Alice Cooper not attending charity golf tourney, after all

bheffernan@islandpacket.comAugust 13, 2013 

Rocker Alice Cooper will not be among those playing in the tournament over the Labor Day weekend.

Legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper will not be playing in the Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament during Labor Day weekend, and he never planned to, a representative from his charity foundation said Tuesday.

Cooper had been billed as one of the top celebrities participating in the 33rd annual tournament, to be played Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 on three Hilton Head courses. His photo was provided by tournament publicists and also was featured on the tournament website.

Cooper's image and other references to him had been removed from the website by Tuesday afternoon.

"While we are certainly disappointed that Alice Cooper will not be attending this year's event, it does not diminish our cause, which is to raise money for local children's charities that provide much-needed services to under-served children in our community," tournament director Paul Smith said in an email to The Island Packet late Tuesday.

In an interview earlier in the day, Smith said celebrities, such as Cooper, have "backed out" of the tournament nearly every year for "a litany of reasons."

But Jane Gordon, director of marketing and communication for the Alice Cooper Solid Rock foundation, was adamant that Cooper did not cancel -- he never confirmed he would attend.

Gordon said Cooper was invited to the event six to eight weeks ago, and tournament officials were told about a month ago that he would not be able to attend, she said.

She said tournament officials "are trying to make it sound (like) Alice changed his mind."

"If he makes a commitment to a tournament, especially a charity tournament, he is going to show up," she said.

Attempts Tuesday to reach tournament publicist Blanche Sullivan were unsuccessful, but Smith said that both he and Sullivan had received confirmation in June that Cooper would attend.

A letter Sullivan sent to Cooper's personal assistant, dated Aug. 6, apologizes "for any misunderstanding we may have unintentionally communicated regarding Mr. Cooper's participation."

Smith said the letter was sent because Cooper's representatives did not want his picture shown on the tournament website or promotional materials, not because Cooper wouldn't be attending.

Smith said he didn't know who would fill Cooper's spot.

"Our celebrity players are great to have, and they're a special part of our event, but it's about more than celebrities," he said. "It's about the charitable foundation and the willingness of a community to come together for a common cause -- to help children."

The tournament, which raised about $125,000 last year, according to Smith, will be played over three days on three courses -- Aug. 30 at the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course in Palmetto Dunes, Aug. 31 at the Arnold Palmer Signature Course in Wexford Plantation and Sept. 1 at the Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines.

The celebrities, which include members of Rascal Flatts, and actors Dennis Haysbert and Kevin Sorbo, rotate to play with a different foursome each day.

All 36 playing spots have been filled, Smith said. Admission is free for those who want to ask for autographs or watch the play.

Follow reporter Brian Heffernan on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Brian.

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