When Wisconsin fans depart for Pasadena, Calif., they know they’ll be heading out for better weather, outstanding football and a bunch of roses. With two years of recent experience, all these features have been all but guaranteed.
There’s a new addition to the festivities this year, however. For the first time, the 99th rendition of the Rose Bowl will finally include a second game — golf.
On Dec. 29, the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission will be hosting the inaugural Rose Bowl Game Golf Classic at Industry Hills Golf Course in Industry, Calif., rated as the best public course in the nation by the National Golf Course Owners Association in 2010.
The 18-hole scramble event will pit celebrities among fans and notable alumni from Wisconsin, Stanford, the Big Ten and the Pac-12.
In introducing a new pursuit to the long list of Rose Bowl activities, LASEC president Kathy Schloessman is excited for all the event has in store.
“We really wanted to hit it out of the park for the first year,” Schloessman said.
Thus far, the confirmed list of celebrities might be worthy of a home run. Among the group of former athletes are MLB All-Stars Steve Garvey and Kenny Lofton, Olympic skier Bode Miller, two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin and NFL Hall of Famers Marcus Allen and Dick Butkus.
The actors portion of the celebrity group is headlined by Dennis Haysbert, Chris McDonald of “Happy Gilmore”, Bruce McGill and Brian Baumgartner from “The Office.”
Former Wisconsin captain Joe Panos and former Stanford kicker Derek Blech will be the primary representatives of the two schools involved in the game. Panos played in the 1994 Rose Bowl under then-and-now head coach Barry Alvarez.
Panos thinks the well-known group of athletes and actors meshes well for the event because of each group’s secondary desires.
“It’s funny because if you talk to an actor, they want to be athletes. If you talk to athletes, they want to be actors,” Panos said. “For whatever reason, we tend to gravitate towards each other. They get a kick out of it as much as we do.”
The fans who join these actors and athletes will be given a tee package that includes a PING Rose Bowl golf bag, sunglasses, Titleist gear and Caddyshack and Tin Cup DVDs.
In addition, each player will be entered in numerous on-course contests taking place throughout the day. The lone condition LASEC is looking for is appreciation for either school or conference involved. Participants definitely don’t need to be great golfers to enjoy an afternoon on the course. Panos isn’t much of a golfer himself but is excited to be involved with fans, alumni and other celebrities.
“I’m an absolute hack,” Panos said. “Now and again, I get a hold of one, so look out. I love to golf, I’m terrible at it, I know I’m terrible at it, which keeps me coming back.”
Luckily for him and other self-proclaimed “hacks,” there is a long drive portion of the competition.
For more information on how to enter the Rose Bowl Game Golf Classic, check out the official event website.