Las Vegas, Nevada (September 17, 2012)–In 2011, Michael Jordan moved his A-list celebrity golf tournament–the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational–to prestigious Las Vegas golf course Shadow Creek. It was the first time Shadow Creek had ever opened to a public event. Now comes word that the event is officially gearing up for 2012 with March 29-April 1 being announced as the dates. Last year, celebrities such as Roger Clemens, Brandi Chastain, Greg Maddux, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and many more joined Jordan at the benefit event. —By Brian Hurlburt
"They came to us," said Jordan last year about how MGM management helped sway him to move the tournament from the Bahamas to Las Vegas . "My contract was up in the Bahamas, and they came to me about doing it here in Vegas. And we looked at the opportunity of the golf course we love—I love Shadow Creek, always have, always felt like it was one of my top golf courses that I’ve ever played. We felt like bringing it here also would give us more of a centrally located area where we can get a lot more people—celebrities and athletes to come and play here. We changed the time frame from January to March, figuring that we can get some great weather, as you see (we did). And things worked out perfectly. And they came to me and proposed it, and I thought it would be a great idea. I had a great nine years with the Bahamas and it was a great beginning for us, but I think bringing it here allows us to take a different direction, and take another step forward and by far, if I had to compare the two golf courses, this is the best golf course. It’s one of my favorites, and I think they’ve done a heck of a job with this golf course."
Jordan and his former Bulls teammate, Toni Kukoc, won the two-person celebrity tournament. Jordan and Kukoc finished nine under par over the course of the two-day tournament and each took home $20,000 for the charity of their choice. Jordan chose to donate his winnings to Cats Care , the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats' charity arm; while Kukoc chose the James R. Jordan Foundation . The dynamic duo of Drew Brees and Wayne Gretzky finished second at four under par, winning $15,000 each for the Brees Dream Foundation and the Wayne Gretzky Foundation , respectively. Third place in the tournament went to Mario Lemieux and Mike Piazza who finished three under. Lemieux is donating his $12,500 in winnings to the Mario Lemieux Foundation , Piazza to St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Miami. See below for final scores from the weekend's celebrity-only tournament.
"ARIA and Shadow Creek are incredibly proud to welcome the return of the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational to Las Vegas," said Bill McBeath, ARIA's president and COO, in an official statement. "We loved opening Shadow Creek to the public for the first time earlier this year for this spectacular tournament and very much look forward to welcoming back Michael, his fans and his celebrity guests. Most importantly, we are honored to be a part of an event that raises money for a variety of important charitable organizations."
Giving back to the community is the primary objective of the MJCI, which has raised more than $5 million for charity since its inception in 2001. Proceeds from the 2010 tournament benefitted the Make-A-Wish Foundation , Nevada Cancer Institute , James R. Jordan Foundation and Cats Care , as well as the participating celebrities' charities of choice. Other special events also surround the tournament. Last year Jamie Foxx gave a special performance at Aria as part of the festivities.