Vince Gill and Amy Grant spoke briefly with the press Wednesday (May 10) following the conclusion of the Minnie Pearl Tee Party, a celebrity golf fundraiser hosted by Grant at The Legends Club of Tennessee in Franklin, Tenn.
The “Party” will donate $100,000 to the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation. It took place the day after Gill’s annual pro-celebrity golf fundraiser, The Vinny, which will give $300,000 to Tennessee Junior Golf and youth programs. The Vinny has donated over $2 million over the past seven years. Both annual events are taking place this year as part of a week of golfing activities connected to the Electrolux USA Championship, a stop on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour.
During Wednesday’s press conference Grant and Gill played off each other, with Grant the more outspoken member of the couple and Gill choosing a quieter role.
Gill’s upcoming performance Saturday night (May 13) at AmSouth Amphitheatre with special guest Rebecca Lynn Howard will be his only live, public concert of 2000. Asked whether he misses touring this year, he replied that his marriage to Grant has filled a void in his life, and he does not feel a need to be on the road at present. Later, Gill said neither he nor Grant believed they’d be married by the time of the golf tournament. “We’re just finding our way,” he added.
The Vinny and The Minnie Pearl Tee Party both have undergone marked changes in their new incarnation as part of the activities surrounding the Electrolux USA Championship. This year, of course, hosts Gill and Grant could be seen holding hands out on the turf, and the former Sara Lee Classic has moved to a new setting — The Legends Club of Tennessee in Franklin.
Gill has three nominations in the Country Weekly Presents the TNN Awards, scheduled for June 15. He said Wednesday he was unaware he had any nominations in the voting. “The older I get the more I expect them to stop coming …,” he mused, stating again that “the void” in his life “has been filled” by his marriage.
Two of Gill’s nominations are in the same category, Collaborative Event of the Year. He told the press that he loves singing with other artists and has had the opportunity to do so with a broad range of people, from Barbra Streisand to Ralph Stanley. His nods in the upcoming awards show are for pairings with Sara Evans and Patty Loveless.
Grant said she was pleased with the incorporation of the various golfing events into a single week. “I think this has a lot of potential, and I hope people will give us a chance to have some growing pains,” she said. Grant also commented that the event brings friends together to work in a friendly, giving atmosphere.
A who’s who list of Tennessee celebrities acted as team leaders for The Vinny. Country music stars included: Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel); Kix Brooks (Brooks & Dunn); T. Graham Brown; Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MGs); Ralph Emery; Cledus T. Judd; George “Goober” Lindsey; and Shelly Mangrum (former TNN host). Other team leaders were: Charles Davis (former NBA player); Al Del Greco (Tennessee Titans); Toby McKeehan (DC Talk); Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist and many more.
Although the tournaments hosted by Gill and Grant were in fun, scores were counted. A team headed by Jimmy Ibbotson of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band captured The Vinny with a score of 53, while Fred Knobloch’s team finished first in The Minnie Pearl Tee Party.
Gill’s new album, Let’s Make Sure We Kiss Goodbye, includes two songs co-written with Grant. She helped pen “When I Look Into Your Heart,” a song she sings with Gill, and “Look What Love’s Revealing.”
Many of the fans who turned out for The Vinny came to see its host. A class of fifth graders took a field trip from school for the event. One woman in attendance said she has been to The Vinny every year except the very first. Two women were adorned from head to toe with clothing sporting Gill’s picture. Gill’s popularity, merited by his musical talent, will surely keep fans coming back year after year.