THE PLAYERS Championship adding more features, experiences to attract more fans


A new Bier Garden presented by Hoptinger, a Family Care Suite presented by Baptist Health and an expanded PGA Tour Fan Shop are among the additions slated for the 2018 PLAYERS Championship to continue attracting a wide range of fans from the community.

Executive Director Jared Rice announced the new features at THE PLAYERS Championship Media Day on Monday, March 12, following the annual PLAYERS Charity Challenge with defending champion Si Woo Kim and local celebrities.

The Bier Garden, Rice said, will be situated behind the No. 16 green, adjacent to the Couples Gate in the old courtyard location. The executive director noted that the craft beer scene has become popular in not only Northeast Florida, but also across the country, and the tournament wants to appeal to a wide range of tastes, literally.

To be located inside the Nicklaus Gate, the Family Care Suite will serve as a skin screening center, comfort station for mothers and fathers to care for their babies and, overall, a private, comfortable venue. According to THE PLAYERS Championship, more than 40 percent of THE PLAYERS ticket purchasers were female in 2017, a buying trend the tournament believes will continue to grow.

The PGA Tour Fan Shop at the Nicklaus Gate has been redesigned and expanded to 21,000 square feet. The shop will feature new and exclusive gear, including designs with popular Jacksonville-based outdoor apparel company, Flomotion, which Rice said furthers the tournament’s commitment to the region and its businesses.

Rice also noted that the tournament will again work with Uber on ride sharing. This year, however, drop-off and pick-up will be at the Sawgrass Marriott convention center parking lot, where a shuttle will transport attendees to and from the tournament.

THE PLAYERS Championship, Rice said, is continuing the Four or More Park for Free program, which allows attendees to download a complimentary parking pass online if they plan to drive to the tournament with four or more people. In addition, the tournament will continue its youth policy of admitting kids 18 and under for free if they come with a ticketed adult. Wine and Dine on 9 and the Kid Zone are other fan favorites that will be returning in May.

As for the course, Rice noted that some adjustments have been made so the shot into the 12th green is more approachable. These changes include a raised left side of the fairway, an extended fairway bunker and a built-up cut of primary rough on the left side of the putting surface.

Rice also addressed the 2019 PLAYERS Championship, which was moved to March. Rice said his team is simultaneously planning for both tournaments, and that the date of the 2019 tournament is expected to be announced around the time of this year’s tournament.

“Within about a year, we’ll be playing again, which is certainly exciting for Northeast Florida,” he said. “We’ll be ready.”

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