The recession’s been tough on corporate-funded philanthropic and sporting events across Florida. Many companies have been forced to slash non-essential spending. Others want to project an image of austerity in hard times. But The Players Championship, the May golf event in its 37th year, is proving immune to those trends.
The event at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach has grown to become a local holiday on the corporate calendars of Jacksonville businesses, which pay for a sea of hospitality tents and ticket packages. Last year’s tourney — featuring the Stadium Course’s grueling final three holes, including the iconic, “island green” on 17 — was the biggest-selling ever despite the economic downturn. This year’s, scheduled for May 3-9, is on target to beat the record. As of mid-March, neither the recession nor the assumption that Tiger Woods wouldn’t be teeing up had slowed corporate sales.
“Year-over-year, we’re 20% ahead on revenues,” says Jay Monahan, who is running his last Players as executive director. After this year’s event, Monahan starts his new job as senior vice president of business development for the PGA Tour.
Monahan has helped make The Players both more national and more local, pulling in corporate sponsorships from beyond northeast Florida and making the tournament more affordable for local families. The PGA Tour makes a special tent for moms on Mother’s Day and another for military personnel for the entire week of the tournament.
|The Players Championship
» 144 — number of players
Source: Jay Monahan, executive director of The Players Championship; Visit Jacksonville