|Peter Jacobsen and Johnny Miller at champions dinner in Pebble Beach. (Courtesy of Lexus)|
Editor’s note: I was just at Pebble Beach for the 2012 Lexus Champions for Charity as a guest of Lexus. This is another installment in an ongoing series.
THE GRAND BALLROOM OF THE INN AT SPANISH BAY was packed on Saturday night with hundreds of happy golfers who had just completed the 2012 Lexus Champions for Charity. During three near-perfect December days on the Monterey Peninsula, these men and women had played three famous tracks: The Links at Spanish Bay, Sypglass Hill Golf Course and world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Their spouses, in many cases, were there, too, soaking up the resort and golf experience, basking in the December sunshine and sightseeing behind the wheel of a shiny new Lexus, courtesy of their hosts.
Preceded by a boisterous cocktail reception, the champions dinner and award ceremony in the Grand Ballroom (and the adjoining St. Andrews Ballroom for the overflow folks) were the closing events of a 24-year tradition of the luxury car company. The Lexus Champions for Charity has helped raise about $250 million for worthy causes throughout the United States. This year was no different.
For nearly everyone in those banquet halls on Saturday night, this was the trip of a lifetime, a golf quest most people can only dream of. Yet, in the end, charities were the centerpiece of those surreal three-plus days, the real winners—organizations such as the East Oakland Youth Development Center, the Saint Vincent Foundation, the Special Kids Network and the Salvation Army, to name a few.
Peter Jacobsen and Johnny Miller
Peter Jacobsen, a Lexus-sponsored pro, was there, serving as master of ceremonies and cracking everyone up, as usual. So was Johnny Miller, who also represents Lexus, offering comments about the generous slice of golf heaven that is Pebble Beach and vicinity and opining on the state of the professional game.
I was also extremely fortunate to be there at the front “reserved” table, with my wife on my right and Johnny seated directly to my left. Peter sat next to Johnny. It was one more in several pinch-yourself moments I’d had since arriving on Wednesday night.
We feasted on filet mignon, California sea bass, salad, wild mushrooms, winter squash and hazelnut chocolate cake. We enjoyed fine wine, including an Arnold Palmer Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley to mention one fitting example. We watched an entertaining slide show of the event and then Peter stepped to the podium to hand out the awards, but not before auctioning two special trips, the Lexus America’s Cup VIP Experience and a VIP package for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.
With an assist from Johnny, Peter worked the auction like a seasoned pro, laughs erupted around the cavernous rooms and The First Tee benefited to the tune of $25,000.
Following are the event winners, all playing for their designated charities.
2012 National Championship Results
1st Place Net: Greg Hafif and Robert Bolding
(Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation)
2nd Place Net: Steve Rojas and Steve Lehor
3rd Place Net: Jackson Griffin and Brian Williams
(Carolina ALS – Pinstripes Fund)
4th Place Net: Blake Collingsworth and Timothy McEwen
(Huskers Athletic Foundation)
5th Place Net: Tim Wilbanks and Rick Layne
(Alabama Sherriff’s Youth Ranches)
6th Place Net: Steve Riggs and Peter Marvin
(Saint Vincent Foundation)
7th Place Net: Lance Gidel and Scott Pritchettt
(East Oakland Youth Development Center)
8th Place Net: Keith Powers Terry Milam
(The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson)
9th Place Net: Jeremy Roenick and Trent Walford
(Special Kids Network, Inc.)
10th Place Net: Jason Sills and Jennifer Sills
(Jewish Home of San Francisco)
1st Place Gross: Jeffery Anderson and Troy Anderson
(Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona)
2nd Place Gross: Rob Tedoldi Jr. and Omnia Fowler
(Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia)
3rd Place Gross: Kevin Sweeney and John Amendola
(St. Agnes Men’s Club)
4th Place Gross: Adam Buckley and Jim Caplinger
(Montgomery Inn Foundation)
5th Place Gross: Lee Gerdes and Ken Gerdes
(New Canaan YMCA)