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Overview

We strongly believe it is our responsibility to be good corporate citizens in the communities where we live, work, and host one of the world’s most recognized sporting events–THE PLAYERS Championship. Thanks to support from volunteers led by a team of Red Coats, our Proud Partners (Grant Thornton LLP, Optum® and Morgan Stanley), sponsors, vendors, business and civic leaders, media and fans, THE PLAYERS partners with 300+ non-profit organizations throughout the year to help strengthen and improve the lives of citizens and communities throughout Northeast Florida.

Over the past 40+ years, THE PLAYERS has generated more than $100 million to support non-profit organizations in communities within the five-county area (Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties).

While hundreds of community-based groups, organizations and institutions benefit from THE PLAYERS’ funding and support, priority consideration is given to nonprofit organizations committed to serving and promoting youth services, education, character development, health, wellness and sports and military support.

Charities of the Day

Tuesday-Sunday

To give local organizations a way to raise their profile during tournament week, THE PLAYERS designates a different charity as “Charity of the Day” from Tuesday through Sunday.  

Tuesday –  Fire Watch

The Fire Watch is Northeast Florida’s fight to end veteran suicide. It was formed in November 2019 by Baker County, Clay County, Nassau County, St. Johns County and the City of Jacksonville (together, the “Counties”) to create and implement a comprehensive solution to reduce Veteran suicide in Northeast Florida. The Counties are home to over 1,500,000 residents and 150,000 U.S. military Veterans. In addition, recent national reports show that suicide rates among military members are rising at historic levels. Experts attribute the isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic to the alarming rise. In northeast Florida, data averages reveal that one military member commits suicide each week.

Fire Watch aims to combats veteran suicide in two ways. First, it coordinates local resources with its veteran service partners to assist veterans in crisis. Second, it is mobilizing a Watch Stander network of 10,000+ community members to learn to identify the risk signs of veterans in crisis and to direct those veterans to the help and resources they need. The Watch Stander program started in May 2020. To be a Watch Stander, citizens or veterans will need to under a 45 minute training process, inclusive of viewing 2 or 3 short training videos, exploring a guide of resources available to veterans, and signing a pledge of commitment to “to stand watch and to save lives.”  

Wednesday – Nemours Children’s Health System 

Nemours Children’s Health System is an internationally recognized children’s health system that owns and operates the two free-standing children’s hospitals: the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., and Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Fla., along with outpatient facilities in five states, delivering pediatric primary, specialty and urgent care. Nemours also powers the world’s most-visited website for information on the health of children and teens, KidsHealth.org, and offers on-demand, online video patient visits through Nemours CareConnect. Nemours ReadingBrightstart.org is a program dedicated to preventing reading failure in young children, grounded in Nemours’ understanding that child health and learning are inextricably linked, and that reading level is a strong predictor of adult health.

Thursday – Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation

Serving as liaison between St. Vincent’s HealthCare and its most generous family of donors, the Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation provides funding for community healthcare outreach programs across Northeast Florida.  These programs, including St. Vincent’s award-winning Mobile Health Outreach Ministry, serve children and families in our area who are struggling most by providing free healthcare, education and hope.  The Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation has partnered with THE PLAYERS since 1994, and in 2017 THE PLAYERS sponsored a new Mobile Health medical van.

Friday – Book Trust

Book Trust’s mission is to help elementary school children with little/no access to books fall in love with reading and become lifelong learners. With Book Trust, students learn the power of choice and the pride of ownership, and students’ reading levels and academic performance improve, motivating them to succeed. Book Trust believes that Choice, Consistency and Celebration, along with access to books, create a world in which literacy removes barriers and provides all children with tools to navigate life successfully.

Saturday – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Jacksonville supports the health and well-being of children by providing lodging and other services for critically ill, chronically ill and seriously injured children and their families. It offers a “home away from home” for children and their families who must travel to Jacksonville for pediatric medical care. Each family receives vital services such as meals and transportation and the compassionate care of our staff and other families who are facing similar challenges.

