Diamond Resorts Invitational Golf Tournament begins tournament play tomorrow

Inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational Celebrity Golf Tournament, The Golden Bear Clubl, Orlando, Florida - 7th December 2015 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Major League Baseball stars including American League MVP Josh Donaldson and standout Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander headline an array of Hall of Fame sports’ and entertainment stars set to compete in the inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational benefiting Florida Hospital for Children celebrity golf tournament (diamondresortsinvitational.com), Jan. 14-16, at the Golden Bear Club in Windermere, Florida.

The tournament, featuring a $500,000 purse, will air live on the Golf Channel all three days.

Major League Baseball players, usually unavailable for summer celebrity competitions, will be out in force at the Golden Bear Club, where large public galleries are expected for the first-time event taking advantage of mild Florida winter weather.  Donaldson’s Toronto Blue Jays All-Star teammate Jose Bautista, New York Yankees starting catcher Brian McCann, Cleveland Indians award-winning manager Terry Francona and Atlanta Braves players A.J. Pierzynski and Bud Norris are also in the field.

They are joined by Super Bowl MVPs Jerry Rice, Marcus Allen, Richard Dent and Mark Rypien; the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame pitching contingent of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine; ESPN college football expert and former NFL quarterback Danny Kanell; baseball greats Reggie Jackson, Roger Clemens and Gaylord Perry; and entertainers Larry The Cable Guy and Colt Ford. Country music superstar Jake Owen will compete in the tournament and entertain on Saturday night at the tournament’s culminating event, the Champions Gala, a fundraiser and auction for Florida Hospital for Children.

The aggregate accomplishments of the 81-player field are prodigious.  They include 38 championships, 187 All-Star Games/Pro Bowls, 12 season-long MVPs, 21 Cy Young Awards, five no-hitters, nine Olympic medals and 10 Super Bowl/World Series MVPs.

Another notable celebrity in the field is Chad Pfeifer, the Iraqi war veteran who has pursued a pro golf career despite losing his left leg to an IED explosion in combat. 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 recently starred in Golf Channel’s Big Break The Palm Beaches, Fla. and won the 2015 National Amputee Tournament.

The competition is open to the public with ticket information available at www.diamondresortsinvitational.com/tickets.

The full field of celebrity players follows:

“Larry The Cable Guy” Comedian
Marcus Allen NFL Hall of Famer ’03
Jose Alvarez Retired MLB Pitcher, Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Jose Bautista 6-time MLB All-Star
Josh Beckett Marlins (’03) and Red Sox (’07) World Series Champion
Robert Beckham Country Music Executive
Joe Carter Toronto Blue Jays ’92 and ’93 World Series Champion
Roger Clemens 7-time MLB Cy Young Award Winner
Stephen Cloobeck Founder & Chairman Diamond Resorts International
Vince Coleman 2-time MLB All-Star
Lisa Cornwell Host of Golf Channel’s Golf Central
Johnny Damon Red Sox (’04) and Yankees (’09) World Series Champion
Mark DeRosa Retired MLB Player and MLB Network Analyst
Richard Dent NFL Hall of Famer ’11
Ryan Dempster 2-time MLB All-Star Pitcher
Eric Dickerson NFL Hall of Famer ’99
Josh Donaldson 2015 American League MVP
Mike Eruzione Captain of the “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
Mardy Fish Former #1 American Pro Tennis Player and Olympic Silver Medalist
Colt Ford Country Music Artist and Songwriter
Terry Francona Manager, Boston Red Sox ’04 and ’07 World Series Champion; Cleveland Indians Manager
Eric Gagne 2003 National League Cy Young Award
Troy Glaus Anaheim Angels 2002 World Series Champion
Tom Glavine MLB Hall of Famer ’14
John Hart President and GM, Atlanta Braves, 2-time MLB Executive of the Year
Oliver Hudson Actor, Rules of Engagement & Nashville
Reggie Jackson MLB Hall of Famer ’93
Dan Jansen US Winter Olympics Gold Medal Winner
Danny Kanell ESPN College Football Analyst
Pierre Larouche Montreal Canadiens ’78 and ’79 Stanley Cup Champion
Heather LeMaster Woman’s Long Drive Champion ’13
Ryan Longwell Green Bay Packers All-time Scoring Place Kicker
Derek Lowe Boston Red Sox ’04 World Series Champion
Greg Maddux MLB Hall of Famer ’14
Brian McCann 7-time MLB All-Star
Kevin Millar Boston Red Sox ’04 World Series Champion
Bode Miller US Winter Olympics Gold Medal Winner
Mike Modano NHL Hall of Famer ’14
Mark Mulder 2-Time MLB All Star Pitcher & Winner of 2015 American Century Championship
Phil Nevin MLB All-Star ’01
Bud Norris Atlanta Braves Starting Pitcher
Blair O’Neal Golf Channel Personality
Bo Outlaw Retired NBA player and Orlando Magic Community Ambassador
Jake Owen Country Music Superstar
Gaylord Perry MLB Hall of Famer ’91
Chad Pfeifer US Military Iraqi War Hero Amputee and Two-Time Winner of George W. Bush’s Warrior Open
Scott Phillips Musician and Co-Founder of Creed
AJ Pierzynski Chicago White Sox ’05 World Series Champion
Dan Plesac 3-time MLB All-Star Relief Pitcher
Rick Rhoden Retired MLB Pitcher & 8-Time Winner of American Century Championship
Alfonso Ribeiro Actor, Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Winner, Dancing with the Stars, Host of America’s Funniest Home Videos
Jerry Rice NFL Hall of Famer ’10
Jeremy Roenick 9-time NHL All-Star
Mark Rypien Super Bowl XXVI MVP and 2-Time Winner of American Century Championship
Bret Saberhagen ’85 and ’89 American League Cy Young Winner
Sterling Sharpe 5-time NFL Pro Bowler
Gary Sheffield Florida Marlins ’97 World Series Champion
Ozzie Smith MLB Hall of Famer ’02
John Smoltz MLB Hall of Famer ’15
Kordell Stewart Retired NFL Player and AFC Champion
Joe Theismann Washington Redskins Super Bowl XVII Champ and NFL MVP 1983
Billy Joe Tolliver Retired NFL QB and 4-time Winner of American Century Championship
Brian Urlacher 8-time Pro Bowler and ’05 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
Justin Verlander 2011 American League Cy Young Award Winner and MVP
Jack Wagner Actor, Recording Artist and 2-time Winner of American Century Championship
Tim Wakefield Boston Red Sox ’04 and ’07 World Series Champion
Michael Waltrip 2-time Daytona 500 Winner
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