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Sports and entertainment stars, including current and future Hall of Famers and Most Valuable Players will be teeing it up in the inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational benefiting Florida Hospital for Children, a celebrity golf tournament (diamondresortsinvitational.com) at the Golden Bear Golf Club in Windermere, Florida, January 14-16, 2016, airing live on Golf Channel.
Reggie Jackson, Roger Clemens and Larry the Cable Guy are among the early sign-ups for a tournament boasting a $500,000 purse with a $100,000 first prize.
Major League Baseball elite will be represented by Jackson, Clemens, and Hall of Fame pitchers Gaylord Perry and the Atlanta Braves rotation of John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. The National Football League will feature Hall of Famers and Super Bowl MVPs Marcus Allen, Richard Dent, and Mark Rypien (pictured above.) Entertainers in the field joining Larry the Cable Guy include Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty, Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts, country music artists Colt Ford and Jake Owen, comedian Rob Riggle, and Golf Channel broadcaster Lisa Cornwell.
“We plan to make this celebrity golf tournament a world-class event,” said Michael Flaskey (pictured above), executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer, Diamond Resorts International®. “The event’s celebrity appeal, community involvement, entertainment and hospitality allow Diamond Resorts to showcase what we do best.”
Tournament week begins Wednesday, January 13 with the third-annual Brian Gay Invitational, presented by Diamond Resorts International®. Brian Gay (pictured above), PGA TOUR golfer and resident at nearby Windermere, will host the 18-hole celebrity-amateur competition featuring foursomes comprised of three amateurs and one celebrity. The tournament will utilize a modified Stableford scoring system with players receiving six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-two for double bogey and higher. The top ten amateurs (five each from gross and net divisions) will advance to play alongside the celebrities the next three days in the Diamond Resorts Invitational.
The Amateur Grand Prize for the Diamond Resorts Invitational includes a Platinum membership in THE CLUB® at Diamond Resorts International®. In addition to providing access to loyalty member benefits including unlimited accommodation upgrades, complimentary Reservation Protection Plan, Luggage Forward and airline companion discounts, Platinum membership affords more than 50,000 points to be used toward travel and vacation at any destination in the global Diamond Resorts International® network portfolio including the Diamond Luxury Selection.
Jackson, known as Mr. October for his World Series heroics, is the Hall of Famer who played for the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s. Perry, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants was the first to win the Cy Young Award in both the National and American Leagues. Rypien was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 1991 Super Bowl for the Washington Redskins and is a two-time champion in the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe. All three are Diamond Resorts Celebrity Ambassadors.
Military veteran Chad Pfeifer, who has pursued a pro golf career despite losing his left leg to an IED explosion in Iraq, is also playing for the second time. Pfeifer, a three-time winner of President George W. Bush’s Warrior Open and the 2011 National Amputee Tournament champion, is the first U.S. Army veteran amputee to compete on the Web.com Tour and is a Diamond Resorts Celebrity Ambassador. He finished fifth at Lake Tahoe in 2014, leading after the opening round. He recently starred in Golf Channel’s Big Break The Palm Beaches, Fla. and won the 2015 National Amputee Tournament.
Also in the field is popular baseball commentator Kevin Millar, a member of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox; Orlando native Johnny Damon (pictured above), who won World Series titles with both the Yankees and Red Sox; and Bode Miller, Olympic Gold medalist.
“The enthusiasm for the event is evident with more than 100 requests for the approximately 30 remaining playing spots. Over the next few months we’ll be finalizing the field with major entertainers, active stars from baseball, football and other sports, along with popular area personalities,” said Flaskey. “Our players will be approachable celebrities for fans, sponsors and media, making this a memorable and meaningful event.”
Current sponsor participants include Florida Hospital for Children, MasterCard, and Integrity Golf Company, LLC.
Florida Hospital for Children (floridahospital.com/children) is one of the premier children’s hospitals in the nation, setting standards for innovation, quality and comprehensive care. The child-centric healing environment designed to keep kids comfortable is complemented by a staff of world-class doctors, specialists, nurses and healthcare professionals utilizing advanced technologies, therapies and treatments. Florida Hospital for Children’s team of over 135 highly skilled pediatric specialists delivers extraordinary care across more than 35 pediatric subspecialties, including a children’s emergency department, the Level IV Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Center, a world-renowned pediatric heart center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The Golden Bear Golf Club is a signature Jack Nicklaus golf course at Keene’s Pointe in Windermere, Fla. The par 72, 7,173-yard layout is surrounded by sparkling lakes, majestic oaks and provides the challenging elements of a Nicklaus design.
A limited number of gallery tickets for the Brian Gay Invitational on Wednesday and the Diamond Resorts Invitational, Thursday-Saturday, will be available through various sponsors including Diamond Resorts.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is also conducting a Golf Sweepstakes awarding a winner a six day/five night vacation for two to Orlando including accommodations at Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club and two rounds of golf for two. To enter: www.diamondresorts.com/golf-sweepstakes.
For more information about the tournament, visit DiamondResortsInvitational.com
Golf Channel / Diamond Resorts Invitational Programming Schedule
Thursday, Jan. 14 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET (Live)
Friday, Jan. 15 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET (Live)
Saturday, Jan. 16 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET (Live)
More photos from today’s announcement at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com