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Executive Director's Message

Dear Community Champion, 

After a very short off season (one-week to be exact!), the 2021-2022 PGA TOUR season is off and running, and we are less than 160 days away from THE PLAYERS Championship 2022. March 8 will be here before we know it. 

Our team is hard at work building on lessons learned and feedback received from THE PLAYERS 2021 to welcome more fans and guests back on site in 2022 and introduce new tournament offerings and experiences. Central to these efforts are the nearly 2,000 volunteers who support all facets of this Championship. Our volunteers have been the backbone of this championship since THE PLAYERS made its permanent home here in Northeast Florida in the late 1970s. 

Many people don’t realize just how all-encompassing the volunteer experience is at THE PLAYERS. From scoring and concessions to guest services, operations, tracking shot data and parking thousands of cars in the general parking lot, our volunteers truly do it all.   

New volunteer registration opens on November 3, so if you have never volunteered at THE PLAYERS before, I highly encourage you to visit to explore the various positions and opportunities available. Or, if you know a current volunteer, ask them about their experience and how you can get involved.  With more than 40 committees to choose from, there’s something for everyone and every interest. I can assure you that once you give it a shot, you’ll be hooked (see the volunteer spotlight interview below for proof!). 

Also, be sure to follow THE PLAYERS on social media and LinkedIn to ensure you stay in-the-know on all key tournament updates. 

Thank you for being such great partners and supporters of THE PLAYERS. 

All the best,
Jared Rice 
Executive Director, THE PLAYERS Championship

Charity Spotlight: Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition

September is recognized as National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Defined as the death of an infant before his/her first birthday, infant mortality in Duval County is the highest among the state’s largest counties. In 2020, there were 136 deaths, the equivalent of eight classes of kindergarteners. Leading efforts to improve these outcomes is Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, a statewide network of community-based organizations that lead programs and efforts to address the risk factors and barriers that affect the health of infants, childbearing women and families.
In January 2020, THE PLAYERS began a partnership with Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, committing $100,000 to support its efforts. Since its founding in 1991, Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition has served more than 200,000 families through a variety of programs and services, including (but not limited to):

  • The Azalea Project, the Coalition’s long-running initiative focused on breaking the cycle of substance use and preventing substance-exposed newborns across the lifespan.
  • The Magnolia Project, which offers clinical and case management services for women before, during and after pregnancy.
  • The Rose Project, which pairs a peer specialist with moms to complement the services they are already receiving and assist with the recovery process.
  • The Fatherhood PRIDE (Parental Responsibility Inspiring Dads Everywhere) program, which provides education and support for fathers and father figures through case management, group education and one-on-one support.
  • The WELLcome Home program, a universal nurse home visiting initiative in collaboration with Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Nix 

Steve Nix has been a valuable member of “Golf’s Greatest Volunteers” for the past 19 years. He started out on the scoreboard committee and since then has worked on various committees, including scoring, spectator information, Patriots Outpost, parking and volunteer shuttle.

Steve is also heavily involved in various charitable initiatives in Northeast Florida, including the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, an organization committed to supporting families of children diagnosed with cancer. As Keli Coughlin, CEO of the Jay Fund, shared, “Steve is a natural born giver and is passionate about the Jay Fund and our patient families who are tackling childhood cancer. The Jay Fund’s goal is to BE THERE for parents facing the unthinkable so parents can BE THERE for their child. That is Steve Nix. Always there.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and graduated from Andrew Jackson High School, as did my wife! We have two daughters, ages 27 and 21. I’m also a dedicated Jaguars fan and have been a season ticket holder for 27 years.

Steve Nix and his daughter at THE PLAYERS Championship. 

What is your current occupation?
IT Project Manager for Government Accounts – Riverbed Technology.

How did you initially get involved as a volunteer at THE PLAYERS?
A friend of mine had some friends that volunteered. He asked me to volunteer with him, and the rest is history!

