HARTFORD, Conn., June 5, 2013 – Today the Travelers Championship announced the participants for the 2013 Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am. Actors George Lopez and Don Cheadle; sports icons Doug Flutie and Andre Tippett; popular sports broadcasters Chris Berman and Ahmad Rashad; WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter; celebrity chef Ming Tsai; and Connecticut celebrities Javier Colon, Geno Auriemma, Kevin Ollie, Jen Rizzotti and Scott Burrell, will all play TPC River Highlands on Wednesday, June 19.
“Our celebrity pro-am is one of the most popular events for our fans each year,” said Travelers Championship Tournament Director Nathan Grube. “Having celebrities like George, Don and Ming and the rest of the field will continue the tradition of bringing stars to Cromwell, Connecticut. There’s no doubt that the list of players in the field will make for a fun and entertaining day.”
Multi-talented actor George Lopez has had a successful career in film, television and stand-up comedy. For two seasons, he hosted “Lopez Tonight,” a late-night talk show on TBS, and he has been a popular television actor for years. He starred in “George Lopez” on ABC for six seasons (the show is now in syndication), and will star in a new comedy television show on FX this fall entitled “Saint George.” Lopez gained notoriety from his stand-up career, and in 2012 he debuted his third stand-up special, “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” on HBO. Lopez also has an extensive film career, appearing in 21 movies, including “Bread and Roses,” Valentine’s Day,” “Escape from Planet Earth,” “Rio,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2,” and more. Away from the screen, Lopez is passionate about giving back, and works to create positive, permanent change for underprivileged children and adults through his Lopez Foundation.
Actor and producer Don Cheadle has been a film and television star for nearly three decades. His filmography includes legendary performances in movies that include “Devil in a Blue Dress,” “Boogie Nights,” “Traffic,” “Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen,” and “Iron Man 2 and 3.” Cheadle acted in and produced “Crash,” which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture. In 2004 he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “Hotel Rwanda.” He has also had success in television, as he is currently the star of Showtime’s “House of Lies.” His work on that show earned him the 2012 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy TV Series, while also earning him a nomination for an Emmy in the same category. Cheadle is also a noted philanthropist, doing extensive work in Darfur and Rwanda.
Ming Tsai is the James Beard Award-winning chef/owner of two restaurants – Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon. Also an Emmy Award-winner, Ming hosts PBS-TV’s “Simply Ming,” now in its 10th season. Ming is the author of five cookbooks, including his latest “Simply Ming In Your Kitchen.” In 2012, Ming was invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to represent the U.S. with the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative/American Chef Corps. The Chef Corps is a network of American chefs that participate with official government programs that use food as a foundation for international diplomacy efforts.
Legendary UConn Women’s Basketball coach Geno Auriemma is one of the greatest women’s basketball coaches of all time. His Lady Huskies have won eight national championships – including the 2013 title – and have been to 14 Final Fours. His teams have also had four perfect seasons (1995, 2002, 2009, 2010). He is a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Kevin Ollie just completed his first year as head coach of the UConn Men’s Basketball team, guiding them to 20 victories. Playing under Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun from 1991 to 1995, Ollie racked up 619 assists, good for third on UConn’s all-time list. He enjoyed a 13-year NBA career, before joining the UConn staff in 2010.
Chris Berman is one of the most famous sportscasters in America. He has won several awards for his work, winning the National Sportscaster of the Year six times, as well as winning the Emmy Award 10 times.
“We’ve brought many great celebrities to the Travelers Championship, and George, Don, and Ming have all had incredibly successful careers and are wonderful additions to our annual event,” said Andy Bessette, Travelers executive vice president and chief executive officer. “We can’t wait to have them, and pro-am regulars like Geno, Ahmad and Javier, back in Connecticut to help us raise funds and awareness for the tournament charities like The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.”
Lopez, Cheadle, Auriemma, Ollie and Ming join a field that also includes: Former NFL quarterback and Boston College legend Doug Flutie; NFL Hall of Famer and former New England Patriot Andre Tippett; WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter; Former winner of NBC’s “The Voice,” Javier Colon; former UConn and NBA player Scott Burrell; Golf Channel “Morning Drive” host and sports broadcaster Ahmad Rashad; University of Hartford Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jen Rizzotti; and many more.
Tickets for the 2013 Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am are on sale now at TravelersChampionship.com. This year’s Travelers Championship field already includes top players such as Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Zach Johnson, and reigning champion Marc Leishman. The Travelers Championship will be held June 17 to 23 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.