By. John K. Abendroth, PGA
In my few years on the PGA tour I had many great experiences like playing with Lee Trevion and Tom Watson the same round in New Orleans, but playing in the list of celebrity events was very special.
I played in the Danny Thomas, Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis and the Jackie Gleason. For two of the big names I missed their main events but played in the Hope of Tomorrow hosted by Bob Hope for those who missed the Monday qualifier and the Southern Crosby in Newport Beach Ca. hosted by Bing Crosby. I should say, they both showed up for these events which was cool.
For the time, these events were well funded, sanctioned by the PGA Tour and were of the few minor league events to choose from.
One of my favorite stories from the celebrity events was from the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic in Ft. Lauderdale. In the pro-am I was paired with an amateur named Don Gordon. I recognized him, but could not figure out why. I apologized and asked for help, he said, "No problem, I'm Gidgets Father on T.V." very funny.
In today's world of professional golf, names on the events are corporations providing sponsorship, but now there are several with name professionals as the host, The Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Memorial with Jack Nicklaus, The Los Angeles Open hosted by Tiger Woods and the Amex hosted by Phil Mickelson.
So the golf aside, I had some amazing experience and memories in my travels many from playing in the celebrity events.