The PGA Tour and the Northeast Florida region were preparing to welcome more than 200,000 visitors to the Players Championship from March 10-15.
The event, which offers the strongest field in golf and the $ 15 million budget for the tour, started on Thursday under a cloud of uncertainty when preventive measures were taken by federal and local officials as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. At around noon on March 12, PGA tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the events would continue, but without fans. Less than 12 hours later, the Players Championship was canceled and all tour events were canceled through the Valero Texas Open (April 2-5).
While the cancellation of the tournament negatively affected so many, there is a silver lining. The PGA Tour and Players Championship have partnered with Feeding Northeast Florida to provide 22 tons of food worth nearly $ 700,000 to families in need across the region.
“It’s a very unfortunate thing that the Players Championship was canceled,” said 2014 FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel. “Playing golf is great, I love it and we have the privilege of what we do, but the bigger thing is what the Players Championship does for the community. Knowing that all the food that should be used here this week A big deal for Northeast Florida’s diet and helping feed the people who are unsure is just goose bumps.
“From the moment the tournament was canceled, they knew exactly what to do with this meal.”
Food was donated by the event caterers – Par Caterers and Proof of the Pudding – as well as food from the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse. Packed lunches were donated and shared by Monahan, The Players’ executives, staff and volunteers, and TPC Sawgrass chefs under the direction of Chef Azhar Mohammad to customers and residents of the Sulzbach Center, an agency that supports homeless and vulnerable women, Children and men through health, housing and income services.
“This year has been exceptional in that something so terrible to have to cancel the tournament has become such a blessing,” said Susan King, President and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “We serve around 260,000 people in our region with eight counties who suffer from food insecurity. This gift of food, which shouldn’t be used at The Players, will make a huge contribution to community support. “
“Yes, life gives you lemons, but the PGA Tour decided to make lemonade,” said Cindy Funkhouser, president and CEO of the Sulzbacher Center.
Giving something back to the community is in the DNA of the PGA Tour. The tour announced in January 2020 that it and its tournaments, after a record $ 204.3 million in 2019, surpassed more than $ 3 billion in charities.
The Players Championship has been supporting Feeding Northeast Florida since 2005 and announced a $ 500,000 pledge in 2018 to help nonprofits ensure that one of the most basic human needs is met. For every $ 1 donated, Feeding Northeast Florida can provide six meals, making the $ 500,000 grant equal to 3 million meals.
“I think days like today really show the resilience of our community,” said Jared Rice, executive director of The Players Championship. “Our ability to relax and our commitment to the community begin with such events today. I think it really shows how important it is to give something back to who we are in the tournament’s DNA.
“Our road back to 2021 is starting now.”