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Professional Golf Tournament Play Returns to Walt Disney World


From Walt Disney World’s conception until 2012, Professional Golf was a part of the resort’s fabric. First it was the Walt Disney World Open Invitation and it ended as the Children’s Miracle Network PGA Tour finale. However, when the Sponsor pulled out in 2012, Disney decided not to continue with the PGA event and the resort golf courses lot a little bit of cache.

Around the same time Disney actually gave away the Osprey Ridge Golf Course to attract the Four Seasons Luxury Resort to the property. And now, Four Seasons has become the host of the second annual Diamond Resorts Invitational bringing with PGA tour professionals and celebrities.

The event, which benefits the Florida Hospital for Children, will take place Jan. 13-15 at Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

The three-round event will be nationally televised on Golf Channel and will feature Champions Tour professionals competing alongside sports and entertainment celebrities for separate purses totaling $1.25 million.

The tournament will feature up to 30 PGA champions players and up to 50 top-tier athletes and celebrities in two distinct competitions. It will be scored similar to the PGA’s Barracuda Championship using a Modified Stableford scoring format that awards points instead of strokes.

Celebrity such as 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 will be among those participating in the invitational.

“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 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 tournament site, Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is unique to Central Florida for its varying elevation, abundant wildlife and protected wetlands. Originally built in 1992 and designed by Tom Fazio as Osprey Ridge, Fazio enhanced the Orlando golf course for its October 2014 launch as Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Orlando. The course is a par 71 and plays to 6,901 yards.

No word yet on if there will be public access to the course to watch the tournamnt. But Walt Disney World PGA events were never known for their huge galleys.