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Sports stars visit patients at Florida Hospital for Children to kick off Diamond Resorts Invitational golf tournament

Florida Hospital for Children patients got a few golf pointers from athletes such as John Smoltz, Mark Rypien, Michael Waltrip and Marcus Allen in a friendly round of putt-putt Tuesday, as the star athletes visited the hospital to kick off the 2018 Diamond Resorts Invitational.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational has raised more than $2 million for Florida Hospital for Children since 2013.

“We are so grateful for Diamond Resorts International and their commitment to Florida Hospital for Children, our patients, and helping advance pediatric medicine,” said Marla Silliman, senior executive officer of Florida Hospital for Children. “This important fundraiser puts some of our sickest patients on the road to healing and helps us continually improve our care.”

Each year, star athletes and celebrities visit patients and their families, and this year’s visit featured baseball players Reggie Jackson, Gaylord Perry, Johnny Damon and John Smoltz; LPGA golfer Brittany Lincicome; former NFL stars Mark Rypien, Marcus Allen and Ryan Longwell; NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip; Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty,” and comedian Larry the Cable Guy.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational will be held Friday through Sunday at the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Orlando.

“It is an honor to have Florida Hospital for Children as the beneficiary for our premiere event, the Diamond Resorts Invitational,” said Mike Flaskey, chief executive officer of Diamond Resorts International. “The hospital does incredible work, and since the beginning of our partnership we have been able to see the impact that our combined efforts have had on helping save the lives of so many children.” 

For media inquiries only, contact Florida Hospital Corporate Communications at 407-303-5950 or email