Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris (left) answers a question while broadcaster George Blaha and sports panel emcee Jeremy Schapp listen during the 2019 Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf and Tennis Invitational.
Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris (left) answers a question while broadcaster George Blaha and sports panel emcee Jeremy Schapp listen during the 2019 Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf and Tennis Invitational. (Sari Cicurel)

Invitational returns to a former home for 30th annual event.

There will be a 30th annual Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf and Tennis Invitational after all.

The milestone event was supposed to be held June 8, 2020, at Franklin Hills Country Club in Farmington Hills, but it was postponed to Sept. 14, 2020, by the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation because of the COVID-19 pandemic and later canceled.

It was the first time in the invitational’s history that it was canceled.

A new date of July 7, 2021, at Franklin Hills was announced last year. But the invitational won’t be held that day or at Franklin Hills.

It will be held Aug. 23 at Tam-O-Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield Township, the invitational’s home for many years before moving more than 10 years ago.

The invitational will look different than in past years, of course. There will be fewer attendees because of COVID-19 gathering restrictions and everything will be held outdoors.

And there will be no walk-ins for the dinner and sports panel. Dinner reservations must be made by Aug. 9.

“No walk-ins shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. We need to know how many people will be there so we can plan accordingly,” said Sari Cicurel, the foundation’s executive director.

“We normally get between 10 and 20 walk-ins,” Cicurel said. “Many will call or text me during the day of the invitational.”

The landscape of COVID-19 restrictions changes frequently, so Cicurel doesn’t feel comfortable predicting what might be happening in August in relation to the invitational.

“The bottom line is the foundation will follow Tam-O-Shanter’s rules,” she said. “Tam-O-Shanter gets its guidance from the state and CDC (Centers for Disease Control). We’re not going to jump over anybody. I feel very strongly that we will present a safe invitational.”

Cicurel said she’s knows the economic fallout from the pandemic may prevent some golfers and sponsors from participating in this year’s invitational, but she’s been pleased so far with the response from sponsors.

Some are taking out a new sponsorship after allowing the foundation to keep their sponsorship money last year, she said, and some have transferred their 2020 sponsorship to this year’s event.

The foundation made a smaller-than-usual donation from the invitational to the Karmanos Center Institute at the Lawrence and Idell Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center in Farmington Hills last year, Circurel said, but it was able to fully fund the Dr. Steven and Evelyn Rosen Stars of Tomorrow scholarships.

The invitational is the major source of funding for the scholarships.

One reason for the postponement and cancellation of last year’s invitational was Franklin Hills’ decision not to host non-member events.

With that roadblock still in place this year, foundation officials turned to Tam-O-Shanter to host the invitational.

“We could have had a June date at Tam-O-Shanter, but I didn’t trust June. I’m more comfortable with August,” Circurel said, expressing concerns about COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re very happy with the Tam-O-Shanter staff. They have been exceptional to work with,” she said.

The 2020 invitational award winners will instead receive their awards in 2021.

They are Hall of Fame relief pitcher Goose Gossage, CBS News correspondent and 11-time Emmy Award winner Armen Keteyian, and the Grenader family and Camp Mak-A-Dream, a camp in Montana for children with cancer and their families founded by the late Harry and Sylvia Grenader of Beverly Hills.

Gossage will receive the Hank Greenberg Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award, Keteyian will receive the Dick Schapp Memorial Award for Excellence in Media, and the Grenader family and Camp Mak-A-Dream will receive the Barry Bremen Memorial Inspiration Award.

ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap is expected to be the emcee for the awards presentations and sports panel at the dinner, which also includes a raffle, live auction and door prizes.

With everything being held outdoors, Cicurel isn’t allowing a certain four-letter meteorological word that starts with “R” to enter her vocabulary.

“I always have a Plan B for the invitational,” she said. “But all I’m focusing on now is Plan A.”

For sponsorships and information, contact Cicurel at (248) 766-0945 or sari.cicurel@gmail.com.