Andy’s Top 5 Spectator Tips for THE PLAYERS Championship!

View of the 18th from the terrace of the Clubhouse, no better sense of TPC Sawgrass than here!

View of the 18th from the terrace of the Clubhouse, no better sense of TPC Sawgrass than here!

Going to THE PLAYERS Championship this year? If you are not, you should be whether you are a golf fan or not. This is THE community event in Northeast Florida and the premier event of the golfing season since it is hosted by the PGA TOUR at its home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida at TPC Sawgrass. This will be my 7th consecutive PLAYERS Championship starting with Sergio’s playoff win on the 17th in 2008 to last year’s romp by Tiger Woods. Last week’s Media Day was a progressive affair that put me out on the Stadium Course looking and tasting all the latest Executive Director Matt Rapp’s team has to offer at Golf’s version of Disneyland. THE PLAYERS Ultimate Entertainment Guide (courtesy of THE PLAYERS) is included below. Here are Andy’s Top 5 Spectator Tips for the 2014 PLAYERS! No. 1 is sure to surprise you!

No. 5   Enjoy TacoLu’s Tacos on Twelve!

With TacoLu owners Debbie & Don Nicol at their new venue behind the 12th green.

With TacoLu owners Debbie & Don Nicol at their new venue behind the 12th green.

Maybe it’s my food hangover from the Journey to Olympic Golf through Latin America or the shame of not yet having gone to TacoLu, Jacksonville’s most popular Baja Mexicana restaurant but you have to try “The Lu’s” delicious menu items! Baja Fish, Bangin’ Shrimp and TacoLu Verde are the featured tacos. Your challenge will be to find this secluded, shaded, siesta solution to taking a break from the world’s most competitive golf. It’s located in the middle of the Taco Triangle formed by the 11th tee, the 12th green and the 13th tee. Enter this haven by crossing directly in front of the 11th tee (when clear of flying golf balls of course) or back player’s left of the 12th green. One of many, many fine eating choices. See more details below in THE PLAYERS’ Ultimate Entertainment Guide.

No. 4   Party at a Lot Party Onsite after Play!

With former All Pro Jaguars player Tony Boselli.

With former All Pro Jaguars player Tony Boselli.

They all benefit charity so pick at least one, preferably more, this year and enjoy! I am going to THE CUT hosted by the Boselli Foundation on Friday because former All Pro Jaguars player Tony Boselli encouraged me too. He is a BIG guy so I listen to what he says! “The Lot” is a hospitality structure located outside the Nicklaus Gate in General Parking off of CR210. The Lot parties follow the end of golf and requires an additional ticket. Every night is a great party with great entertainment for great causes!


Wednesday is CASY (Corporate America Supports You) which is dedicated to getting local servicemen and women back into the workforce.  The event will feature live performances from Jason Isbell and Cali Rodi.

Thursday is The After Partee hosted by YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. Kimberly Paige, a Ponte Vedra native, will open for Jon Pardi. Proceeds will enable the YMCA to send children from underserved communities to summer camps across the First Coast.

Friday is THE CUT hosted by the Boselli Foundation. The Boselli Foundation provides educational and character development programs to at-risk children in Jacksonville. Live entertainment by The Band Be Easy.

Saturday is Loudmouth Day at THE PLAYERS & the Lot Party!

Saturday is Loudmouth Day at THE PLAYERS & the Lot Party!

Saturday is the Fancy Pants Party hosted by Blessings in a Backpack. Entertainment by Yacht Rock from Atlanta. Funds raised go directly to the Duval County chapter of Blessings in a Backpack, which provides children on the federal free and reduced lunch program a backpack full of food each weekend during the school year so they are assured nourishment when they’re not in class.



No. 3   THE PLAYERS IS the Best Value in Golf!

THE PLAYERS Championship is the Best Value in Golf. No kidding, right in our backyard. Here are a couple of ways to minimize the cost.

Orchestrated by volunteers, upwards of 17,000 cars per day will fill these parking lots.

Orchestrated by volunteers, upwards of 17,000 cars per day will fill these parking lots.

Why pay for parking when parking is free for fans with four or more guests in a vehicle?  A new voucher must be downloaded and printed for each day, but there is no limit to the number of days guests can park for free.

