Playing Well, Doing Good: The Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament at Shadow Creek, Las Vegas
"I'm truly excited about bringing my tournament to Las Vegas. Shadow Creek is one of my favorite courses and ARIA is a spectacular resort. I love seeing old friends, playing golf and having fun, but the most gratifying aspect of hosting the event is what we've been able to give back." said Michael Jordan in a recent interview.
Significant wealth and great philanthropy are often interconnected, as philanthropic giving among the uber-wealthy is a common occurrence. Bill Gates, Steve Case, Warren Buffett and others have donated billions to help others and have started their own foundations to do it. Certainly, to whom much is given, much is required, is an oft-quoted line from the New Testament in the Bible. This sense of a returning a cosmic favor also lives among significant celebrities, with Michael Jordan as a prime example.
For the past ten years, he has sponsored and been part of the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament, allowing celebrities to play against each other, and allowing non-celebrity golfers to play with celebrities. This tournament has become very well known, and this year, Jordan, celebrities and others are coming to the extremely private, one of a kind Shadow Creek course in North Las Vegas, Nevada. it is one of the most private, elegant courses in the United States, and for the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, it will open its course to the public for the first time.
Consistently ranked among Golf Week magazine's Top 10 courses, Shadow Creek's environment is normally reserved solely for guests of MGM Resorts International. Located in the Nevada desert, the Tom Fazio-designed Shadow Creek makes golfers feel they are far from any desert at all, with its verdant terrain, clear brooks and ponds, spectacular waterfalls, lush gardens and mature vegetation. In general, the course has been open only to MGM Resorts International property guests, with a $500 green fee The course rarely sees more than two dozen rounds in a day.
The course features lakes, waterfalls, rolling hillsides, more than 200 varieties of trees, flowing rock bed streams, rocky outcroppings, and exotic birds. Through its design, it was intended to be an experience rather than just a game, one that worked in movements that would begin subtly and crescendo to a peak, and then repeat. No hole is to be visible from another. All four par-3s are unique; one is hit over a valley full of trees, another is in a bowl-shaped valley entered and exited through a tunnel.
It is in this milieu that sports and entertainment stars Drew Brees, Wayne Gretzky, Ken Griffey, Jr., Marcus Allen, Mario Lemieux, Mia Hamm, Boris Becker, John Smoltz, Spike Lee, Don Cheadle, Brian Baumgartner and Shannon Elizabeth, Larry David, Gabriel Aubry, Jerome Bettis, Sam Bradford, Stuart Scott, Brandi Chastain, Richard Dent, Paul O'Neill, Mike Piazza, Anthony Anderson, Maury Povich, Dennis Haysbert, Alan Thicke, Adrian Young, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, Grant Show and Boris Kodjoe join the growing list of celebrities scheduled to attend and play.
The tournament is being hosted by the Las Vegas's ARIA Resort & Casino, March 31-April 3. The Celebrity-Amateur tournament, which pairs one celebrity with four amateur participants, will take place Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1. The MJCI two-person, 36-hole scramble format, including only competing celebrities, will take place Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3. Proceeds from the charitable tournament will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Nevada Cancer Institute, James R. Jordan Foundation and Cats Care, the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats' charity arm.
Since its inception in 2001, MJCI has raised more than $5 million for charity.