WINDERMERE, Fla., Dec. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Major League Baseball (MLB) stars Justin Verlander and Brian McCann have committed to play next month in the Diamond Resorts Invitational (www.diamondresortsinvitational.com) benefiting Florida Hospital for Children, joining a standout group of active major leaguers competing in the first-time event.
Verlander and McCann join a field of over 70 stars from sports and entertainment competing for $500,000 in prize money from Jan. 13-16 at the Golden Bear Club in Windermere, Fla., near Orlando. The newly-minted tournament, airing live on Golf Channel, will be contested over three days among America's top celebrity golfers with a $100,000 first prize at stake. The four-day event will include the Brian Gay Invitational celeb-amateur competition and a Saturday night gala with a fundraising auction for Florida Hospital for Children.
The active MLB contingent is led by Josh Donaldson, this year's American League Most Valuable Player, and Jose Bautista, the Toronto Blue Jays teammates who form the top slugging tandem in the game. Other active major leaguers in the field are A.J. Pierzynski and Bud Norris, both of the Atlanta Braves.
Also set to tee off at the Golden Bear Club are 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 Johnny Damon, Reggie Jackson, Roger Clemens and Gaylord Perry; and entertainers Larry The Cable Guy and Colt Ford.
Verlander, from Manakin-Sabot, Va., has been pitching for the Detroit Tigers since his debut in 2005. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 2006, and emerged as the league MVP and Cy Young winner in 2011. A six-time All-Star, the right-hander has appeared in two World Series (2006, '12) and has two no-hitters ('07, '11). He owns a career record of 157-97 with a 3.52 ERA and 1,943 strikeouts.
McCann, from Athens, Ga., is the starting catcher for the New York Yankees. Before finding a home in New York, he played for the Atlanta Braves where he received the Silver Slugger award six times and was named an All-Star seven times. McCann's lifetime batting average is .268 with 225 home runs and 830 RBI.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is a coveted invitation because of the pro tour-level format of the 54-hole competition utilizing a Modified Stableford scoring system with players receiving six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, none for bogey and minus-two for double bogey or worse.
Tournament week competition begins on Wednesday, Jan. 13, with the Brian Gay Invitational presented by Diamond Resorts International®, a celebrity-amateur, 18-hole Stableford golf competition featuring foursomes comprised of three amateurs paired with one celebrity. The top ten amateurs will advance to play alongside the celebrities Thursday through Saturday before galleries and live TV cameras.
Information about tickets to the event for the public is available at www.diamondresortsinvitational.com.
SOURCE Diamond Resorts Invitational