LPGA Tour’s winners-only tournament also features top-tier celebrities like John Smoltz, Ray Allen, Jeremy Roenick and Larry the Cable Guy
OCT. 9, 2019 (ORLANDO, Fla.) – Diamond Resorts®, a global leader in the hospitality, vacation ownership and entertainment industries, announces that Aaron Stewart has accepted the role of Vice President of Sports Marketing. Stewart, who is based in Orlando, Fla., will also serve as Executive Director of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, overseeing all aspects of the LPGA Tour event.
Aaron is the son of late PGA Tour icon and World Golf Hall of Famer Payne Stewart, who won 11 PGA Tour events, including three major championships. Prior to joining Diamond Resorts, Aaron Stewart had followed in his father’s footsteps of playing golf at the collegiate level and was Team Captain for the Southern Methodist University men’s golf program.
Upon graduating from SMU, Stewart chose to utilize his degree in the corporate world where he was first introduced to the Diamond Marketing Mentorship Program – a nine-month-long rigorous apprenticeship program designed to develop young professionals into marketing leadership positions.
After finishing the program, Stewart grew in the company and served as a National OPC Program Manager, and then Regional Marketing Director before taking a brief hiatus from the company to travel and explore the world. He returned to Diamond Resorts in March 2019 as Director of National Partnerships, becoming an integral member of the team that is responsible for the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.
Now in its second year, the tournament opens the LPGA Tour’s season and will be played Jan. 16-19, 2020, on Tranquilo Golf Course at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando. Only LPGA winners from the previous two seasons will qualify to compete in the tournament alongside a roster of top-tier sports and entertainment celebrities.
Early celebrity commitments include: defending champion and MLB Hall of Famer John Smoltz; two-time NBA champion Ray Allen; nine-time NHL All-Star Jeremy Roenick; former top-ranked American tennis pro Mardy Fish; seven-time Cy Young Award Winner Roger Clemens; legendary Melrose Place actor Jack Wagner; and comedian Larry the Cable Guy. Past celebrity fields have included Hall of Famers, All-Stars and entertainment superstars, including Justin Verlander, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Josh Donaldson, Jerry Rice, Brian Urlacher, Marcus Allen, Larry Fitzgerald, Cole Swindell, Lee Brice and Alfonso Ribeiro.
LPGA player commitments will be announced closer to the tournament date.
“We created the Diamond Marketing Mentorship Program to find and develop talented leaders like Aaron,” said Mike Flaskey, Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Resorts. “With his drive and passion for Sports Marketing, we are confident in his abilities to oversee the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions as the unique event’s Executive Director. I am also personally excited to watch him continue to grow, and know the tournament will succeed under his leadership.”
The LPGA players will play 72-holes over four days, no cut, for a $1.2 million purse, while the celebrities will compete utilizing a modified Stableford format for a separate $500,000 purse. LPGA professional Eun Hee Ji and baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz won the inaugural event in 2019. Smoltz is confirmed to return to the 2020 tournament to defend his title and Ji is qualified to play.
Diamond Resorts has been sponsoring golf tournaments since 2013, when PGA TOUR professional Brian Gay offered to lend his name to the inaugural event to help raise money for Florida Hospital for Children. The tournament saw instant success and grew into a PGA TOUR Champions Challenge Season event – the Diamond Resorts Invitational – for 2017 and 2018, before becoming the current Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions for 2019.
By including a select group of LPGA athletes in the Diamond Resorts Invitational field a relationship between Diamond and the LPGA Tour was created. Additionally, Diamond is a proud sponsor of LPGA star Brittany Lincicome.
As the tournament has grown, philanthropy remains a key component with proceeds from live and silent auctions benefitting nominated charities. To date, the tournament has helped raise more than $3.5 million for charity.
To learn more about the tournament and its history, visit www.DiamondLPGA.com.
Tickets will be available for public purchase in October 2019. Fans will also be able to catch the action on Golf Channel on Thursday and Friday, and on NBC on Saturday and Sunday.
About Diamond Resorts
Diamond Resorts offers destinations, events and experiences to help members make a habit of breaking from the routine. From unforgettable getaways to exclusive concert series to VIP receptions and dinners, members turn to Diamond to recharge, reconnect and remind each other what matters most. Our focus on quality resorts, customer service and flexibility means members can return to a favorite resort, book a cruise to explore new countries or attend a once-in-a-lifetime event with the same level of confidence and anticipation. With access to a world of entertainment and activities, a Diamond membership ensures that people are always looking forward to vacation.