Diamond Resorts Invitational Celebrity Golf Tournament debuts in Orlando

The Diamond Resorts Invitational will debut on Jan. 13 and will capture the eye of many. Photo Courtesy: Diamond Resorts Invitational
The Diamond Resorts Invitational has its share of high profile personalities and will capture the eye of many. Photo Courtesy: Diamond Resorts Invitational

ORLANDO, Fla.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 January 14-16 at the Golden Bear Club in Windermere, Fla.

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.

Tournament week begins Wednesday, January 13 with the third annual Brian Gay Invitational, presented by Diamond Resorts International, an 18-hole celebrity-amateur competition featuring foursomes comprised of three amateurs and one celebrity. Gay, a PGA Tour player instrumental in establishing this major celebrity golf event, will be in Hawaii event week returning from injury to the PGA TOUR’s Sony Open.

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

With a $100,000 first prize at stake, the Diamond Resorts Invitational 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.

Golf Channel/Diamond Resorts Invitational programming schedule is:
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)

The tournament coverage will be replayed in primetime Monday, January 18 through Wednesday, January 20.

Full list of celebrities in the field, visit here