PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Tiger Woods’ iconic “better than most” putt in 2001 and Jack Nicklaus’ win at the very first Championship -- defining moments like these put THE PLAYERS Championship on the map.
“The list is tremendous. We have the best golfers,” TPC Sawgrass head golf professional Brian Riddle said.
One thing is for sure: TPC Sawgrass is rich with history.
“It started with a dream,” Riddle said. “Deane Beman had this vision to bring the PGA tour here to Ponte Vedra Beach.”
Riddle says then-PGA commissioner Deane Beman fell in love with Ponte Vedra Beach.
“He found this property. It was 415 acres of swampland and snakes and alligators,” Riddle said. “Really just a tough plot but he had the vision that this could be one of the greatest golf courses in the world.”
Beman struck up a deal with the Fletcher family -- who owned most of Ponte Vedra Beach back then -- and got them to sell him the land for $1.
“It was totally, completely different,” 45-year volunteer Nancy Nichols said. She remembers when the event was much smaller.
“I really love it,” she said.
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Like many, when she first started, she got hooked. Nichols says volunteers are the lifeblood of THE PLAYERS Championship.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said, adding that THE PLAYERS Championship wouldn’t be what it is without its volunteers.