CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) - USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) hosted NBA Hall of Famer, Jerry West, and professional golfer, Bryce Molder, for a putting challenge aboard the carrier, Jan. 25.

"PLAY for LA" an 18-day promotional event leading up to the Northern Trust Open, is led by Northern Trust Open Executive Director Jerry West.

West participated in the challenge alongside Molder, USS Ronald Reagan Commanding Officer Capt. Thom Burke, and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Joseph Rivera.

"It's just great to come aboard this great ship and have the chance to visit and interact with the crew," said West. "It was an absolute pleasure to be here."

"I was never a Lakers fan, but I'm certainly a fan of the man [West]", said Aviation Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Andre Thercy. "He was real, friendly and definitely a people person. It was great for the ship to be able to get a man like him on our ship before we deploy."

Molder, an Arkansas native, turned pro in 2001.

The golf challenge included a 60-foot putting green laid out on the ship's flight deck. Burke and Rivera competed with Molder and West to sink putts as dozens of Sailors observed from the deck.

In the end, pros and amateurs alike ended up on an even playing field as a three way tie between Burke, Rivera and Molder never set anyone atop of the leader board.

One of the highlights of the day was the opportunity for the crew to shake hands and talk to the sports heroes.

"It was an honor to meet him [West]," said Lt. Oscar Flores. "I grew up watching him on TV, and he was an icon for kids in my day."

The Northern Trust Open is one of the longest-running tournaments on the PGA Tour, debuting in 1926. The 2011 tournament will be held Feb. 15-20, at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

USS Ronald Reagan is currently in its homeport of San Diego.

For more information about USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/airfor/cvn76, or visit the official USS Ronald Reagan Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/USS-Ronald-Reagan/212147332020.

For more news from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.