On the flip side, fans not taking advantage of the “Four for Free” policy must purchase parking in advance. Those who arrive without a parking pass will be routed back to Will Call and will pay a premium of $50 per pass. Volunteers will no longer be able to sell parking passes in the lot.

THE PLAYERS will allow fans to bring in their own food in a 1 gallon clear, plastic bag where food items are also wrapped in clear wrap. This policy does not allow fans to bring in beverages but free, chilled and filtered drinking water is available in the permanent restrooms near The Patio, Taste of JAX and Wine & Dine on 9 so keep a bottle and refill it as many times as you’d like.

For each ticket purchased online, fans receive a $20 gift card to PGA TOUR Superstore (redeemable in store or at Tickets are also for sale at 55 Publix stores throughout Northeast Florida and two locations in Georgia.

Kids have a lot of fun at THE PLAYERS! Maybe Sergio Garcia will repeat his 2008 victory this year?

Kids have a lot of fun at THE PLAYERS! Maybe Sergio Garcia will repeat his 2008 victory this year?

Youth 18 and younger are admitted free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult – there is no limit. This means a family of five can attend THE PLAYERS, but only pay for the two ticketed adults, or a youth soccer team can attend with their coach and only pay for the coach’s ticket.

The Family Plan package offers additional savings just for families. For just $89, families get two adult grounds tickets, unlimited youth admission at the gate and two $10 concession vouchers. The Family Plan is also offered at 25 participating Daily’s convenience stores.

THE PLAYERS provides all career military (active duty, Reserve, military retirees and dependents) with complimentary admission to the tournament and discounted admission for veterans. To obtain vouchers for admission click here.

Play the 17th in  the Stadium Village close to the Clubhouse on the way to the 10th tee. The PwC’s First Tee Challenge is a replica of the famed 17th hole and you can take two FREE shots at the Island Green.

No. 2   “See Best” at the Sea Best 17 Deck!

View of the 17th & 16th from the Sea Best Deck. The 18th is also visible from this, the best view at THE PLAYERS Championship.

View of the 17th & 16th from the Sea Best Deck. The 18th is also visible from this, the best view at THE PLAYERS Championship.

As NBC’s Gary Koch would say, the Sea Best 17 Deck is “better than most.” It’s hard to beat the views and atmosphere around No. 17, the most iconic hole in golf; but this year, the Sea Best 17 Deck is new and you can have a better-than-ever, bird’s-eye view of the Island Green, No. 16 fairway and green as well as the 18th tee box. The Sea Best 17 Deck is a public bleacher behind No. 17 green and features a covered deck, misters to help fans stay cool and concessions. The view is FREE but you have to pay for Sea Best Shrimp and Grits, the signature menu item of THE PLAYERS 2014.

No. 1   Visit the World Golf Hall of Fame…

With WGHOF member Dr. Charles Sifford on Opening Night of the 'Honoring the Legacy: A Tribute to African-Americans in Golf."

With WGHOF member Dr. Charles Sifford on Opening Night of the ‘Honoring the Legacy: A Tribute to African-Americans in Golf.”

… to see a new permanent exhibit called “Honoring the Legacy: A Tribute to African-Americans in Golf.” There is no WGHOF Induction this year (now every other year) but Hall of Fame member Dr. Charles Sifford, nearly 92 years young,  was present for the ribbon-cutting Grand Opening on Friday, May 2nd. It is a whole new Hall of Fame experience with a legendary welcome walk and Major Exhibits in Shell Hall in addition to the new innovative historical exhibit. Golf’s “Highest Honor” just got a little bit higher! Only 25 miles and 30 minutes away from TPC Sawgrass, go as soon as you can either before, during, or after PLAYERS week!



 The Ultimate Entertainment Guide to THE PLAYERS:

An Insider’s Look at the Tournament, From Best Food Deals to the Best Places to Be Seen

(Courtesy of THE PLAYERS Championship)

Provide your readers/viewers with a one-stop guide of everything to do at THE PLAYERS, from where to get the best food, best shade, best drinks deals and restroom locations.


Best places to eat

THE PLAYERS Championship has more to offer than your average sporting event, and there’s no better illustration of that fact than in the food selection.

