Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona Latest Entry For Inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational

New celebrity golf tournament, Jan. 14-16 in Orlando, boasts powerful MLB contingent prior to spring training

Dec 22, 2015, 11:30 ET from Diamond Resorts Invitational

WINDERMERE, Fla., Dec. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two-time World Series-champion manager Terry Francona will compete next month in the Diamond Resorts Invitational ( benefiting Florida Hospital for Children.  The newly-minted celebrity golf tournament is set for Jan. 14-16 in Windermere, Fla, comfortably in advance of spring training, allowing a strong lineup of active Major League Baseball players into the field.  

Francona joins over 70 stars from sports and entertainment competing for $500,000 in prize money at The Golden Bear Club in Windermere, Fla., near Orlando.  The competition, 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 week's activities will include the Jan. 13 Brian Gay Invitational celeb-amateur competition and a Saturday night gala with a fundraising auction for Florida Hospital for Children.

The lineup of current MLB players includes 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.  Cy Young Award-winner Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees starting catcher Brian McCann will be competing along with A.J. Pierzynski of the Atlanta Braves.

The MLB connection continues with the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame pitching contingent of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine; baseball greats Reggie Jackson, Roger Clemens and Gaylord Perry.  Others in the field are Super Bowl MVPs Jerry Rice, Marcus Allen, Richard Dent and Mark Rypien; ESPN college football expert and former NFL quarterback Danny Kanell; and entertainers Josh Owen, Larry The Cable Guy and Colt Ford.

Francona, from Aberdeen, South Dakota, took over as manager of the Cleveland Indians in 2013 following successful stints as skipper of the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox, winning the World Series with Boston in '04 and '07.  His accomplishments with the Red Sox during those world championship years include an unprecedented run of eight consecutive game wins – four straight over the New York Yankees to bounce back from a 0-3 deficit and capture the '04 crown, and a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies enroute to the '07 title.  Francona was named American League Manager of the Year during his first season in Cleveland.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is a coveted invitation among top-tier celebrity golfers because of the pro tour-level format of the 54-hole competition.  The tournament will use 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 the Golf Channel live TV cameras.


SOURCE Diamond Resorts Invitational