Military members and families honored at THE PLAYERS

Country singer Luke Combs headlines annual concert


Thousands of fans of golf, country music and the United States military converged on TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach Tuesday, May 8 for THE PLAYERS Championship’s annual Military Appreciation Day ceremony and concert on the famed 17th hole. This year featuring country music artist Luke Combs, the patriotic event has become a pillar among the many traditions that set the tournament apart.

This year’s Military Appreciation event treated attendees to pageantry by military personnel, a performance of the national anthem, a flyover by the 125th Fighter Wing, a country concert and more. Featuring guest speaker Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, the program demonstrated THE PLAYERS’ ongoing commitment to honoring those who serve in the United States’ armed forces.

“On behalf of the military men and women and their families, I want to thank Commissioner (Jay) Monahan, the PGA Tour and all the players,” Bolivar said. “We appreciate the VIP treatment that you’ve given all of us — from the free admission to the free hospitality tent, to the Military Job Fair, to this absolutely wonderful event today. All of that combined with what you do to support our military and their families throughout the year is just totally awesome, and we can’t thank you all enough.”

Bolivar, the commander of U.S. Navy Region Southeast, expressed the hope that those in attendance would seize the opportunity to ask U.S. military members about their sacrifices and their service, stating, “I’m confident that their answers will cause you to be as proud of them as I am.”

Praising the unwavering resolve of America’s armed forces in the face of adversity, Bolivar also recognized the many sacrifices that their family members make in their absence.

“Family separation is never easy,” she said. “It’s our military family members that serve this nation in many ways that you can appreciate. They take care of the home front so that the military member can focus on his or her mission. So, to all the wives, husbands, kids and parents out there, thank you so much for your unmatched support and sacrifices on behalf of your service member. The strength, spirit and courage that our military families display every day never ceases to amaze me, and we certainly could not do our jobs without you, so I salute you.”

The event was capped off by Combs, who fired up the crowd with some of his most popular songs, including “Hurricane” and “When It Rains It Pours.” When it came time for him to perform “This One’s For You,” however, Combs dedicated the song to those who serve and expressed his gratitude for their sacrifice.

“This song is a thank you to everybody who’s helped me get here, and I want to send it out as a thank you to all of our troops that may be here with us today, may be overseas or may be no longer with us,” he said. “Thank you, guys, for what you do, and … I just want all of our armed forces to know that we love them.”