By Steve Stein
One of the area’s most iconic and popular annual fundraisers has a new name.
It’s now the Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf and Tennis Invitational. The 29th annual edition will be Monday, June 3, at Franklin Hills Country Club in Farmington Hills.
Tennis has been added to the day’s activities. Actually, re-added. It’s been gone for more than 10 years.
“We want to grow the invitational, attract a wider audience and make it affordable for everyone. That’s why we brought tennis back,” said Sari Cicurel, executive director of the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation, which presents the invitational.
“Tennis is back for good; we’re not adding it as a pilot program,” Cicurel said. “We think it will do well this year and even better in the future. Tennis is in the invitational’s name again, and it won’t play second fiddle to golf.”
Cicurel said she thinks tennis will be a viable option for those who can’t miss a full day of work to participate in the invitational. The tennis portion will be in the afternoon, just before the dinner and its award presentations and sports panel.
The golf portion of the invitational normally sells out. Cicurel is confident tennis will become just as popular.
“I’m not sure why tennis was dropped, but I’m glad it’s back and so is the foundation board,” Cicurel said.
The foundation made another big announcement last week, naming the winners of the invitational’s awards.
Jack Morris, former Detroit Tigers pitcher, 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and now TV analyst for Tigers games on FOX Sports Detroit, will receive the Hank Greenberg Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Dick Schapp Memorial Award for Media Excellence will be presented to George Blaha, radio and television play-by-play man for the Detroit Pistons since the 1976-77 NBA season and longtime play-by-play radio man for Michigan State University football.
Philanthropist and humanitarian Danialle Karmanos will be presented the Barry Bremen Memorial Inspiration Award. Among her credentials is the founding of the Karmanos Center for Natural Childbirth at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, a center that offers natural home birth in a medical setting.
The foundation also announced last week that ticket sales for its annual raffle for two tickets to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., are on sale. Raffle tickets are $100 each and only 200 will be sold.
The drawing for tickets to the 2020 Masters (either Saturday, April 11, or Sunday, April 12) plus amenities will be held during the invitational dinner. The winner doesn’t have to be present to win.
To reserve a spot to play golf or tennis at the invitational, attend the dinner, become a sponsor or purchase a raffle ticket, contact Cicurel at (248) 592-9323 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to michiganjewishsports.org.
The invitational is a fundraiser for the Karmanos Cancer Institute at Lawrence and Idell Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center in Farmington Hills.