Sunday – Feeding Northeast Florida

Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL) is the region’s largest nonprofit (501c3) food bank and hunger relief network. Alongside its network of agency partners, Feeding Northeast Florida provides food and renewed hope to an estimated 326,000 people living in the 8-county (Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns) service area who struggle to feed themselves and their families.

Since 2005, THE PLAYERS has supported Feeding Northeast Florida. Most recently, in 2018, THE PLAYERS began a $500,000 commitment to help this non-profit ensure one of the most basic human needs is met. For every $1 donated, Feeding Northeast Florida can provide 6 meals. Therefore, the $500,000 grant equates to 3 million meals for those in need.

Immediately following the cancellation of the 2020 PLAYERS, PGA TOUR pro and Feeding Northeast Florida ambassador Billy Horschel and his family joined THE PLAYERS, tournament caterers (Par and Proof of the Pudding) and TPC Sawgrass chefs to load and donate more than 22 tons of food, equaling 17,401 meals, to Feeding Northeast Florida.

Military Appreciation

THE PLAYERS Championship has a long-standing commitment to honoring our Northeast Florida military members, veterans and their families. While on-site celebratory activities for 2021 have been amended to reflect safety standards and protocols, we maintain our commitment to honoring the brave men and women who protect and preserve our freedoms.

In support of heightened military restrictions limiting large gatherings and adherence to comprehensive health and safety protocols, THE PLAYERS 2021 will not include a Military Appreciation ceremony, concert, nor hospitality venue (Patriots Outpost) that traditionally hosts thousands of military members and their families.

Even though on-site celebratory activities have changed, THE PLAYERS maintains its commitment to welcoming northeast Florida military members.

Tickets

Complimentary admission will be provided to active duty, retired, reserve, and National Guard members and one dependent on Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10, while supplies last. Valid identification and credentials are required.

Veterans with valid identification will receive discounted admission on Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10 (Limited to 2 tickets per veteran per day, while supplies last).

Visit THEPLAYERS.com/tickets (Military dropdown icon) to access the verification system. Upon verification, a voucher will be issued for each day (Tuesday and/or Wednesday) that must be printed and redeemed at an off-site Will Call location, which has a NEW address in 2021:

Sawgrass Village Building 1
13000 Sawgrass Village Circle Building 1
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

Please note that NO VOUCHERS will be redeemed at on-site entry gates. All vouchers MUST be redeemed at Will Call. Valid identification required.

NOTE: Parking is not included in the complimentary, or discounted, ticket for military.  Parking passes are required each day, Tuesday-Sunday, and can be purchased at THEPLAYERS.com/parking

Military Appreciation Day – Tuesday, March 9: #Match4Military Campaign

Each year, THE PLAYERS designates the Tuesday of tournament week as Military Appreciation Day in order to honor and recognize the brave men and women who are serving, and have served, our country, especially those who call Northeast Florida home. 

While on-site celebrations will look different in 2021, THE PLAYERS remains committed to supporting military members, veterans and their families.

They need us now more than ever. COVID-19 has had a significant negative impact on the lives of military members and their families. Statistics reveal that suicides among military members are rising as a result of the isolation and challenges of the pandemic. In northeast Florida, data averages reveal that one military member commits suicide each week.

To help address these needs and the many others faced by our military members, THE PLAYERS is coordinating a one-day, concentrated fundraising effort, #Match4Military, on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

THE PLAYERS will launch this day-long challenge with a commitment to match, dollar for dollar, all community donations up to $250,000, with all proceeds going to support military organizations in Northeast Florida. 

In addition to financial support, citizens can also contribute by signing up to become a Watch Stander (see above), and help Fire Watch, a recognized military collaborative/nonprofit, in reaching its goal of recruiting 10,000 Jacksonville citizens by the end of 2021 to become Watch Standers.

Instructions on how to donate to #Match4Military will be shared on THEPLAYERS.com. 

Flyover Tradition Continues

The annual tradition of a flyover on Military Appreciation Day will continue in 2021 on Tuesday, March 9 and will feature the 125th Fighter Wing. 

