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Rollins' Pro-Am a Hit in Hometown of Richmond

August 9, 2009

By Laury Livsey

RENO, Nev. -- The iPhone told the story.

As John Rollins caught a cart shuttle to the clubhouse for a champagne toast as part of the celebration of his victory at the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, he checked his phone. He started laughing. "I have 38 texts, 21 e-mails and 10 voice mails," he said. "That's gotta be wrong. I don't know that many people."

The good folks of Richmond, Va., would disagree.

In late June, "that many people" did show up as Rollins played a co-host role in the Shaka Smart-John Rollins Charity Golf Tournament in Rollins' hometown of Richmond. Smart is the head basketball coach at Virginia Commonwealth University, Rollins' alma mater.

The event raised just short of $100,000 for the John Rollins Foundation (to benefit children's education initiatives), the VCU Foundation (assisting athlete scholarships) and the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation (helping to fight autism).

"I had always wanted to do a charity event of my own, being from Richmond, and so it obviously made sense to do something there," Rollins said, who graduated with a mass communication degree from the school in 1997.

Rollins enlisted the help of numerous PGA TOUR players to play in the event, including Zach Johnson, Daniel Chopra, Chris DiMarco, Glen Day, Bob Heintz, Webb Simpson and Tag Ridings. Also playing were NASCAR's Darrell Waltrip, Elliott Sadler and Hermie Sadler. College basketball coaches Tubby Smith of Minnesota and Clemson's Oliver Purnell also played.

The event at Salisbury Country Club was a sell out, with a question-and-answer breakfast panel part of the proceedings before the 18-hole scramble event.

"It was a total scramble. We didn't want to make it a grind for the guys," said Rollins, who played in a foursome with Chris Corrada, a childhood friend from Richmond.

"It was neat to see him again and to play in that kind of setting. We grew up playing the same club as kids -- Meadowbrook Country Club in Richmond -- carrying our bags and having fun as kids do."

Catching up with old friends was also part of what Rollins called "a cool day."

Now a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Rollins is looking forward to volume two of a tournament he hopes will be an annual affair on the Richmond landscape.

"We've already had feedback from people who have bought teams for next year, and we've heard from people who didn't play this year but heard how much fun it was. They're on board, too."

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