Detroit Sports Stars, Celebrities to Join PGA Tour Pros for Pure Michigan Pro-Am

Buick OpenGRAND BLANC – Athletes from three Detroit pro sports teams and a host of top-notch celebrities will tee it up along with some of the PGA Tour’s best on Wednesday, July 29, for the 2009 Pure Michigan Pro-Am.

“The Pro-Am lineup is shaping up to be one of the most prolific that we’ve had in years,” said Buick Open tournament director Robb Grainger.  “This year’s Pure Michigan Pro-Am is worth watching, and we’ve even made a special $20 ticket price for the day and will allow cameras so that more fans can enjoy the action.” 

New Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz will tee it up along with three of his players – Jason Hanson (kicker), Dominic Raiola (center) and Drew Stanton (QB). Red Wings stars Kirk Maltby and Dan Cleary will trade in their sticks for golf clubs at the Pro-Am too.  Recently-named Detroit Pistons head coach John Kuester and Pistons greats Bill Laimbeer and Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson have also signed on to play, along with Flint native and former Michigan State hoops standout Charlie Bell and Birmigham native and current Houston Rockets player Shane Battier. Opinionated sports radio host Bill Simonson of “The Huge Show” will also participate.

Schwartz may be new to the Detroit scene, but is no stranger to the NFL. He has spent 16 seasons in the NFL, the past eight as defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans. Providing some seasoning to his offense is kicker Jason Hanson. A 17-year veteran, Hanson is the Lions’ all-time scoring leader, as well as the all-time leader in field goals and extra points for the team. 

The 2008 Offensive Team Captain, Raiola has six seasons under his belt in Detroit, and is noted for playing in every game for the Lions since being drafted. Hailing from Michigan State, Stanton had his first career pass result in a touchdown – only the third QB in the NFL in the past 10 years to do so.

Entering his 16th NHL season, his 14th with Detroit, Maltby has won four Stanley Cup Championships (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008). He was also a member of Team Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and helped Canada win the gold at the 2003 World Championships and silver at the 2005 World Championships. Cleary, who is in his 12th season in the NHL and fifth as a Red Wing, was a 1997 first round draft choice (13th overall) by Chicago. On March 11, 2008, he was signed to a five-year deal with Detroit, and collected his first Stanley Cup victory in 2008.

Shane Battier will participate in the Pure Michigan Pro-Am

Kuester has spent more than 13 years in the NBA as an assistant coach with six different franchises. During his tenure as an assistant coach, he has helped guide two teams to the NBA Finals (Philadelphia-2001; Detroit-2004) and played a major role in helping Cleveland reach the Eastern Conference Finals this past season.

Laimbeer, who was an integral part of the Pistons teams that won two championships, was a four-star All-Star. Most recently the former NBA player was the coach of the Detroit Shock (2002-09) in the WNBA. Johnson, a key player in the Pistons’ 1989 and 1990 championships, had his No. 15 jersey retired in Detroit and now hangs proudly at The Palace.

Bell, who played in three NCAA Championships for Michigan State, is currently a guard on the Milwaukee Bucks’ roster.  Battier began his career at the Detroit County Day School where he collected numerous accolades on his path to playing at Duke.  Under Coach K, Battier would make two Final Four appearances, including a 2001 NCAA title, and sweep the major National Player of the Year awards. A versatile forward-guard for the Houston Rockets, he also helped the U.S. Team capture the bronze at the 2006 FIBA World Championships.

For fans looking to watch the Pure Michigan Pro-Am, a special $20 ticket has been set (normally $30), but is only available at the tournament gates. These special-priced tickets are not available through Ticketmaster. Unlike on tournament days, fans can bring their cameras out and take pictures of the celebrities and golfers alike.

A few spots remain for an opportunity to play with the pros in the 2009 Pure Michigan Pro-Am as well. A group of four amateurs will play alongside a pro/sports athlete with individual spots costing $5,000, and a foursome running $20,000. Each playing spot includes a Buick Open gift pack, two Buick Clubhouse Hospitality tickets per day (Wednesday-Sunday) with food and beverage included, six Clubhouse badges, 20 Any-Day tickets, one valet parking pass good for parking in the Warwick Hills lot every day of the tournament, and two invitations to the Pro-Am Pairings Party. The Pairing Party is held Monday, July 27, at Warwick Hills and allows each team to select the professional they want to play with.

For more Buick Open ticket information, visit www.ticketmaster.com, or call (800) 878-OPEN (-6736). For general tournament information, please log onto www.buickopen.com. To reserve a spot to play in the 2009 Pure Michigan Pro-Am, or for details about any sponsorship opportunities that remain, please contact Jason Mengel, (313) 596-9027 or jason.mengel@gmrworks.com.  

 

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