LAKE TAHOE, Nev. – Sure, the guys and gals on the 7th hole at Edgewood Tahoe during the Celebrity-Am Tournament have a great time every year, but it’s not all about the drinking games and heckling of golfers.
This year three new stories came off of the hole, one of the most popular spots on the day before the American Century Championship gets underway.
Many compare Thursdays on the 7th hole to Friday-Sunday on the beachside 17th hole. For 14 years a group of friends from the Sacramento area has hung out on the 7th hole the day of the Celebrity-Am. For many of those years, South Tahoe Now has covered what Justin Timberlake called “the best hole ever!” The camaraderie between the celebrities and the friends is epic, and each year they come up with a new angle to enjoy.
This year the group (from now on known as “the friends”) started a Celebrity Chug Challenge and developed a trophy for the winner in honor of Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback. They got the idea from an NBA playoff between the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks where Rodgers and teammate David Bakhtiari were involved in an impromptu beer-drinking competition. Rodgers lost.
Corona, a recent sponsor of the hole, supplied the beer and everyone playing the hole, both amateurs and celebrities (and caddies), were invited to see how fast they could chug a beer. Those participating were asked to donate to Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a cancer research charity started by tournament sponsor American Century’s founder, Jim and Virginis Stowers.
Donators were also given a mulligan on the hole if they didn’t like their tee shot.
A total of $5,048 was raised in the beer challenge and Corona will match it dollar for dollar. The winner of the challenge was Golden Tate who took care of his beer in 2.21 seconds.
The photo shot of the day came when former NHL player Jeremy Roenick asked one of “the friends” Mike Bellotti to hold his tee with his fingers for a $500 donation to cancer research. That went off without a hitch so Roenick asked Bellotti to hold the tee in his teeth. After several attempts to keep the golf ball on the tee, Roenick hit a perfect shot (and no teeth were lost).
A special moment occurred while Aaron Rodgers was at the 7th. A few years ago a fan watching the tournament fell asleep in his seat. Rodgers spotted him and went over to tease him and sat down beside him as he napped. Each year after that Rodgers sought out that man, Lloyd Riggs of Modesto, California, and they made a joke out of the previous napping episode. It meant a lot to Riggs as he battled cancer over the next five years. The tournament was always a moment of happiness for him and his extended family.
This year, the family of Riggs went up to Rodgers as he prepared to tee off on the 7th hole with a t-shirt and an empty chair and asked for a group photo and an autograph on the shirt. Rodgers looked along the fairway and didn’t see Lloyd. Sadly, he found out the 66-year-old lost his battle with cancer and died on April 12, 2019. The annual joke with Rodgers and the antics on the 7th were even brought up during Riggs’ funeral. His family members wanted to make sure everyone knew how much he had enjoyed and appreciated “the friends” and Rodgers.