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16th Annual Lindsey Nelson golf tourney to have auction with rare broadcaster pictures

In addition to the fun and personal reward of playing 18 holes of golf for a worthy cause, participants at the 16th Annual Lindsey Nelson Memorial Benefit Golf Tournament will get a chance to bid on rare photos of the nationally-revered Knoxville sportscaster.

The post-golf auction caps off a day of scramble, best-ball golf at Landmark Golf Club at Avalon Thursday, Aug. 4.

“He broached all phases of life. Politicians, world leaders, they all loved him, and everything I’ve been able to read and learn about him, he was just the kind of person people wanted to be around,” said Greg Blanton, tournament director, of Nelson’s broadcasting Hall of Fame career before his death in 1993.

“Four years ago they started unpacking these thirty-six boxes of memorabilia of his. I asked his youngest daughter if she would endow us with photographs each year for us to auction off. … She picks out four every year that means something to her.”

Among this year’s selections, “We actually have one signed by Gen. Robert Neyland …, Blanton said. “There is a photograph from [1953] in the studios of, I think it’s NBC in Chicago, with [Nelson] and a whole host of NBC executives. … Mel Allen is with him in that one, the famous announcer. … the third one [early 1950s] is when they first started doing the Vol Network, Lindsey was a color spotter and he was in the booth at Neyland Stadium with all the other spotters. Another one, he’s with Casey Stengel and Ralph Kiner.”

Blanton added that each photo auctioned off comes with a certificate of authenticity.

After more than 50 years, one collaborative effort between Neyland and Nelson endures today and is a common phrase known to most UT sports fans.

“He and Neyland are the ones that came up with the term, The Vol Network,” Blanton said. “Lindsey went to the general early-on [1951] and said, ‘hey, we need to do this, we need to get all these stations all across the state set up and I think we ought to call it The Volunteer Network.’ And Gen. Neyland said, no, Vol Network.’

“And Lindsey said, ‘and so it was.’”

Blanton added, “I guess the General had great respect for what he was and who he was. They must have had quite a relationship, too. … It’s documented in Lindsey’s autobiography.”

This is the second consecutive year Landmark has hosted the event.

Sponsored by the Concord/Farragut Sertoma Club, the 18-hole, one day tournament begins with registration, practice and lunch at 11 a.m. Tournament play begins with a 1 p.m. shotgun start.

Player fee is $150, and includes cart and green fees, assorted prizes, box lunch, one ticket for Lindsey Nelson Night with the [Tennessee] Smokies Aug. 13 [if payment received by Sunday, July 24]. A bag tag is available for those pre-registering by July 24.

In addition to a chipping contest, prizes will be awarded for closest to the hole, longest drive and for any hole-in-ones on all par threes.

Following the tournament in addition to the auction, an award ceremony is set for 6 p.m.

Sponsorships range from the $5,000 presenting Sponsor package to the $250 Tee Sponsor and also include the $2,500 Corporate and $575 Flag sponsorships.

In terms of a participation goal, “We’d like to have twenty-four [teams of four], that would fill the course out for us,” Blanton said of the scramble, best-ball format.

Proceeds go to “two charities Lindsey Nelson chose, Tennessee Infant Parent Services and Orange Grove Center in Chattanooga,” Blanton said.

Blanton added that Nelson “came to the tournaments and participated with us” in the early years of the event.

For more information about sponsorships or anything else concerning the tournament, call the Concord/Farragut Sertoma Club at 671-8880.


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