Andy Carroll is this year’s Tournament Chairman of THE PLAYERS Championship. A longtime volunteer at the tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, he is a strategic account executive with Florida Blue and lives in Deerwood.
As told to Maggie FitzRoy
Q: When did you start volunteering at THE PLAYERS?
A: In 2008. I started out as an assistant at off site parking for spectators, when it was at UNF. I wasn’t even onsite at the tournament. Next, I served on other committees. Other committees I’ve been on are Admissions, Disabled Guest Services, Volunteer Offsite Shuttle, Commissary and Benefactors Venue.
Q: What led to your current top leadership role in charge of all volunteers?
A: I’ve been a vice chairman for four years. And last year I was selected by the Red Coats to be the 2020 Tournament Chairman.
Q: How many volunteers do you oversee?
A: A little over 2,200 this year. There’s a total of six of us on the leadership team.
Q: Has the number of volunteers grown?
A: Yes. As the championship grows the needs grow as well to be able to support all the players, spectators and vendors.
Q: What has been your favorite volunteer role?
A: My favorite unofficial role is leading up to the tournament, working with the facilities crew volunteers. That is where I have the most joy—working with those folks. From a construction standpoint—before the tournament—it’s building things, getting the course ready to go.
Q: What are some of the things you do with the construction volunteers?
A: One day we put together Adirondack chairs and picnic tables and painted the rope stakes, which get pressure washed and painted every year. Seeing the course week in and week out coming alive is the cool part of it.
Q: When did the volunteers start helping to prepare the course?
A: The first Saturday of January this year. From early January, we always meet every Saturday and then as we get closer to the tournament we transition to Saturday and Sunday. We do little types of tasks, I call it “trimming out the course,” finalizing the course. We rope the course typically the Friday before. We get THE PLAYERS parking lot prepared, the Media Center parking lot, the caddy parking lot.
Q: What are your duties during tournament week?
A: Thanking the volunteers. Spending time with as many volunteers as I can. Operationally, my first vice chairman handles the volunteer operations during the week. My role during tournament week is spending time with the volunteers and spending time with them in interviews. I always say it’s been a true honor and privilege to represent the volunteers and this experience is something I’ll never forget.
Q: Tell us about your public speaking duties as spokesperson for the volunteers.
A: My first was in September. The closer we got to the tournament, the more speaking engagements I had, up to several a week.
Q: How has your employer helped you manage your major volunteer role as this year’s Red Coat?
A: Florida Blue is very supportive. As long as I have my phone and access to Wi-Fi, I can handle my job.
Q: As Red Coat do you interact very much with the tournament players?
A: Very rarely. The majority of our volunteers don’t have exposure to the players. The majority of our volunteers don’t get to see much golf because of what they are doing. I typically have no idea what is going on with the tournament until each night, when I turn on the Golf Channel.
Q: So why do it?
A: The main reason is making the impact on charity in our community that being a volunteer provides. We did $9.5 million in 2019 and over $100 million since 1977. As Red Coats, we get the opportunity to go out to the charities we support—to personally see the impact. Whether it’s delivering a check or goods and services, helping people makes me feel amazing. The memories are special. It’s the main reason I put in the hours that I do. Once you are a tournament chairman you are never in a leadership role again at THE PLAYERS. But I still plan to stay actively engaged with the tournament in the future.
Q: Do you play golf?
A: I’ve played golf since I was 3. But I don’t play nearly as much as I used to. It was a big part of my life growing up.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: In Sarasota. I attended the University of Florida and started with Florida Blue right out of school in Gainesville. I got promoted within a year and moved to Jacksonville, then got promoted to Orlando and then back to Jacksonville.
Q: Tell us about your family and hobbies.
A: My daughter Maddy just turned 16 and my son Carson is 13. Both attend Episcopal High School. My hobbies are hunting, fishing and golf.
Q: What do you like about the tournament in March?
A: it’s definitely cooler than May. Being the first championship on The PGA TOUR schedule is a natural fit for THE PLAYERS Championship.
Photo by Maggie FitzRoy