Memories of the 2008 PLAYERS Championship won by Sergio Garcia!

With my friend SJ volunteering at the 2008 PLAYERS!

With my friend SJ volunteering at the 2008 PLAYERS!

My first PLAYERS was in 2008, the year I left Corporate America to travel around America to follow the tour. I put my material possessions in storage and came to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida (Northeast Florida, near Jacksonville) in late January. I volunteered at each of the four ‘Florida Swing’ events (the Honda in Palm Beach Gardens, the WGC at Doral near Miami, the one with lots of names in the last 7 years at Innisbrook near Tampa Bay and Mr. Palmer’s own at Bay Hill in Orlando), then came back to Ponte Vedra Beach, rented an apartment for a month and waited for THE PLAYERS Championship to take place in early May. After that I literally followed the tour for three years renting rooms for a week and coming back to Ponte Vedra Beach in the winter. In January, 2011 I bought my little ‘creative condo’ and for the last three years have done more of the same continuing to develop (in my opinion) as a freelance golf writer and broadcast assistant. My travel golf pursuits culminated in the “Journey to Olympic Golf,” a 100-day, 14-country, 18,471-mile odyssey from where they last played golf in the Olympics in 1904 in St. Louis to where it will be played, after a 112-year absence, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. Sorry for the rather long bridge from 2008 to today but having gone from summer to spring this year I need to recalibrate the personal GPS once in a while.

Some of the 'course prep' team in 2008!

Some of the ‘course prep’ team in 2008!

My first PLAYERS in 2008 was quite special in terms of the folks I met as a volunteer that year, originally in corporate hospitality but then on the ‘course prep’ team. I still remember the call from Eileen Taylor, who is the head of volunteers, asking me if I was available the Friday before to help stake and rope the Stadium Course. Of course I was and what fun it was and how many great people I met over the last six years. On the “Journey to Olympic Golf” I learned that “once an Olympian, always an Olympian.” Same for PLAYERS volunteers, “once a friend, always a friend.” So here are my pictures and some stories from 2008: