Celebrities show off form at golf tourney

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Actor Kevin Sorbo, who played Hercules in a well-known TV role, lived up to his image Friday by hitting a golf ball so hard it rocketed straight down the fairway and disappeared like a shooting star.

Sorbo, 46, of Los Angeles, was among almost 40 celebrities enlivening the greens at Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club during the Swang “N” Super Bowl Bash celebrity golf tourney.

“I support Jim McMahon and the soldiers here that keep us safe,” explained Sorbo about why he was taking part in a golf tournament organized by McMahon, a former Super-Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback.

The tournament raises money for charitable groups, one of which helps wounded members of America’s armed forces.

“I’m a firm believer in letting people know we appreciate what they do to keep us free,” Sorbo said of those in the military. He looked around the emerald-green course and added, “And the fact I like golf doesn’t hurt.”

Although the tourney started an hour late due to a rain delay, by early afternoon the skies had cleared and the golfers enjoyed a spectacularly sunny afternoon on the links.

“We’re having a great time,” said Scott Erickson, 40, of Lake Tahoe, a former baseball star who pitched for a number of different major league teams. “We had a little rain at first.”

Behind Erickson was former New York Jets quarterback Walter Briggs, 42, who lives in Orlando.

Briggs was joking around with Gary Levitch, of Jacksonville, N.C., whose business specialty is marketing sports celebrities.

McMahon, who led his team to victory at Super Bowl XX in 1986, golfed with pro golf celebrity John Daly.

One of those who paid for the honor of hobnobbing with the rich and famous was electrical contractor Bobby Fisher, 55, of Nashville, Tenn.

“I’ve been in quite a few tournaments with the McMahons, but this is a pretty good tournament for wounded vets,” said Fisher.

“We like to do this because it’s for a good cause.”

Each celebrity played for free, but hosted a foursome that cost $10,000, or $2,750 per individual.

McMahon’s helpers Thursday estimated the tourney would raise $250,000 for three charitable groups: The Hope for the Warriors; the Lynda McMahon Ferguson Memorial Foundation for Literacy, named in honor of McMahon’s late sister; and the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund.

Among one group of golfers was Ron Masseo, 45, vice president of LWR Development, LLC, who also serves on the board of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund.

“We’re out here supporting the event,” he said.