahoe, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe will add a bona fide hero to its array of celebrity golfers this July with the addition to the field of Retired U.S. Army Corporal Chad Pfeifer, who lost his left leg to an IED in Iraq.
Pfeifer, 32, used his golf-centered rehabilitation to become a top-tier tournament player over the past several years and will now join the star- studded field in competition for $600,000 in prize money this July. A three- sport high school athlete,he attended the Golf Academy of America to learn the business end of the sport. He will tee it up July 18-20 against some 80 celebrities including John Elway, Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, Jerry Rice, Ray Romano, Jason Kidd, Charles Barkley and Andy Pettitte compete each year. The tournament will be televised on NBC Sports, NBC Sports Network and The Golf Channel.
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 (suburban Phoenix), 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.
"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 American Century Championship 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 2003-4 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."
Pfeifer will have to adapt to the tournament's modified Stableford format and the welcoming par 5s at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, where some of the pro- athlete long-hitters at elevation putt for eagles during every round. Among his other golf accomplishments is the Folds of Honor Foundation's 2013 Patriot Cup Championship in partnership with PGA Tour standout Zach Johnson. Pfeifer also played four years of college baseball, finishing his career at Division I Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, ID.
Tournament title sponsor American Century Investments, is a leading, privately-controlled investment management firm serving professionals, institutions, corporations and individuals. Through its ownership structure, more than 40 percent of company profits support the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, an innovative biomedical research organization committed to finding cures for cancer and other gene-based diseases. Since 2000, more than $1 billion in dividends have been distributed to the Stowers Institute.