Brett Tourney Renamed for Joe McGuff

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The charity golf tournament bearing the name of Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett is being renamed to honor Joe McGuff, retired sports editor and later editor of The Kansas City Star.
 
The tournament, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, raises funds for the local chapter of the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association.
 
The chapter bears the name of Keith Worthington, a friend of Brett's who died of the disease nearly 20 years ago. McGuff was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in 1999.
 
McGuff, his wife and three of their grandchildren joined Brett at a news conference Thursday announcing the change. The tournament, now to be known as the Joe McGuff ALS Golf Classic, will be held June 2 at the Nicklaus Golf Club at Lions Gate in suburban Overland Park, Kan.
 
McGuff was sports editor of The Star when Brett started playing for the Kansas City Royals.
 
'When I came up I was very young,' said Brett. 'I was 20 years old, and Joe was the superstar in town. You were a little intimidated when Joe talked to you.'
 
'Who is more beloved than Joe McGuff?' Brett asked. 'He has been Kansas City for the last, what, 50 years? There isn't a person around this area who hasn't been touched, in one way or another, by Joe McGuff.'
 
Brett read a statement from McGuff, who has difficulty speaking because of his disease.
 
'To the best of my knowledge, no one ever pinch hit for George Brett,' McGuff's statement said. 'So you can understand why I am a little uneasy about attaching my name to George's tournament. But how can you say no to George and the wonderful people from the Keith Worthington chapter of the ALS Association?'
 
This year's tournament comes in the 100th anniversary year of the birth of Gehrig, the slugger who starred with the New York Yankees in the 1920s and '30s. To mark the occasion, there will be a tournament within the tournament, featuring former Royals players matched against former Yankees players.
 
Jeff Julian, a PGA Tour player who has been battling ALS since 2001, is scheduled to give a golf clinic before the tournament.
 
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