BigNews.Biz - Dec 06,2016 - PGA TOUR Champions and Diamond Resorts International® have announced that the second annual Diamond Resorts Invitational benefiting Florida Hospital for Children will feature Champions Tour professionals - including John Daly, Mark Calcavecchia, John Cook, Lee Janzen, Scott Hoch, Chad Pfeifer and Jeff Sluman - competing alongside sports and entertainment celebrities for separate purses totaling $1.25 million. All three rounds of the January 13-15 event at Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort will be nationally televised on Golf Channel.
The tournament will feature up to 30 PGA TOUR Champions players and up to 50 top-tier athlete and entertainment celebrities in two distinct competitions, utilizing a Modified Stableford scoring format which awards points as opposed to strokes – similar to the PGA TOUR’s Barracuda Championship.
Defending champion Mardy Fish will be challenged by such celebrities as Marcus Allen, Roger Clemens, Josh Donaldson, Colt Ford, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Brian McCann, Kevin Millar, Mark Mulder, Blair O’Neal, Alfonso Ribeiro, Jeremy Roenick, Mark Rypien, John Smoltz, Brian Urlacher, Justin Verlander, and Larry the Cable Guy.
“We are excited to offer our players a chance to compete alongside some of the most recognizable names in entertainment and sports in this unique ‘Challenge Season’ event,” said PGA TOUR Champions President Greg McLaughlin. “Proceeds from the tournament’s live and silent auctions will benefit Florida Hospital for Children and leave a lasting charitable impact.”
PGA TOUR Champions players will compete for $750,000 over the 54-hole tournament, while the celebrities will play for a $500,000 purse. Threesomes will include one Champions Tour professional and two celebrities.
Invited celebrities will include active Major League Baseball and NFL football players, as well as former NBA and NHL stars, plus musical artists, comedians and other entertainers. The entire field places an emphasis on notable golfers and celebrities appealing to fans and families both locally in Orlando and internationally via Golf Channel.
“This partnership reflects the continuing growth and evolution of the Diamond Resorts Invitational, now with this unique format and $1.25 million in prize money,” said Michael Flaskey, executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer, Diamond Resorts International®. "Our combination of professional golfers and celebrities will capture the public's imagination and generate maximum funding for Florida Hospital for Children."
The singular format allows for a distinct competition as all professionals and celebrities play their own ball and compete from the same tees for 54 holes.
Though not part of the Charles Schwab Cup season-long competition, the Diamond Resorts Invitational is the final “Challenge Season” tournament before the Tour’s Regular Season opening event the following week, January 16-22 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai at Hualalai Golf Club in Ka'upulehu-Kona, Hawaii.
This past January, the inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational featured 70 celebrities in the field with former No. 1-ranked American tennis player Mardy Fish winning the event. Activities for the whole family took place throughout tournament week and the silent and live auctions raised $503,000 in charitable donations for Florida Hospital for Children.