  • New this year, TacoLu, Jacksonville’s most popular Baja Mexicana, will be featured on course at THE PLAYERS.  Seating and shaded areas located between 12 green and 13 tee will give fans the chance to rest, relax and enjoy some of “The Lu’s” delicious menu items, which are always made with the freshest ingredients.
  • New in 2014, “Trucks on 10” features six local food trucks and is located between 10 fairway, 11 fairway and 15 green. This public venue offers flavors from local, favorite food trucks, an upgraded restroom and an open-air, centrally located Michelob ULTRA Mobile bar.  Trucks on 10 will offer seating for fans and include great-tasting food from local trucks: Mama’s Food, Baby’s Badass Burgers, Corner Taco, Gourmet Aviator, Up In Smoke and BBQSuper Food.
  • If it’s options you’re after, The Food Court is calling your name.  Located behind No. 16 green, there are plenty of choices sure to satisfy everyone in the family.  Grab some classic concession favorites from the All-American Grill, or pick items from a favorite local restaurant like Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q, Brucci’s Pizza or Tropical Smoothie Café.  When everyone has what they’re after, stake out a shady spot with tables and chairs at The Grove and enjoy a relaxing family meal.


Best places to cool off

Need to beat the heat?  All of the locations below are open to grounds ticket holders and give you a chance to take a break from the action – and the sun – while enjoying the atmosphere that is uniquely THE PLAYERS.

  • Stadium Village is completely tented and air-conditioned, making it the ultimate destination when you need to cool off.  While you’re there, enjoy a variety of interactive activities, mobile device Wi-Fi access, luxury restrooms and a cash bar.
  • The Grove is an outdoor, shaded area located behind No. 17 tee. The venue includes pavers, tabled seating and an upgraded walkway from the Nicklaus Gate that will lead fans directly to the location. The Grove will include a large video board showcasing the Golf Channel and NBC broadcast so fans won’t miss any tournament action while they’re taking a break.
  • The Patio is located close to No. 10 tee and the 18 hospitality area and is a shaded area with tables, food and beverage for purchase.  You can relax away from the heat without missing any of the action. The Patio also features permanent restroom facilities, includes the Michelob ULTRA Bar and a social media board covering THE PLAYERS Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.


Where to be seen

Everyone who’s anyone is at THE PLAYERS – and if you’ve been at least once, you know that No. 17 is a major hub of activity.  But check out these other hotspots and you’ll be sure to run into someone you know – or want to know.  Just don’t forget to return to the action out on the course at some point!

  • New in 2014, the Michelob ULTRA Blue Room VIP Lounge is located between Stadium Village and 10 tee. This ticketed venue includes all-inclusive beverages (beer, wine, soda and water) and signature dishes from top local restaurants, air-conditioned seating and entertainment.
  • New in 2014, the Sea Best 17 Deck is the best spot to see golf and be seen. It’s hard to beat the views and atmosphere around No. 17, the most iconic hole in golf, but this year, thanks to the addition of the Sea Best 17 Deck, fans will have a better-than-ever, bird’s-eye view of the island green, No. 16 fairway and green as well as the 18th tee box.  The Sea Best 17 Deck is a public bleacher behind No. 17 green and features a covered deck, misters to help fans stay cool and concessions.
  • You’ll need to purchase an upgraded ticket to gain access to The Turn, but it’s well worth it.  Located between No. 18 and No. 9, this hospitality venue gives an excellent view of both holes – either from the air-conditioned interior or the outside stadium seating.
  • If you have an upgraded Clubhouse ticket, don’t spend all your time indoors!  Hang out on the Clubhouse Lawn and enjoy food and beverages, available for purchase, from award-winning TPC Sawgrass Nineteen.  In the shadow of the beautiful 77,000 square-foot clubhouse, the lawn offers ample chairs, umbrella tables and a view of No. 18 green.


Where to see the golfers

Don’t roll your eyes – yes, we know, “Duh, on the golf course,” is the appropriate response.  But where, EXACTLY?  Check out these sneaky locations to get up close to the action and as personal as possible to some of the best players in the world.

