PGA TOUR Champions players to compete in 2017 Diamond Resorts Invitational
Unprecedented format includes PGA TOUR Champions professionals, sports and entertainment celebrities
September 20, 2016
- September 20, 2016
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – PGA TOUR Champions and Diamond Resorts International announced today that the second annual Diamond Resorts Invitational benefiting Florida Hospital for Children will feature Champions Tour professionals competing alongside sports and entertainment celebrities for separate purses totaling $1.25 million.
All three rounds of the Jan. 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.
Celebrity commitments thus far for the 2017 event include 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, Larry the Cable Guy and defending champion Mardy Fish.
“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 nationally via Golf Channel.
“This alliance 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, Jan. 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.
Florida Hospital for 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).
“Florida Hospital for Children is excited to again partner with Diamond Resorts International to bring this world-class, family-friendly event to Central Florida,” said Marla Silliman, Senior Executive Officer of Florida Hospital for Children. “The proceeds of this year’s auctions held in connection with the tournament will benefit not only the care of our littlest patients, but also advancements in detection and treatment of epilepsy and pediatric cancer.”
Tournament week will begin Thursday, Jan. 12 with the fourth-annual Brian Gay Pro-Am presented by Diamond Resorts International. Gay, a four-time PGA TOUR winner and longtime Orlando resident, will serve as host of the 18-hole celebrity-amateur competition, which will feature foursomes comprised of three amateurs and one celebrity or PGA TOUR Champions player. An evening gala and headliner concert at Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club, a Diamond Resorts flagship resort in Orlando, will complement the day’s events.
The Champions Gala is a highlight of the event with its gourmet dinner and headliner concerts that have featured Huey Lewis and the News, Darius Rucker, Colt Ford and Jake Owen. The accompanying live and silent auctions have raised more than $1.7 million for Florida Hospital for Children the past three years.
The tournament site, Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Orlando is unique to Central Florida for its varying elevation, abundant wildlife and protected wetlands. Originally built in 1992 and designed by Tom Fazio as Osprey Ridge, Fazio enhanced the Orlando golf course for its October 2014 launch as Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Orlando. The course is a par 71 and plays to 6,901 yards.
For more information on the Diamond Resorts Invitational, please visit www.DiamondResortsInvitational.com.