Details about the exact flight plan will be shared soon via THE PLAYERS social channels. 

 

Dining discounts for military members 

During the week of THE PLAYERS (March 9-14), several restaurants in Northeast Florida will be providing military members and veterans with a dining discount, including the below. Valid military ID is required in order to receive the discount. Look for a PLAYERS Military Appreciation logo in the windows of participating restaurants, and visit each restaurant’s website for more information. 

  • Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q: Thursday through Sunday 20% discount for military and families
  • Woody’s Bar-B-Q (Ponte Vedra Beach location): A special menu, where a 50% discount will be applied to all military members with valid identification and their families during the week of THE PLAYERS Championship, March 9-14th.
  • Applebee’s: 10% discount for Jacksonville and St. Augustine locations
  • Bonefish: complimentary bang bang shrimp for military members with valid identification, limited to 1 per table, at either location the week of the tournament (10950 San Jose Blvd., Suite 52 and 2400 3rd St. S., Jacksonville Beach)
  • Tropical Smoothie: At the Ponte Vedra and Bartran locations, Military members and families who buy a food item, excluding kids wrap and side item, will get a free smoothie.
  • Cousins Maine Lobster: 10% discount all year round for all active duty military members, veterans and law enforcement!
  • 4 Rivers: 10% discount all year round!

Operation Shower

Sunday, February 28 (12 p.m. -2 p.m.)
Drive-Through Shower at TPC Sawgrass

reparing for the addition of a new little one is both exciting and stressful, and for moms-to-be whose spouses are deployed or soon-to-be deployed, the experience is even more challenging.  The isolation and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic have only heightened these challenges. Even though on-site military appreciation initiatives will look different at THE PLAYERS this year, the tournament and Operation Shower are committed to celebrating and honoring military moms-to-be by continuing the longstanding tradition of hosting a baby shower ahead of THE PLAYERS for these special military mothers.  

Operation Shower’s typical in-person, elaborately designed experience will be re-imagined as a drive-in shower to ensure the moms have a safe and fun experience. 40 moms from Northeast Florida military bases will drive to TPC Sawgrass for the “A Star is Born”-themed baby shower, remaining in their vehicles while they are treated to a unique drive-in experience including games, surprises and a film presentation with executive production by OptumServe, the federal health services business of Optum, Proud Partner of THE PLAYERS. 

Each of the moms will also be showered with gifts, including Operation Shower’s signature Showers In A Box. In addition, they will receive an array of unique, high-quality products and gift items for mothers and babies from companies including Chicco, the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation, Wubbanub, OptumServe, Optum Store, and UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation.  Supporting Sponsors of the event include the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation, Chicco, OptumServe and Birdies for the Brave. Lunch will also be provided by Firehouse Subs.  

Military Job Fair presented by United Rentals 

Saturday, March 6 (10 a.m.-1 p.m.)

The Grove; THE PLAYERS Welcome Experience

THE PLAYERS, in partnership with the Jacksonville Military Veterans Coalition, will host its tenth annual Military Job Fair presented by United Rentals. New in 2021, the job fair will be located outdoors in The Grove, which is located just steps away from THE PLAYERS Welcome Experience. Guests must park in the general parking lot off CR 210. 

The Military Job Fair is free and open to military personnel, veterans and military spouses. 25 companies with existing job opportunities will be on-hand. 

Events

Health Equity Panel 

Friday, March 5 (10:00 a.m.)- Virtual Live Stream

THE PLAYERS is convening and facilitating a discussion with health experts to discuss how to improve health disparities and inequities in Northeast Florida. 

Place Matters: Understanding Conditions that Influence Health

Zip codes often define the health outcomes of citizens and communities. Learn from leaders championing efforts to improve health disparities and inequities in northeast Florida.  