  • True golf fans know that the Practice Area is a must-stop at THE PLAYERS.  You can grab a spot up against the rope line and be thisclose to the world’s best as they hone their craft…sometimes for hours on end, not to mention the fact that players usually stop and sign autographs as players come and go.  Back of the range
  • Located on the Clubhouse side lawn, The Terrace gives you the best of both worlds: a great spot to relax with a cash bar (with mixed drinks), tables and umbrellas, as well as a unique view of the chipping green and practice area, where you can watch players warm up and work on their games – and maybe pick up a tip or two.
  • Another area where players let their guard down and interact with the fans is outside the Scoring Area. Players enter the scoring area located between the Clubhouse and Stadium Village to sign their scorecards after they finish their rounds on Thursday-Sunday.  This is one of the best places to hang out and collect player autographs.



Best chance for celebrity sightings

Sure, there’s Tiger, Phil, Ernie, Rickie and the rest of the gang.  But THE PLAYERS has its fair share of celebrities who are big fans of the world’s best golfers, just like you.  You never know who you’ll see strolling along the rope line and enjoying the action, but here are a few additional locations where celebs flock throughout the week.

  • Hang out near the new Jaguar Den by No. 17 tee for a glimpse of some of your favorite former Jags, coaches and Jaxson De Ville as they relax and enjoy THE PLAYERS Championship.
  • Don’t miss Military Appreciation Day on Wednesday on the Clubhouse Lawn, where Jake Owen will be performing.  Local celebrities and TOUR players often attend the concert and mingle with the crowd, so keep your eyes peeled.
  • While the Patriots’ Outpost is open only to military personnel and their families, it’s not a bad idea to hang out near the facility as dignitaries and celebrities are always stopping by to spend time with the troops.  And even if you don’t see someone you know, say hello to some of our local men and women in uniform – who should be recognized, even if they’re not famous.


Best beverage deals

You need to cool off, and we’ve told you where to find the best shade and A/C.  But an ice-cold drink is no doubt at the top of your list.  Be the first to check out these deals, and your friends will think you’re an insider.

  • A limited-edition THE PLAYERS acrylic tumbler, filled to the brim with THE PLAYERS Signature Drink – the Sawgrass Splash – is available wherever spirits are sold.  For $10, you’ll get a 20-ounce Sawgrass Splash in a 2014 PLAYERS tumbler that features the tournament logo and a list of the past champions.  The commemorative cup itself (with no beverage) is available for $5.
  • Newsflash: it can be warm in Florida in May. Don’t be that person in 2014 whose good time is ruined by dehydration.  Drink water, lots of it. Chilled, filtered drinking water is available in the permanent restrooms near The Patio, Taste of JAX and Wine & Dine on 9; so keep that bottle and refill it as many times as you’d like as a way to stay hydrated and save money at THE PLAYERS.


Best bathrooms

Even after decades of staging a world-class golf tournament, there is always room to improve the fan experience at THE PLAYERS.  After each event, the tournament undergoes an extensive critique process, and a key aspect is fan feedback through surveys and social media comments. One of the most resounding items of feedback in recent years centered on the quality of bathrooms for fans.

  • THE PLAYERS has added another large-scale, permanent public restroom located at Taste of JAX near 11 Green and 12 Tee, which was constructed in the fall in advance of this year’s event. The new facilities feature 11 toilets per side and will also have air conditioning, attendants and changing stations in both the men’s and women’s restrooms. As in prior years, there will be additional temporary restrooms throughout the tournament as well.  This third facility complements the two that were constructed – to great fanfare – at The Patio and Wine & Dine on 9 (near No. 16 tee/No. 9 fairway) in time for the 2013 event.
  • No port-o-lets here.  The restrooms at Stadium Village are top-of-the-line, luxury facilities that feature air conditioning, running water and bathroom attendants. Freshen up and get back in the game.
  • The Grove and The Patio also offer premium, structured restroom facilities, giving you one more reason to spend some time at these new locations.


Best merchandise

THE PLAYERS is already Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach’s ultimate fashion show, but why not add to your closet collection with a few carefully selected items that are uniquely THE PLAYERS?  Since all the merchandise is fabulous, these recommendations are more about strategy than specifics.