You are very involved in the Jacksonville community outside of THE PLAYERS. What other organizations or initiatives do you volunteer with? What causes are you passionate about?
I am a Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Ambassador and have been the Golf Chair for the annual Tom Coughlin Jay Fund’s Celebrity Golf Classic for the past 11 years. I also am the Founder of Hops that Help, an annual fundraiser for the Jay Fund at Southern Swells Brewery in Jax Beach. All of the profits benefit the Jay Fund. Over the last six years, we have raised nearly $40,000.  I also serve as the Event Manager for the Roscolusa Songwriters Festival at Nocatee, which donates a portion of proceeds to the Jay Fund.Outside of the Jay Fund, I also am an airport Celebrity Greeter for the Tim Tebow Foundation and a Television/Mic Holder at the Ryder Cup.


Steve and the Jay Fund teams at the Roscolusa Songwriters Festival (top) and Hops that Help (bottom) fundraisers. 


What inspired you to get involved with the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund?  Tom McManus worked with my wife in commercial real estate, and during  a company outing, Tom was talking about the Jay Fund, as he played with Jay McGillis at Boston College. Once I heard more about the organization’s mission, I contacted them immediately and became involved.  I’m currently one of the several Jay Fund Ambassadors who share the mission/work they do and support events throughout Northeast Florida.

What is your favorite memory as a PLAYERS volunteer?   Just the friendships.  There are thousands of memories, all of which are good.  One of my best is when I had a volunteer accidentally take a Red Coat’s golf cart, and of course, the Red Coat thought I was pranking him. 

Steve and fellow volunteers at THE PLAYERS. 

New volunteer registration begins on November 3. For someone who has never volunteered at THE PLAYERS before but is considering it, why should he/she get involved?  Definitely get involved, as we need younger folks to carry on the mission, as a lot of us are not getting any younger! And I guarantee you that you will make friendships that last a lifetime.

What do you wish more people knew about THE PLAYERS Championship and its team of nearly 2,000 volunteers?  How much money is donated locally….I think people do not really realize the major dollar impact this tournament has for our local area.  If you take the annual number donated, then divide that by 2,000, you see the impact you personally made by donating some of your time.  It is crazy to think what impacts we all have on making this the most successful event on the PGA TOUR.


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.
 "Jake's Joy" - Honoring Jake Berglund 
Joyful best describes Jake Berglund, a 15-year-old Dreams Come True dreamer and Tom Coughlin Jay Fund beneficiary. In 2020, Jake, an avid DJ, was scheduled to perform in the Patriots’ Outpost at the 2020 Military Appreciation Day, but his health condition prevented him from participating. Nearly one month after that ceremony, Jake passed away. However, he continues to serve as an inspiration to so many. For Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (September), the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund teamed up with Amazon Music to create celebrity and athlete-curated playlists to bring awareness to the emotional and psychological impact a pediatric cancer diagnosis can have on a child and family. Jake’s family collaborated with The Chainsmokers to create a playlist called “Jake’s Joy” in memory of Jake’s love of music and DJing.


Chloe says Yes to the Dress...and the Dream!
Earlier this year, 17-year-old Chloe had surgery to remove the part of her brain that was causing daily seizures. Much of her recovery time was spent watching one of her favorite shows, Say Yes to the Dress. With support from THE PLAYERS and other community partners, Dreams Come True is sending Chloe and her mom to New York City for a mother-daughter getaway, which will include a Kleinfeld Bridal Experience and surprise meet and greet with Say Yes to the Dress star, Randy. THE PLAYERS’ Community Outreach team and 2022 Tournament Chairman Matt Welch helped surprise Chloe yesterday at Calvet Couture Bridal in Ponte Vedra.