Moderator: Charles Griggs, 100 Black Men of America Board Member

Panelists: 

  • Michael Currie, Chief Health Equity Officer, UnitedHealth Group.
  • Megan Denk, THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health/Board Chair, Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition  
  • David Garfunkel, CEO, Lift Jax
  • Leon Haley, CEO, UF Health
  • Laureen Husband, Director, Public Policy and Community Engagement

 

Morgan Stanley Eagles for Impact

Thursday, March 11 through Sunday, March 14

Morgan Stanley is excited to be back at THE PLAYERS Championship celebrating great shots by giving back with the Eagles for Impact Challenge! As a proud partner of THE PLAYERS Championship, Morgan Stanley, along with brand ambassador Justin Rose, is returning with the Eagles for Impact Challenge benefiting Book Trust.

Now in its fifth year, Morgan Stanley has donated over $1 million dollars through the Eagles for Impact initiative and is excited to further the impact as more eagles are made this year.

For every eagle made this year, Morgan Stanley will make a donation of 1,500 books to Book Trust, a non-profit organization, working to encourage students to become lifelong readers and learners.

Book Trust is committed to serving all children who can benefit from greater access to books and book ownership. Book Trust helps remove barriers to literacy by equipping children to choose, take home, and love their own books – encouraging them to become lifelong readers and learners.

Track our progress and root on the players by following the hashtag #EagleUp us on Twitter & Instagram throughout the tournament.

We also recognize we are living through extraordinary and unsettling times. In response to the pandemic, Morgan Stanley donated over $29 million in the form of grant distributions to 70 nonprofits, including organizations focused on healthcare response, hunger relief, mental health, and organizations supporting workers & vulnerable populations.

Billy Horschel’s #DriveOutHunger campaign for Feeding Northeast Florida

Ongoing initiative through Sunday, March 14

5-time PGA TOUR winner, 2014 FedExCup champion and Ponte Vedra Beach resident Billy Horschel once again will host his #DriveOutHunger campaign for Feeding Northeast Florida.

He will donate $1000 for every birdie and $5000 for every eagle that he makes during THE PLAYERS to Feeding Northeast Florida. 

Horschel is encouraging fans and supporters to do their part by going to www.feedingnefl.org clicking on “take action” choosing “Billy Horschel’s #DriveOutHunger Campaign” and then selecting their donation amount.

Training U powered by CDW

Wednesday, March 10 (9:30 am to 2:30 pm) – Sawgrass Marriott, followed by course tour

Training “U” powered by CDW is a sports and business education forum that introduces high school student-athletes to career opportunities beyond the sport. 35 student-athletes from public schools in Duval and St. Johns County will learn about the wide variety of jobs available in the sports industry through this experience, which will include:

  • “Beyond the Sport” panel featuring Michael Collins, former PGA TOUR caddie and ESPN golf analyst; Donna Orender, former president of the WNBA/founder, Generation W; MaliVai Washington, former Wimbledon finalist/Founder, Mal Washington Youth Foundation; and Shannon Miller, 7x Olympic gymnast and business owner. 
  • College & Career Corner featuring industry/sports organizations as well as exhibitors from state universities
  • “Fireside with Firsts” discussion during the lunch hour, featuring: Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin, the first female president in PGA TOUR history; PGA TOUR Marketing Manager Sara Diaz and PGA TOUR Data Analyst Drake Mosley, alumni of First Tee.
  • Course tour, led by PGA TOUR employees from CORE, the PGA TOUR’s employee resource group that aims to assist in the evolution of culture change. 

THE PLAYERS Championship Caddie Competition in memory of Bruce Edwards

Wednesday, March 10

THE PLAYERS Championship Caddie Competition in memory of Bruce Edwards is a closest to the pin competition on Wednesday of tournament week at the 17th hole. This is a great tradition unique to THE PLAYERS and one that provides an added layer of entertainment for the fans, players and caddies alike.  The competition is named to honor Tom Watson’s longtime caddie and friend Bruce Edwards, who passed away in 2004 from ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”   

 The winning caddie will receive all player contributions to the pot, a personalized money clip with his name engraved on it and a designated parking spot in the players parking lot.