  • When you first arrive at THE PLAYERS, immediately stop at the merchandise tent as you enter from the main parking lot, at the end of the Walk of Champions.  Stock up on all the necessities for a day at the course – hats, sunscreen, and one or two limited-edition items with THE PLAYERS 2014 logo that might not be there by day’s end, like a commemorative 2014 PLAYERS pin flag or PLAYERS tumbler (with a list of the past champions on the back).  You also want to make sure you check out the latest fashionable hats and t-shirts that may set the trend for THE PLAYERS.
  • Mid-day head over to Stadium Village and cool off in the A/C while browsing the 6,200 square-foot PLAYERS Shop.  You can check your merchandise with an attendant and pick it up at the end of the day, so no worries about lugging around your loot.
  • If you’ve got a Clubhouse ticket, you’ll want to hit up the award winning, Best 100 Golf Shop at TPC Sawgrass as well as to check out everything from PLAYERS merchandise to TPC Sawgrass keepsakes.


Best views of 17

You know you’re going to spend some time – probably a lot of time – at No. 17.  But where can you best experience all that this world-famous par 3 has to offer?

  • We can’t help but brag about the new Sea Best 17 Deck. Located behind 17 green and open to the public, this spot offers a bird’s eye view of the famous island green that simply can’t be beat.
  • The Benefactor is an upgraded ticket, but the view doesn’t get any better than from the second floor of this shared hospitality venue.  And when you’re looking out over the 17th tee with an ice-cold drink and a snack from Morton’s The Steakhouse, you may never want to leave.
  • It’s easy to find a great seat on Wednesday at No. 17, where you won’t want to miss the little-known but much-enjoyed Caddie Contest.  Each year at THE PLAYERS during the Wednesday practice round, players and caddies switch roles when they arrive at the famous 17th hole, and the caddies get the opportunity to take a swing.  This is great tradition unique to THE PLAYERS and one that provides an added layer of entertainment for the fans, players and caddies alike.
  • An underrated spot to watch golf within the natural amphitheater near the 17th hole is on the hill behind the 16th green. Here you get to see players take aim at the risk/reward par 5 16th hole and still get to watch them take on the famous island green at the 17th.


Best views of golf NOT at 17

With all that’s going on in the new venues at THE PLAYERS, don’t forget to venture out on the golf course to really soak up the action.  Here’s a quick list of sneaky spots (read: less crowded) that offer great views of this world-class event.

  • Elevated mounding behind 2 green provides a great place to watch players decide whether or not to go for the par 5 in two or lay-up, and then you can keep an eye on them as they head to No. 3 tee to take a shot at the par-3 green.  Here’s another tip: the refreshment stand at No. 2 green/No. 3 tee has shade umbrellas in the seating area.
  • The 11th hole is a fan favorite par 5 where players often go for it in two, the green is surrounded by sand and water, which provides non-stop drama and excitement.   The newly enhanced bowl-shaped mounding around the green provides better views with great shade, and you’re a stone’s throw from a new permanent restroom and great dining options at the Taste of JAX.
  • The elevated mounding behind 10 tee provides great views of players’ tee shots, and you’re just steps away from a permanent restroom.  As you walk the hole, be sure to stop at Trucks on 10 – our new food truck food court – where you can grab a snack from some great local vendors on wheels!
  • The par-3 13th offers a more intimate setting than the 17th hole, but there’s still plenty of drama and excitement. Fans directly behind the green may even see a ball or two roll through the green and end up in collection area just on the other side of the ropes from where they’re sitting.  The top of the mounding behind the green also provides a nice view of players teeing off on No. 14.  Additionally, you are still close enough to Tacos on 12 to take care of any and all must-have-tacos-now episodes in a timely manner.


Best family-friendly venues

THE PLAYERS is one of the best, most affordable family entertainment options going, and there’s more to a day at TPC Sawgrass than the world-class golf (although we bet a glimpse of Phil Mickelson or Rickie Fowler will make your son’s or daughter’s eyes light up).  Spend some time with the kids at one of these locations where they can have fun without worrying about anyone saying, “Quiet, please.”

