Celebs, sports stars to tee it up for charity

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  • | 7:20 a.m. October 22, 2015
  • Southwest Orange
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WINDERMERE A new-and-improved celebrity golf tournament is coming to Windermere.

The inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational celebrity golf tournament will tee off Jan. 14 to 16, 2016, at the Golden Bear Club in Keene’s Pointe. The event, announced Oct. 14, will benefit Florida Hospital for Children and will feature 70 sports and entertainment personalities competing for a $500,000 purse. The Invitational is an evolution of sorts of the Brian Gay Invitational from the past two years.

Dr. Phillips alumnus Johnny Damon is among the early sign-ups for the tournament. Others include Jerry Rice, Reggie Jackson, Roger Clemens, Larry the Cable Guy and Brian Gay — a PGA Tour player and Windermere resident.

“I live here in Orlando and know how important the Florida Hospital for Children is for this community,” Damon said. “The charity fundraising aspect is critical.”

The event is slated for live coverage on Golf Channel, and organizers are hopeful it will be a first-class event — and an annual occurrence.

“We plan to make this celebrity golf tournament a world-class event,” said Michael Flaskey, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for Diamond Resorts International. “This tournament reflects what we do best.”

While the official event will take place Jan. 14 to 16, 2016, the festivities will begin Jan. 13 with the third-annual Brian Gay Invitational. That event has raised $1.2 million for Florida Hospital for Children in just the past two years and will be an 18-hole competition featuring foursomes comprising three amateurs and one celebrity — with the top 10 amateurs being invited to play the next three days alongside the celebrity field. 

The tournament 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.

Organizers said they have interest from more than 100 celebrities for the last 30 available spots. In addition to raising funds for a good cause here in Central Florida, organizers also intended for it to be a memorable occasion for all those who attend as spectators.

“Over the next few months we’ll be finalizing the field with major entertainers, active stars from baseball, football and other sports, along with popular area personalities,” said Flaskey. “Our players will be approachable celebrities for fans, sponsors and media.”

To learn more about the inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational, visit the event’s website at diamondresortsinvitational.com.

Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].


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