At a celebration last week honoring Northeast Florida charities supported by The Players Championship, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced that the 2015 tournament generated $8.1 million for local charities, surpassing last year’s record total of $7.5 million. The money generated by The Players each year benefits more than 300 charities throughout Northeast Florida, totaling more than $75 million in charitable giving since the event moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977. The substantial increases over the past few years are attributed to a growing, dedicated fan base; support from the event’s Proud Partners – PwC and Optum; and the tireless and selfless efforts of the tournament’s volunteer force.
The announcement was made during The Players Charity Celebration hosted by Commissioner Finchem under the lights at the 17th hole at The Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, with the $8.1 million grand total displayed on a tournament scoreboard behind the green. The event is part of a series of activities during The Players 2015 Giving Back Month designed to highlight the work of the many charitable organizations in Northeast Florida that benefit from the tournament. Guests enjoyed food and drinks as they celebrated the myriad ways the community helps The Players to make an impact on Northeast Florida charities.
“Each year, the charitable dollars generated at The Players continues to grow,” said Finchem. “Generating $8.1 million for local charities in a single year is an impressive accomplishment that couldn’t be possible without the hard work from our staff and volunteers, the support of PwC and Optum, and the Northeast Florida community.”
Much of the $8.1 million generated from The Players 2015 benefits local children’s charities, in line with the event’s committed goal to generate $50 million for youth-related charities over 10 years. The event is dedicated to making a significant financial impact on local non-profits that promote youth education, health and wellness, and character development. To date, more than $30 million has been raised toward that goal.
“The 2015 tournament set an attendance record, had the most exciting finish in tournament history and has now broken its own charitable giving record,” said Brian Franco, 2015 tournament chairman. “To say I am proud to have been the 2015 tournament chairman is an understatement. I know I speak for the 2,200-plus volunteers when I say that watching $8.1 million flash on that screen validates why we put in countless hours making this tournament something Northeast Florida is proud of.”
On November 2, The Players volunteer leadership – the Red Coats – accompanied by PGA Tour player Jim Furyk, kicked off Giving Back Month at the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse by hosting a “Dream Party” for Dreams Come True. The dreamer, Brad Ratzlaff, a local 19-year-old graduate of Orange Park High School who is battling acute lymphoblastic lymphoma, received a number of surprises from Furyk and The Players, including a family trip to Maui for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January, a new set of golf clubs, the opportunity to walk with Furyk inside-the-ropes during the tournament’s pro-am and spending money for the week. In addition to the dream fulfillment, The Players made a surprise $10,000 donation to Dreams Come True.
On November 4, the Red Coats – accompanied by Web.com Tour player Jeff Klauk – visited Angelwood, a non-profit organization that helps children and adults with developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, Prader-Willi syndrome and spina bifida. At the visit, Klauk and the Red Coats took a tour of the facility, interacted with the participants in the programs and presented a surprise, much need, 15-passenger van to Angelwood.
Finally, the Red Coat Ride Out concluded on November 16 at K9s For Warriors, which received a surprise $10,000 donation from The Players during First Coast News’ K9s For Warriors telethon. During the November 16 visit, the Red Coats toured the new K9s For Warriors facility and met some of the warriors and their canine companions.
The Players Championship annually combines the best field in golf with the world-class venue that is The Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
PwC and Optum are the exclusive Proud Partners of The Players. Proceeds from The Players benefit Northeast Florida charities and have totaled more than $75 million since the event moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977, including a record $8.1 million donation in 2015. In April 2011, The Players announced a new charitable focus, committing to generate $50 million for youth-related charities over the next 10 years. For more on The Players and the surrounding area, visit PGATour.COM/THEPLAYERS or floridashistoriccoast.com.
The Players is set to return to The Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, May 10-15, 2016. More information about The Players is available at PGATour.COM/theplayers.