Fans can keep track of how the caddies are doing, as closest-to-the-pin information will be provided on the leaderboards surrounding No. 17, and in addition to the prize money, the winning caddie will receive a VIP parking spot in the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse lot, Thursday-Sunday of THE PLAYERS.

Past results of the Caddie Competition:

Past results:

Year

Caddie

Distance to Pin

PGA TOUR Player

2000

Ben Englebrecht

5 feet 7.5 inches

Steve Flesch

  2001 (tie)

Brian Smith & Ken Comboy

6 feet 3 inches

John Huston & Thomas Bjorn

    2002

Corby Segal

2 feet 10 inches

Brent Geiberger

2003

Chris Donald

9 feet 1 inch

Luke Donald

2004

Robert Ames

4 feet 6 inches

Stephen Ames

2005

Chris Jones

1 foot 4 inches

Mark WIlson

2006

Nick Helwig

6 feet

Hank Kuehne

2007

Ray Farnell

5 feet 3 inches

Greg Owen

2008

Jeff Willett

1 foot 5 inches

Brian Bateman

2009

Garerth Lord

6 feet 1 inches

Robert Karlsson

2010

Jorge Camarra

2 feet 6 inches

Francesco Molinari

2011

Anthony Knight

9 feet 11 inches

Aaron Baddeley

2012

Brent Henley

3 feet 7 inches

Robert Garrigus

2013

James Walton

4 feet 7 inches 

Y.E. Yang

2014

Chris Callas

7 feet 8 inches

Shawn Stefani

2015

Michael Hartford

3 feet 7 inches

Pat Perez

2016

Jon Yarbrough

5 feet 3 inches

Hunter Mahan

2017

Ian Finnish

6 feet 11 inches

Tommy Fleetwood

2018

Austin Kaiser

7 feet 2 inches

Xander Schauffele

2019

Danny Sahl

4 feet 3 inches

Vijay Singh

2020

Aaron Flener

2 feet 9 inches

J.T. Poston

Tesori Family Foundation All-Star Clinic 

Wednesday, March 10 (4:00 p.m.); Sawgrass Country Club

The Tesori Family Foundation was founded in 2009 by Paul Tesori—former PGA TOUR player and current PGA TOUR caddie for THE PLAYERS 2018 champion Webb Simpson—along with his now wife Michelle, to give back to those in need in the Northeast Florida community. In early 2014, after the much-anticipated arrival of baby Isaiah (and his extra special extra chromosome!), the foundation expanded to give back not only in Paul’s hometown community, but throughout the United States, adding specific programming for children with special needs including but not limited to children with Down syndrome.

The All-Star Clinic invites children with special needs to a golf clinic at Sawgrass Country Club, and it has since expanded to other PGA TOUR events as well, serving more than 200 kids annually.

This year, 8-time LPGA Tour champion Brittany Lincicome will serve at the clinic’s host.

Volunteers

Volunteers – The heartbeat of THE PLAYERS

The men, women and children who volunteer their time to THE PLAYERS Championship each year are an integral part of the event’s success, both during tournament week and in THE PLAYERS’ ability to positively affect hundreds of local charitable organizations.  Our volunteers support every element of the tournament, from tracking statistics, greeting guests, feeding fans to keeping the grounds beautiful throughout the week. 

2021 volunteer leadership:

The Tournament Chairman and the Vice-Chairmen are THE PLAYERS Championship’s volunteer leadership team. They oversee all volunteer committees and work year-round with the tournament team to deliver THE PLAYERS Championship – in addition to their day jobs, family duties and other community endeavors! They are some of THE PLAYERS’ biggest ambassadors in Northeast Florida and beyond.  

Past tournament chairmen and chairwomen, otherwise known as “Red Coats,” continue to stay involved with THE PLAYERS as well. Each year, the Red Coats conduct “ride-outs,” visiting nonprofit organizations throughout northeast Florida to present charitable donations. During the 2020 holiday season, the group has conducted surprise donations to  K-9s for Warriors, Rethreaded, Moore-Myers Children’s Fund and Police Athletic League of Jacksonville. 

