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Executive Director's Message

"I volunteer because this is a truly amazing opportunity to give back to my community while meeting and working with some phenomenal people!" 

“The anticipation of THE PLAYERS each year brings a sense of excitement. I have maintained friendships with so many volunteers, and my life wouldn't be the same without knowing them.” 


Dear Community Champion,  

The above quotes from PLAYERS volunteers illustrate how volunteering at THE PLAYERS is about so much more than supporting the operational elements of this championship. When you volunteer at THE PLAYERS, you’re joining a global family of people of all ages and backgrounds who enjoy being a part of something bigger than themselves. 

On Wednesday, November 3, at 9 a.m., THE PLAYERS will open registration for new volunteers. With over 40 committees to choose from, there’s something for everyone, including scoring and concessions, guest services, operations, parking, tracking ShotLink data and more (Note: Two committees with the biggest needs are Admissions and Competition Support).

Most importantly, our volunteers are a driving force in allowing THE PLAYERS to continue impacting charitable organizations in the five-county area throughout the entire year. 

As our 2022 Tournament Chairman Matt Welch puts it, “What we are able to give as volunteers is nothing compared to what we receive in return when we see the impact it has on those in need. This is not about writing a check and hoping someone is better off for it; this is about being involved and helping to change people's lives.” 

Thank you to all of our volunteers (current and future) for everything you do to make this championship, and our impact, possible.  

Best,  

Jared Rice  
Executive Director, THE PLAYERS 

Charity Spotlight: Tesori Family Foundation 

Earlier this month, the Tesori Family Foundation hosted its All-Star Kids Clinic at TPC Sawgrass, which gives children with special needs the opportunity to participate in different golf-related stations. 15 PGA TOUR employees from the TOUR’s “Connect YOU” employee resource group as well THE PLAYERS 2022 Tournament Chairman Matt Welch served as volunteers, where they were ‘buddies’ to the youth participants and cheered them on at the different activities facilitated by First Tee-North Florida. As the pictures below illustrate, a good time was had by all!  

The Tesori Family Foundation was founded by PGA TOUR caddie and Northeast Florida resident Paul Tesori and his wife, Michelle, with a mission to lend a helping hand and provide hope and healing hearts for children (Note: Paul is the caddie to THE PLAYERS 2018 champion, Webb Simpson!). In 2009, Paul and Michelle established the foundation to give back to those in need in the Northeast Florida community. Five years later, their son Isaiah was born with “his extra special chromosome,” and as Paul puts it, “the foundation just exploded!” The foundation has since expanded to provide specific programming for children with special needs in cities all across the U.S, including through its signature program, the All-Star Kids Clinic, which has grown to serve more than 200 kids in cities where PGA TOUR events are held.  

Volunteer Spotlights: Dennis and Jennifer Holler  

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in this month’s employee spotlight we recognize a PLAYERS power couple who are not only longtime PLAYERS volunteers, but also are big supporters of the DONNA Foundation, a local organization which provides financial assistance and support to individuals living with breast cancer and funds groundbreaking breast cancer research.  

Dennis and Jennifer Holler have a very special connection to THE PLAYERS and The DONNA Foundation. On May 9, 2010, they got married at THE PLAYERS DONNA 5K!  

 


More than 10 years later, they’re still ‘running’ strong. 😊 Dennis, entering his 23rd year as a PLAYERS volunteer, will serve as Chair of the Patriots’ Outpost in 2022, and Jennifer, entering her 11th year as a volunteer, will continue her involvement in the First Aid Committee.  


Learn more about Dennis and Jennifer in this Q&A: 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Jennifer: I grew up in Rockford, Illinois, outside of Chicago. I was an Air Crew Avionics Electronics Technician In Flight Ordinance with the VP 45 Pelicans and stationed in Jacksonville before obtaining my BSN Nursing degree from Jacksonville University.  I am an avid runner and participated or volunteered at The DONNA Marathon for the past 14 years.  I have completed 11 full marathons and 2 ultra-marathons. Both my mom and dad have also volunteered at THE PLAYERS (my mom has been at Darlene's Diner for the past 15+ years).   

