The third annual Joe Namath March of Dimes Celebrity Golf Classic was an all-star event. The field of 270 golfers at the Bethpage State Park course in Farmingdale, N.Y., on Tuesday included 75 celebrities, many of whose trophy cases are bulging with Super Bowl and World Series rings, Pro Bowl plaques and Gold Gloves.
But as always, the real winners of the event are the children. The tournament raised a record $450,000 — and the three-year total is $1.1 million — to help the March of Dimes' mission of fighting premature birth and birth defects.
Namath is always at the head of the class, presiding over his third golf classic, which is the largest March of Dimes tournament in the country. This is the latest charitable involvement for the Jets' iconic quarterback, who has been a March of Dimes volunteer for 40 years and has chaired Walk America in New York City the past 10 years.
But he had to share top billing in this event with many other hardware-winning athletes. Among the golfing luminaries at the event:
Former Jets: Ralph Baker, Lou Benfatti, Emerson Boozer, Greg Buttle, Rich Caster, Mike D'Amato, Larry Grantham, Victor Green, Bruce Harper, Dave Herman, Joe Klecko, Rich Kotite, Marty Lyons, Curtis Martin, Erik McMillan, Freeman McNeil, Lance Mehl, Steve Reese, John Riggins (Pro Football Hall of Fame), John Schmitt, Ken Schroy, Mike Stromberg,
NFL Stars:Ottis Anderson, Lem Barney (HOF), Nick Buoniconti (HOF), L.C. Greenwood, Ted Hendricks (HOF), Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Jim Kelly (HOF), Larry Little (HOF), Jim McMahon
Major League Stars: Gary Carter (Baseball Hall of Fame), Darryl Strawberry.
The above group has accounted for 129 Pro Bowl selections, 41 Super Bowl championship rings, seven Pro Football Hall of Fame busts, three Super Bowl MVP trophies, one Heisman Trophy, 27 All-Star Game appearances, eight World Series championship rings, seven Silver Slugger awards and five Gold Gloves.
Besides that distinguished cast, actor Kevin Sorbo ("Hercules") also played in the tournament, and Brian Kilmeade, co-host of "FOX & Friends," emceed the dinner.
As for the tournament's champion golfers, the Blue Course winning team was CL Consulting, led by former Jets strong safety Victor Green, and the Red Course's top team was Equity Group, led by ex-Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Reggie Smith.