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Celebrities and Locals Support Education at Golf Classic

June 30, 2007 — Celebrities from sports, film and television joined nearly one hundred area residents for a round of golf, bringing to a climax the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands Celebrity Golf Classic. The four-day event raises money for UVI’s endowment and for scholarships to help students who are already enrolled but have limited resources to pay for tuition and supplies. A brigade of golf carts, each carrying one celebrity and three golfers who paid $135 each or $350 per trio for the privilege, moved out onto Carambola’s elegant old Robert Trent Jones course at a little before 9 a.m. They departed all at once, like a military detachment moving out on maneuvers, though instead of green and camouflage uniforms, they wore the bright pinks, yellows, greens and reds popular only on golf courses.
As they hit the links, each quartet began on a different hole, with the whole ensemble moving around the beautifully landscaped course in a giant rotating chain. At times you could hear middle aged businessmen golfers giving golf pointers to their celebrity companions who, good as they were at their own sports, were sometimes relative novices at the ancient Scottish walking game.
Some of the celebrities were real pros, though. Andia Winslow, for instance, was the 1999 National Minority Junior Golfer of the year. Among other accomplishments, Winslow was the first black to play varsity golf for Yale University. Debbie Dahmer, a two-time winner of the West Coast Ladies Tour, played too. It’s a safe bet they were giving the pointers in their golf carts.
Actress Regina King was back, after first coming to St. Croix for last year’s golf classic. King is currently best known for playing Margie Hendricks in the Academy Award winning movie “Ray,” a biography of legendary singer, songwriter and piano player Ray Charles.
“I pretty much support anything that supports education,” King said. “If lending what celebrity I have brings in more investment, it is worthwhile. And I get to visit the Virgin Islands. I love this island, I really do.” Fitness instructor Donna Richardson Joyner, host of the wellness television show, “Donna Richardson: Mind, Body and Spirit,” was there. Joyner is also the wife of radio personality and media mogul Tom Joyner, of the popular syndicated radio show “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”
So was Ovie Mughelli, who made NFL history and became the highest paid fullback in the league this past March when he signed a six-year, $18 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons. Valeria Ochoa, who hosts “The Big Break III,” the highest-rated program ever on The Golf Channel; M’Fundo Morrison, who plays Julius Ward on the long-running soap opera “General Hospital”; Brian White, who played Sylvester in this year’s football movie: “Stomp the Yard”, and many more.
The golf tournament was just the culmination of several days of activities.
“It’s been a wild week,” said Holly Drummond, UVI’s director of major gifts. “We did a clinic for the students in golf, football and basketball at UVI. It was great. About 150 students came out for the clinics. The athletes not only came out and raised money, but they shared their skills and insights into basketball, golf and football with area youth.”
On Friday, St. Croix children ages 9 to 15 attended the clinics where they got to interact one on one with current and former professional athletes. Winslow led the golf workshop. San Antonio Spurs’ George "Iceman" Gervin, rated as one of the 50 greatest basketball players in history, ran the basketball workshop and retired San Francisco 49er Dwight Hicks led the football clinic. The athletes all signed autographs for the kids after the clinics.
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