Dennis: I grew up on Staten Island, New York, and moved to Jacksonville to attend University of North Florida where I graduated with a BA in Vocational Technology Education.  I took up running with Jennifer's encouragement and have completed over 15 marathons as well as the Wolfson Children's Hospital 55 Mile Ultra. My golf game allows me to see many areas of the course that are typically not in play!  


What is your current occupation? 

Jennifer: BSN Registered Nurse at Baptist Town Center Emergency Department. 

Dennis: Vice President of Project Management for AIT Environmental Technology.  We are a Service Disabled, Veteran Owned small business located in Ponte Vedra Beach specializing in mold assessment and remediation. I also serve as the Jacksonville Program Director for the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk Training Program and manage the official training program for DONNA Half and Full Marathons.


How did you initially get involved as a volunteer at THE PLAYERS?
 
Jennifer: I attended the tournament while Dennis was volunteering and then joined the First Aid Committee while working at the Emergency Department with Dr. Jeff Smowton (Chairman of First Aid, which is presented by Baptist Health). 

Dennis: I was standing in line at Publix reading a magazine cover about THE PLAYERS. The person in front of me asked if I had ever gone to the tournament? I said, "no" and explained I did not know anything about it. He went on to say great things about the tournament and encouraged me to check it out. That afternoon I signed up to volunteer with Admissions. 


Why did you decide to get married at THE PLAYERS DONNA 5K in 2010? 😊   

Jennifer: It combined our love of running, supporting The DONNA Foundation and volunteering at THE PLAYERS. After our reception in Neptune Beach, our wedding guests joined us and all went to watch the final round of the tournament. 

Dennis: All of our friends and the running community were involved. Jennifer ran down the aisle with her dad. Donna and Tim Deegan were part of the wedding party. Getting married during a running event was natural fit and being able to combine all of our passions together was even more perfect. 

 

   


How/why did the two of you decide to get involved with the DONNA Foundation?   

Jennifer: My love of running naturally drew me to the event and I volunteered the first year to help support the organization. Little did I know that I would be running the full marathon the following year!  

Dennis: We got involved to help support this amazing organization. I have volunteered for over ten years with Relay logistics and the race expo as well as directing the training program for athletes participating in the events. I also created and direct the Desk to DONNA Corporate Health and Wellness Program to train employees to participate in various DONNA events. 

What is your favorite memory as a PLAYERS volunteer?    

Jennifer: Being interviewed by NBC’s Steve Sands on the Sunday of THE PLAYERS on the 17th Tee Box!  

Dennis: Having wedding cake with all of the other amazing volunteers and all of the friends we have made along the way. Getting the call that Steve Sands found out that two of the volunteers had gotten married and wanting to interview us was pretty crazy! Haha!  

 

Beyond the Ropes
THE PLAYERS’ impact extends far beyond the rope lines and well past the moment when THE PLAYERS champion sinks the winning putt. Learn more about our year-round commitment to being good stewards in our northeast Florida community.
 
#BecauseofBrinkley - A Spooktacular Surprise at Sulzbacher Village 
Each year, the Sulzbacher Center hosts a Halloween celebration for children living at Sulzbacher Village, including decorations and trick-or-treating for the kids. This year, a local 6-year-old girl named Brinkley Minter started her own art fundraiser so that every child could get a Halloween costume. Brinkley’s fundraiser made local and national headlines and inspired others to support her cause, raising nearly $6,000 in the process. THE PLAYERS team was also inspired by her actions and decided to give Brinkley a spooktakular surprise earlier this week. Click here to watch.  

 
 
tag! Children’s Museum breaks ground on 4-acre campus  
Earlier this month, tag! Children’s Musuem of St. Augustine broke ground on the first phase of construction. Upon completion, tag! will be the first cultural institution built in Northeast Florida in more than 20 years and is anticipated to have an estimated $2 million annual impact on the community while enriching the lives of an estimated 300,000 area students, 76 school districts and an expected 85,000 annual visitors.  

