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.
"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, 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.
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. The course is a par 71 and plays to 6,901 yards.
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SOURCE Diamond Resorts Invitational