Tournament Chairman – Troy Smith

In this role, Smith oversees all volunteer committees and divisions at the PGA TOUR’s flagship event. 2021 will mark Smith’s eleventh year as a volunteer at THE PLAYERS. Prior to being named Tournament Chairman, he held leadership positions on multiple committees, including: General Parking, Ecology, Commissary, VIP Parking, Benefactor and Volunteer Shuttle. 

When he’s not devoting countless hours to THE PLAYERS, Smith is a partner at the law firm Burr & Forman, where he is a member of the firm’s Construction and Project Development practice group, focusing on complex commercial litigation within the construction industry. He is a Florida Bar Certified Construction Attorney and has been named a Florida Super Lawyer and one of the Best Lawyers in America for Construction Law.

Additionally, Smith is a board member at Palmer Catholic Academy and has previously served on several other boards in Northeast Florida, including Learn to Read Jacksonville, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and president of the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division as well as president of the Jacksonville Bar. Smith lives in Ponte Vedra Beach with his wife, Jenni, and their six kids.

  • First Vice Chairman – Matt Welch 
  • Vice Chair of Player Services – Houston Bowles
  • Vice Chair of Spectator Services – Lee Nimnicht
  • Vice Chair of Facilities – Tyler Oldenburg
  • Vice Chair of Volunteer Services – Marc Hassan 

Volunteers celebrating notable anniversaries this year:

*Please reach out to Emily Tillo if you are interested in setting up an interview with any of these volunteers. 

  • 20 years
    • Russell Spaulding, caddies
  • 25 years
    • Jim Browning, commissary
    • Nancy Crain, First Aid presented by Baptist Health 
    • Albert Waters, admissions
  • 30 years
    • Joe Leader, Construction
    • Beth Marten, volunteer information
  • 35 years
    • Lynn Herbert, walking scorers
    • Marilyn Becker, walking scorers
  • 45 years
    • Nancy Nichols, Gallery Management

Volunteer Village presented by Flagler Health+

Flagler Health+ serves as the sponsor of Volunteer Village, which is the “home away from home” for THE PLAYERS volunteers who dedicated tens of thousands of cumulative hours to this championship. Thanks to Flagler Health+, volunteers have a comfortable place to relax and take a break during their shifts.

In addition to providing comfortable seating and volunteer bags, Flagler Health+ is helping our volunteers stay healthy and safe in 2021 by providing them with hand sanitizer and masks.

Volunteer story suggestions:

  • Profile Troy Smith, 2021 tournament chairman. In this role, Troy oversees the entire team of volunteers.
  • On the 20th anniversary of Tiger Woods’ ‘Better than Most’ putt on the Island Green, spotlight a volunteer who was there for the iconic moment, such as:
    • Mary Sullivan – Chair of Escorts, who was in the escort group that walked with Tiger that year; she’s also been with Tiger since he won the 1994 US Amateur
  • Spotlight Darlene Riggs, the namesake of “Darlene’s Diner.” Darlene’s Diner fuels the entire volunteer team during tournament week.
  • Spend some time out at the main parking lot to witness the “choreography” it takes to park thousands of cars per day – all thanks to a well-orchestrated and dedicated volunteer committee. 

Other Programs

Birdies for Charity

As a way to connect with THE PLAYERS while generating funds for local non-profits, fans can make a donation (minimum $20) for the chance to guess the total number of birdies that will be made by the field during the tournament.  The individual donor who successfully guesses the exact number of birdies (or closest thereto) will be awarded a grand prize of $10,000.

In addition to providing an incentive for donors, each participating organization is eligible to receive additional funds from THE PLAYERS’ Birdies Bonus Pool ($150,000). The 2021 Birdies for Charity campaign launched in January 2021 and donations, and guesses, will be accepted up until Wednesday, March 10 at 5 p.m. 

For more information visit www.birdiesforcharity.playerschampionship.com.