Phase 1 includes a playful collection of indoor and outdoor spaces including, the Lastinger Big Backyard, the Florida Blue Healthy Gardens, The Cofrin Family Tree Story Garden, and THE PLAYERS Championship STEM programming. 

“We’re so grateful for the support from THE PLAYERS Championship. The early gift from your organization when tag! was first developing enabled us to create STEM programming for our community, serving more than 7,000 children to date.” - Kim MacEwan, Executive Director  

 

PLAYERS volunteers contribute to success of FURYK & FRIENDS 
The inaugural Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS tournament was a huge success, both inside and outside the ropes. Many PLAYERS volunteers stepped up to assist this PGA TOUR Champions event with its volunteer operations, offering their time and expertise across all facets of the event. Golfweek’s Adam Schupak went behind the scenes with several volunteers to understand the vital roles they played in making the tournament possible. Click HERE to read. In addition, in this article recapping the tournament, Garry Smits from the Florida-Times Union shared: 

“One key to a smooth week was that Davis estimated around 80 percent of the volunteers had worked at The Players in the past, including past chairs Anne Nimnicht, Tim Tresca, Adam Campbell, Andy Carroll, Damon Olinto, Rusty Pritchett, Andy Baggs and 2022 chairman Matt Welch.”  

 
News to Know

2022 ticket information coming soon! 
Information about 2022 tickets is coming in the next few weeks. Be sure to subscribe to THE PLAYERS’ “Island Green” newsletter to ensure you're one of the first to find out ticket information and other key tournament updates. CLICK HERE to subscribe.  

Scobee makes history at the Stadium Course 
Former Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee recently made history on the Stadium Course. During Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Jacksonville’s annual golf classic fundraiser event, he scored the rarest of golf shots, a double-eagle, or albatross, on the par-5 9th hole. Only five PGA TOUR players in the history of THE PLAYERS Championship have ever scored an albatross, but no albatross has ever been recorded on the 9th hole! Click here to read more.  

Welch spotlighted in Georgia Tech alumni magazine  
THE PLAYERS 2022 Chairman Matt Welch was recently featured in Georgia Tech’s alumni magazine! Click here and go to page 30 to check out the article!  

 

New Volunteer Registration Opens on November 3 
Did you know? Nearly 2,000 volunteers support all facets of THE PLAYERS championship, spanning five divisions and more than 40 committees. Registration for new volunteers opens on November 3. Click here to read the press release.

 
 
Quick Nine
The "Quick Nine" video series introduces you to a different member of THE PLAYERS team.  Click below to learn more about Ashlyn Carmack, the newest member of our team!  
 

 
Photos of the Month
Marjorie Dennis and Robert Conrad from THE PLAYERS team and several members of PRISM, the PGA TOUR’s first LGBTQ+ and Allies employee resource group, attended JASMYN's 15th annual Coming Out Day breakfast on October 15.  JASMYN is a local nonprofit that supports and empowers LGBTQ+ young people across Northeast Florida. 
Members of THE PLAYERS team recently participated in the inaugural Mulligans for Hope golf tournament benefitting Operation New Hope, a local nonprofit that provides second chances and jobs to people with a criminal history to break the cycle of incarceration. THE PLAYERS was one of the tournament's sponsors and has supported this nonprofit through Red Coat grants over the last decade. In addition, second from the left is PGA TOUR caddie Eric Larson, who caddies for 4-time PGA TOUR winner Harris English. Click HERE to read his personal story about second chances. 
Red Coats Matt Welch and Andy Carroll and Blue Coat Marc Hassan recently took a tour of K9s for Warriors' campus, where they made a new furry friend. K9s for Warriors is the nation’s largest veteran service organization that provides highly skilled service dogs to disabled American heroes, and its goal is to empower Warriors to return to life with dignity and independence. Since 2012, THE PLAYERS has given funding to K9s For Warriors to sponsor a service dog that is named after each PLAYERS champion.
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