PLAYERS volunteer one of thousands who make the tournament happen


When the gates open for THE PLAYERS Championship each spring, something of a magic show occurs behind the scenes.

Orchestrated golf carts route spectators everywhere from the 17th hole to the parking lot. Scores are recorded, equipment is inventoried and food is distributed.

Beneath the veneer of a world-renowned event are more than 2,000 volunteers – many returning from previous years – acting as the gears that keep the show running. The experience is not unlike a Disney movie, wherein the golfers, employees and volunteers all come together to make the event as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

Among those thousands of volunteers is Steve Nix, an IT worker from Convergys Corp., who is returning to THE PLAYERS for his 14th year as a volunteer. In his time there, Nix has seen, operated and assisted in just about every aspect of the event. From manual scoreboard duty to acting as a former chair for The Patriots’ Outpost to his current post as assistant chair of on-site parking, his work as a volunteer is as expansive as his tenure. It’s also, he says, an extremely rewarding experience.

“Every year, you see the tournament give back to hundreds of local charities, things that help the community,” Nix said. “And just by us volunteering our time we’re able to help put millions of dollars to Northeast Florida charities. So donating the time and energy for benefiting the people of our community is worth more than any financial reward.”

Nix’s volunteer experience spans several charitable organizations, including Jacksonville FC, The Donna Foundation and the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation. He first started as a volunteer with the PGA Tour at a friend’s insistence that they participate together. While his friend never joined, Nix returned to the tournament every year because of the camaraderie of its volunteers and the benefits it brings to the community.

In particular, Nix remembers the time he spent at The Patriots’ Outpost for allowing him to witness the service the tournament does for the community.

“To see the military folks who serve us all be able to come in and interact with the professional golfers and entertainers, and to see just how many people support that tent is one of my favorite parts,” Nix said. “For a week, as a volunteer, I was able to help them. But for a lifetime they’ve helped me.”

It’s the spirit of giving back locally that Nix said keeps him and other volunteers coming back year after year for a “reunion” of sorts at THE PLAYERS Championship. PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem announced last year that the 2015 tournament generated $8.1 million for some 300 charities in Northeast Florida.

Volunteer Challenge

This year, as per tradition, THE PLAYERS will hold a friendly competition between volunteers called The PGA Tour Volunteer Challenge ( Until 2 p.m. on May 14, fans, friends and family are encouraged to vote for the volunteer of their choice in order to give them a chance to present a $10,000 check to the charity of his or her choice from a list provided by the tournament.

And though Nix joins the ranks among several other registered volunteers, his insistence on lending his time is a personal obligation.

“Between the dashes – between where your life starts and where your life ends – it’s important to fill that time with doing good,” he said. “So I always lean towards causes for people who might need help.”