By JASON ELLIOTT
COEUR d’ALENE — It’s not that former NHL and Spokane chief Ray Whitney played a great round of golf on Saturday — he did in some places — it’s that he trust at the right time.
Whitney, who led the Spokane Chiefs to the Memorial Cup title in 1991, held off Golf Channel host Blair O’Neal and former NFL kicker Josh Scobee by two strokes to win the championship at the The Showcase golf exhibition at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
“Josh is very good and hits the ball a lot further than me,” said Whitney, who also won here in 2018. “I’m a little out of my comfort zone here. in front of 18,000 fans, but with golf you have so much time to think between shots sometimes it’s easy to get in your head, and i was there a few times today, but i’ve much better played the last eight holes and managed to win.”
The event, a fundraiser for the Community Cancer Fund, has been held annually since 2014 outside of 2020, when the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The most important part of the weekend is fundraising,” Whitney said. “To see the guys coming in from afar is really special. Marcus Allen is one of the nicest, nicest people around, and he’s also a top-notch talent. Bringing these people in and with what and enthusiasm and are willing to help and care. It’s touching and nice to see that they care the way they do.
Former MLB star Vince Coleman was the net champion on his second visit to the event. His tour was cut short in 2021 due to illness.
“Last year I caught COVID on day one,” Coleman said. “But there’s nothing like being in front of that crowd. Ryan (Gee), Jerid (Keefer) and Fritz (Wolff) put on a great tournament. I just tried to get the ball in the fairways and I wanted to be consistent. We don’t play a lot of those tournaments, so whenever you can, you want to be competitive.”
Rookie Bryon Scott finished 15th with a 78-81—159.
“Marcus Allen is a good friend of mine and has been asking me to come here for three years,” said Scott, the former NBA player and coach. “Each time, I always had something else to do. This year, I came and I can tell you that it will not be the last.”
The same goes for former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who was paired with legends Wayne Gretzky and John Elway for Saturday’s final round.
“I’ve lived here for three years across the lake,” Payton said. “We always had to go to training camp, but the guys always talked about it. It was the first time I had the chance to play and I really enjoyed it.”
For Larry Fitzgerald, the cause has special meaning for him.
“My mother died of breast cancer in 2003,” Fitzgerald said. “I had two of my mom’s sisters and friends who battled cancer. Anytime you can come to a beautiful place like this, play golf, get together and raise money for a great cause like This one is a no-brainer. I love doing it and I’m really happy to be here.”
RAW RESULTS—1, Ray Whitney, 66-70—136. 2 (tie), Blair O’Neal, 67-71-138; Josh Scobee, 67-71—138. 4 (tie), Jeremy Roenick, 73-68—141; Isabelle Shee, 68-73—141; John Elway, 72-69—141. 7, Marc Rypien, 74-69-143. 8, Ryan Longwell, 72-72—144. 9, Kat Shee, 70-77—147. 10, Brenden Morrow, 71-79—150. 11 (tie), Grant Fuhr, 75-78-153; Sheldon Souray, 75-78—153. 13, Wayne Gretzky, 76-78—154. 14, Dustin Pedroia, 77-81—158. 15, Byron Scott, 78-81-159. 16, Taylor Cusack, 82-78—160. 17, Bobby Ryan, 80-85—165. 18, Marcus Allen, 85-83—168. 19, Richard Dent, 85-87-172. 20, Sean Payton, 90-88—178. 21, Scott Williams, 97-90—187. 22, Tim Brown, 78—DNF.
NET RESULTS—1, Vince Coleman, 60-65—125. 2, Janet Gretzky, 64-68—132. 3 (tie), Neil Lomax, 68-65—133; Russ Courtnal, 61-72—133. 5, Eric Dickerson, 70-65—135. 6, Jimmy Rollins, 70-68—138. 7, David Justice, 70-69-139. 8, Jermaine Dye, 72-68—140. 9, Tyler Johnson, 66-75—141. 10 (tie), Ron Harper, 69-73—142; Shane Victorino, 70-72—142; Fred McGriff, 73-69—142. 13 (tie), Seth Joyner, 73-70—143; Kelly Chase, 65-78—143. 15, Desmond Mason, 75-70—145. 16, Larry Fitzgerald, 74-76-150. 17 (tie), Stephen Hauschka, 74-79—153; Jon Cooper, 72-81—153. 19, Sidney Rice, 65-91—156. 20 (tie), Bruce Bowen, 78-83—161; Roy Green, 83-78—161.