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FOR RELEASE: February 25, 2021

CONTACT: Emily Tillo, THE PLAYERS Championship,

“Food is Love”

TPC Sawgrass chefs prepare special meal for Ronald McDonald House families in demonstration of THE PLAYERS’ commitment to donate food from the 2021 championship


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – With less than 15 days to go until THE PLAYERS Championship, final preparations are underway to host players, guests and fans at the PGA TOUR’s flagship event. This is an especially busy time of year for TPC Sawgrass chefs as the clubhouse prepares to host and serve players and attendees. However, that did not stop TPC Sawgrass Senior Executive Chef Azhar Mohammad and his team from traveling to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville with cars full of fresh food to prepare a meal for its residents.

“Food is love, and being able to welcome people into our kitchen is one of the sincerest things you can do,” said Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville Executive Chef Vernetta Stewart. “To take time to service another kitchen or meal program speaks volumes to Chef Azhar and his team’s commitment.”

This marks a second time within the last year that Mohammad and his team traveled from their Ponte Vedra Beach clubhouse to share and serve meals with vulnerable citizens. Joined by PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, THE PLAYERS staff and volunteers, the team spent the morning of Saturday, March 14, 2020, serving prepared meals from THE PLAYERS to Sulzbacher Center residents.

Immediately following cancellation of THE PLAYERS 2020, supported by Proud Partners (Grant Thornton, Optum, Morgan Stanley), the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse and tournament caterers (Par Caterers and Proof of the Pudding) donated more than 22 tons of food, valued at nearly $700,000, to Feeding Northeast Florida. One year later, this practice will continue as the caterers and clubhouse have teamed up, committing to again share food from THE PLAYERS with Feeding Northeast Florida. PGA TOUR pro Billy Horschel, who participated in last year’s food donations, will once again host his #DriveOutHunger campaign for Feeding Northeast Florida, donating $1000 for every birdie and $5000 for every eagle that he makes during THE PLAYERS.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville was one of the social service agencies within the Feeding Northeast Florida network that received fresh food from the 2020 tournament. This nonprofit organization offers a “home away from home” for children and their families who must travel to Jacksonville for pediatric medical care, by providing lodging, services and prepared meals. Family dinners, prepared by the House’s residents, community partners and/or the House’s full-time Executive Chef are a central to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville’s services.

The meal prepared by TPC Sawgrass chefs with Ronald McDonald House chef Vernetta Stewart will be served to guests within THE PLAYERS Club hospitality experience at the 2021 championship:

  • Salad: Heirloom Grain Salad, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, herbs, dried fruits
  • Main: Smoked and BBQ Brisket, aged cheddar and burnt ends mac and cheese, garlic green beans, mango BBQ sauce
  • Dessert: Black forest cake

“As chefs, we want to be a part of the community and help as much as we can, and that has been the focus with TPC, THE PLAYERS and the PGA TOUR,” said TPC Sawgrass Senior Executive Chef Azhar Mohammad. “As Commissioner Monahan said following the cancellation of the 2020 PLAYERS, during times like these, you have to think from the heart and not from the mind. That’s what we did and will continue to do.”

“The food donated by TPC Sawgrass clubhouse and tournament caterers last year literally saved lives,” said Susan King, President and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “We are seeing the increased need for food assistance continue into 2021 so this partnership means a great deal to us. Billy Horschel and TPC have been a longtime supporters of our work and we are thankful for their efforts to help us provide hope and nourishment to our neighbors in need.”

“THE PLAYERS’ commitment to the community of Jacksonville is extraordinary,” said Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville Executive Director Diane Boyle. “We know the chefs are so busy right now preparing for THE PLAYERS, and the fact that they stepped away from their kitchen, and all of the planning and focus that’s going on right now, and thought about us and our families here, means the world to us.”

B-ROLL: Click here (please credit PGA TOUR)

  • 00:00-09:18 – B-roll of meal preparation
  • 09:30-10:30 – Allyson and her mom pick up their meal from the chefs
  • 10:40-11:10 – Interview with Allyson and her mother about the services Ronald McDonald House provides
  • 11:15-13:30 – Interview with TPC Sawgrass Senior Executive Chef Azhar Mohammad
  • 13:30-15:45 – Interview with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville Executive Chef Vernetta Stewart
  • 15:50-18:19 – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville Executive Director Diane Boyle


Click here for images you can use for editorial purposes.

From left to right:

Chef Vernetta Stewart, TPC Sawgrass Banquet Chef Michael Cowan, TPC Sawgrass Senior Executive Chef Azhar Mohammad, Allyson, Allyson’s mom, TPC Sawgrass Food and Beverage Director Tyler Hagin



About THE PLAYERS Championship

THE PLAYERS Championship annually combines the strongest field in golf with the world-class venue that is THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Grant Thornton LLP, Optum® and Morgan Stanley are the exclusive Proud Partners of THE PLAYERS. Proceeds from THE PLAYERS benefit Northeast Florida charities and have totaled more than $100 million since it began in 1974 and moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977. For more on THE PLAYERS, visit For more on the surrounding areas, visit or


About Grant Thornton LLP

Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton, which has revenues in excess of $1.9 billion and operates more than 50 offices, works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations.

“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see for further details.


About Optum

Optum is a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone. With more than 180,000 people worldwide, Optum delivers intelligent, integrated solutions that help to modernize the health system and improve overall population health. Optum is part of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). For more information, visit


About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 42 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit