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American Legends: Olde Farm event out to raise as much as $40 million

Joe Avento • Updated Apr 25, 2018 at 8:26 PM

BRISTOL, Va. — Eight years after setting a record by running a golf tournament that raised more than $15 million, Jim McGlothlin is thinking even bigger this time around. Much, much bigger.

The Olde Farm will be the site of The American Legends for Mountain Mission Kids on Sept. 10, an event with an ambitious goal of raising between $35 million and $40 million. They’re off to a good start, announcing that more than $17 million has already been raised.

“I didn’t even think about it back then, but I was sure when we started this we would break the record because it’s such a good cause,” McGlothlin, founder of the Olde Farm, said Wednesday during a news conference announcing the event. “We have a great membership here.”

The lineup will include celebrities from the golf world — Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Betsy King, Tim Finchem, Lanny Wadkins and Lorena Ochoa — former NFL stars Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, and NBA legend Jerry West.

Eight of the 10 celebrities, all but Ochoa and King, are members of the Olde Farm, an exclusive golf club with a national membership. McGlothlin said, perhaps only half-kiddingly, that King and Ochoa might be members by the time the festivities are over.

All proceeds from the tournament will go to Mountain Mission School, a non-profit school in Grundy, Virginia, that provides stability, shelter and a high-quality education for at-risk children from throughout the United States and the rest of the world. McGlothlin has been on the school’s board of directors for 30 years.

Finchem, the retired commissioner of the PGA Tour, made an appearance at Wednesday’s news conference. He said the event is being sanctioned by the tour.

“The numbers that Jim is throwing out there as targets are incredible,” Finchem said. “But the reason we’re so excited about it is that No. 1, it’s going to help a great cause. No. 2, it’s a message to the country that these kind of things can happen.”

When the Big Three, featuring Arnold Palmer, Nicklaus and Player, was held in 2010 at the Olde Farm, the event raised more than $15 million, making it the top producing fund-raising event ever sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

“At the time, we didn’t know the impact it would have,” Finchem said. “When it was announced this was the single largest fund-raiser in the history of the PGA Tour, it had a very positive effect. One of the things about the PGA Tour is that on the one hand, it’s all about professional golf at the highest level, but at the same time, helping people. And we can help people most when folks in communities around the country understand and appreciate the potential that golf as a platform has to allow those projects to go forward with the kind of money that can be raised. That was the example that was set eight years ago.”

Participating in the event won’t be cheap. To be one of the 40 players to tee it up with the legends will cost $100,000. As on Wednesday, there were only nine players’ spots available. The participants will be put on teams and assigned a celebrity in a blind draw held the night before the tournament.

To come watch will cost $1,000, and McGlothlin says he’s hoping to get as many as 3,000 patrons in the gallery. Food City has recently signed on as the title sponsor of the event, which will be featured in a CBS telecast.

“We’re very excited to partner with and welcome this amazing group of athletes,” McGlothlin said. “Their support of Mountain Mission School, along with the sponsors and patrons who have committed to promoting this event, will bear a positive and tremendous impact on the school and the thousands of lives it exists to serve.”

For more information on the event and ways to participate, visit www.theamericanlegends.com. Tournament information can also be found on Facebook at theamericanlegends, on Twitter at @TheAmLegendsMMS and on Instagram at TheAmericanLegends.

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