Looking Back - Two Years of being BRAVE 
Statewide data has revealed that St. Johns County is a state leader in overall deaths by suicide for youth, ages 18-24, and in Florida, 66.8% of youth suffering major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Nearly two years ago to the day, THE PLAYERS announced a $1 million commitment to the Flagler Healthcare Foundation to help bolster the work being led by Flagler Health+ in response to these growing behavioral health needs affecting youth in St. Johns County. THE PLAYERS’ gift supported the launch of B.R.A.V.E. – Be Resilient and Voice Emotions – a program developed by Flagler Health+ Care Connect in partnership with the St. Johns County school district.
B.R.A.V.E. provides a variety of resources, including a 24-hour crisis text line, care coordination and navigation services, virtual mental health counseling and more. Through B.R.A.V.E., Flagler Health+ Care Connect serves as the hub for student behavioral health referrals for all 39 schools in the St. Johns County School District, and this past June, the program expanded via a new partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida.
In a recent interview with Ponte Vedra Newsline, St. Johns County School Board member Kelly Barrera commented on how BRAVE has grown over the past two years:
“Via a gift from THE PLAYERS, along with Flagler Health+ Care Connect, services in the BRAVE program are provided at little or no cost. For the 2019 – 2020 school year, 951 appointments in the school district were made and attended; for the 2020 – 2021 school year, 2,090 appointments were made and attended. To see our community really embrace and utilize this program is very rewarding.”
-Kelly Barrera, St. Johns County School Board, District 4
News to Know

Former Chairman Dr. Buster Browning honored at National MS Society's Dinner of Champions
Dr. Arthur “Buster” Browning, a local family practice physician with Baptist Health and long-time member of the Red Coats (a group of past tournament chairpersons) is a “champion,” a distinction he earned from the North Florida Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS). During the organization’s annual Dinner of Champions held earlier this month, Dr. Browning was honored for his extensive work with the MS community and spoke about the importance of community involvement.
Dr. Browning began practicing medicine as a general practitioner in the early 70s at Beaches clinic. Shortly after opening his office, he became a volunteer during the last year of the Greater Jacksonville Open (GJO) in 1976. Throughout his more than 40 years as a TOUR volunteer, Dr. Browning has served in several roles, including Chairman of First Aid at THE PLAYERS, which is presented by Baptist Health. In 1989, he oversaw thousands of volunteers as the Chairman of the Mazda Senior TPC. Dr. Browning continues to see patients at his family medicine clinic.
Congratulations, Dr. Browning, on a well-deserved award, and thank you for your years of service to the community!

Red Coat Grants - submit your applications by October 15
As a way to continue our ongoing commitment to Northeast Florida, the Red Coats, a committee of past volunteer Chairpersons, oversee a grant program to support local charities. Click here to view application details and requirements. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, October 15, at 11:59 p.m.!

THE PLAYERS DONNA 5k - this Saturday, October 2 
In just two days, runners and walkers of all levels will race around THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS DONNA 5K presented by Nimnicht Family of Dealerships, which serves as the first event in the DONNA 2021-2022 Fearless Series. Advanced registration is required for all participants, and there are both in-person and virtual race options. Online registration for the in-person event closes tomorrow, Friday, October 1 at 2 PM ET. Visit to learn more and sign up! 

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. Please visit to learn more about the volunteer experience, and click the image below to download a flyer you can share among your network:
Click the image above to download the flyer! 
Quick Nine
The "Quick Nine" video series introduces you to a different member of THE PLAYERS team each month. Click the image below to learn more about Emily Womack, a Tournament Services Manager with THE PLAYERS.

Photo of the Month
Out of 38 directors, Lenward Griffin, director of THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club Center of St. Augustine, was named the Unit Director of the Year by the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida. Additionally, Sharon Burns, who also works at THE PLAYERS Center, earned the title of Administrative Assistant of the Year. Both were presented with their awards during the annual Employee Recognition Ceremony last month. Congratulations, Lenward and Sharon!

©2021 THE PLAYERS Championship, PGA TOUR, All rights reserved.

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