  • Returning in 2014, The Kid Zone stars the “GameTruck,” a mobile, video-game theater provided spectators with HDTVs and a wide selection of games for Xbox360, Wii, PlayStation3, as well as a GameCoach who manages the activities so parents can relax.  The Kid Zone also offers snow cones from KONA ICE (for purchase), a putt-putt course, arts and crafts, face-painting and an inflatable obstacle course for the kids to blow off some steam.  The Kid Zone features a restroom trailer, videoboards and a misting tent where everyone can cool down.
  • Experience the best of Stadium golf at Stadium Village and the PwC First Tee Challenge – a scaled version of the famous 17th hole where kids and adults alike can see just how difficult it is to reach the green.  The area also includes video games, concessions, merchandise and outdoor seating – where you can rest up before returning to the tournament action.
  • No trip to THE PLAYERS would be complete – especially for the kids – without collecting a few autographs.  Be sure to hang out in one of the “Autograph Alleys” for the best shot at snagging a prized signature from some of golf’s greatest players.


What not to bring

You’ve got sunscreen. Sunglasses. Your fashionable hat. All the things needed to make a statement and have a blast at THE PLAYERS.  But what shouldn’t you bring to the golf course?

  • Once the tournament starts on Thursday, don’t get sent back to your car because you brought a camera.  While taking photos is permitted – encouraged! – Monday through Wednesday, any budding shutterbugs will need to leave the equipment at home once the competition gets underway.
  • Kids (6 years and older) to a hospitality venue without a ticket.  Yes, kids get in free to THE PLAYERS with a ticketed adult – but this policy applies to grounds tickets only.  If you’re planning to spend some time in The Turn or The Benefactor, for example – and we hope that you do – and if your child is 6 years of age or older, they’ll also need one of these upgraded tickets to gain admission.
  • We’ve got plenty of places to sit and tons of shady spots with umbrella tables, but if you want bo bring your own chair or umbrella (just in case), here’s a tip for avoiding a common rookie fan mistake: leave the cases or covers for those items in your car, as those are prohibited items.


Where and how to use your cell phone

Worried about missing a call while you’re at THE PLAYERS?  We have an app for that.  The PGA TOUR unveiled a new cell phone policy in 2011, meaning you no longer have to worry about separation anxiety because you were forced to leave your mobile device at home.  But don’t be “that guy” who reminds everyone why cell phones weren’t allowed on the course for so long and follow these tips.

  • Put your phone on silent.
  • Texting/emailing is allowed anywhere.
  • Use designated areas throughout the golf course when making or receiving phone calls (check the course map for “Mobile Talk Locations”).
  • Don’t use your mobile device for video recording at any time during the week.
  • Only use your mobile device to take photos Monday through Wednesday.



Best place/best strategy for getting players’ autographs

While we can’t discount the ultimate strategy for getting tons of autographs – be a cute kid and say “please” – these tactics will definitely increase your chance for success, no matter your age.

  • Hang out in an “autograph alleys.”  Post up near the Practice Areas and the Scoring Area, as these locations are where players tend to stay until the last request is satisfied.  Players are much more apt to stop and sign in these areas as opposed to when they’re out on the golf course. Throughout the week, players will only be signing autographs at the designated “Autograph Zones,” not on the golf course.
  • Make a statement (a good one, of course).  Wear a “Phil is my Phavorite” t-shirt.  Get six of your best friends to join you and shave the letters “A-K-4-E-V-E-R” into the backs of your heads.  Dress up in total Ian Poulter gear and spike your hair.  Just be respectful, creative and bring a Sharpie.


Best travel tips for THE PLAYERS

They say getting there is half the battle, right?  Here are a few quick travel tips to make sure you arrive in style to THE PLAYERS 2014.

  • Pile in. Fans with four or more guests in a vehicle can park for FREE Thursday through Sunday with the “Four for Free” parking voucher. Fans can go online to (click on the “Tickets” tab) to download the voucher.
  • Purchase parking ahead to save time and money, parking passes can be purchased at Those who arrive without a parking pass will be routed back to Will Call and will pay a premium of $50 per pass. Volunteers will no longer be able to sell parking passes in the lot, as officials have determined this is a main contributor to congestion and delays.
  • The best way to access the public parking lot is via SR-210 from Nocatee Parkway.  Trust us, you’ll avoid the congestion and delays that are typical of A1A and spend more time enjoying the tournament.
  • If you live close by, ride your bike to the tournament and use our “bike valet” off ATP Tour Boulevard Thursday through Sunday of tournament week.  A $5 donation is suggested, which benefits the North Florida MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Chapter.  And even if you don’t live near TPC Sawgrass, meet up with friends at a nearby park or business and “bike-pool” to the tournament.