PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (February 11, 2016) – Continuing a PGA TOUR tradition of honoring men and women in uniform, THE PLAYERS Championship today unveiled a full slate of military appreciation activities and programs for the 2016 event, including a special performance by music legend Toby Keith on Tuesday, May 10, during Military Appreciation Day. New in 2016, the Military Appreciation Day Ceremony (6 p.m.) and Concert (6:30 p.m.) will be held on the 17th hole – instead of the traditional location on the back of the clubhouse lawn – when the tournament returns to THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, May 10-15.
Keith’s performance will cap off the Military Appreciation Day Ceremony, which will include pageantry by military personnel, a flyover by the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, and a National Anthem performance by Byron Rowe (United States Navy-Retired). Speakers at the Military Appreciation ceremony will be General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem; and a TOUR player TBD.
The Military Appreciation Day Ceremony and Concert is free to any Tuesday ticket holder; a Tuesday Stadium Pass starts at just $20.
“I’m extremely excited to honor the men and women who serve our county by performing at THE PLAYERS Championship,” said Keith, who has performed more than 200 USO shows and entertained more than 250,000 men and women in uniform and their families. In April 2014, Toby Keith was honored with the Spirit of the USO Award. “I have always been a proud supporter of the U.S. Military and can’t wait to rock the stage for our troops and their fans.”
From his first No. 1 smash “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” to his new album 35 mph Town, Keith has been one of the most consistent self-directed hit makers of his era. From one of his previous collections, Clancy's Tavern, the lead single, “Made In America,” topped the charts as one of the fastest-rising songs in a long line of chart burners from Keith’s pen. The second hit, “Red Solo Cup,” has become the most remarkable and commercially successful country single in recent memory with a viral video that has more than 30 million views and has topped the most-downloaded country songs charts. The first single from 35 mph Town, “Drunk Americans,” debuted at No. 1 Most Added on both the Billboard and Country Aircheck/Mediabase charts; while the current single, “Beautiful Stranger,” which has already gained critical acclaim, launches at radio.
At the core of Keith’s unparalleled success is his songwriting, which has powered an astounding succession of hit songs to the tune of more than 87 million BMI performances on commercial radio stations worldwide. In June 2015, he was inducted in to the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City, and he has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association International with its Songwriter/Artist of the Decade distinction. He is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year and was named the American Country Awards’ Artist of the Decade. His albums have sold more than 40 million copies, ranking him among the top-selling all-genre artists on Billboard’s Top 200 Artists of the Decade. Keith is also Billboard’s No. 1 Country Artist of the Decade and No. 1 Country Songwriter of the Decade.
His tours, including 2015’s “Good Times and Pick Up Lines Tour,” long sponsored by Ford Trucks, have drawn more than 1 million fans each year for the last decade. But his most rewarding experiences, as exhibited in his continual devotion to them, come from giving back. Whether it’s helping sick children and their families in his native Oklahoma through the Toby Keith Foundation and their cost-free home, OK Kids Korral, or supporting US Troops including 11 USO Tours throughout the world, Keith has never lost touch with the most important things in life.
“We’re thrilled to have Toby Keith kick off tournament week at the most famous hole in golf,” said Michele McManamon, THE PLAYERS 2016 Volunteer Chairman and co-founder of Tuesday’s Charity of the Day, Operation New Uniform. “The Military Appreciation Day Concert is always a fan favorite, and the new location for 2016 allows us to entertain an even bigger crowd in the incredible, wrap-around atmosphere of 16 and 17. Fans will also have access to the great amenities available in that area – including the Food Court and upgraded restrooms – ensuring a true concert-like experience. With a superstar like Toby Keith on stage, we know the Stadium is going to be rocking.”
In addition to the celebrating them during Military Appreciation Day, THE PLAYERS provides all career military (active duty, Reserve, military retirees and dependents) with complimentary admission to the tournament all week and discounted admission for veterans (to obtain vouchers, go to PGATOUR.COM/THEPLAYERS and click on the Tickets & Parking link). Throughout tournament week, all active duty and Reserve military members, military retirees, veterans and their dependents will have access to the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost, a hospitality tent reserved exclusively for the military which offers complimentary food, beverages and activities. Located near the tee at No. 16, the Patriots’ Outpost is financially supported by THE PLAYERS and Jacksonville-area companies and individuals. New in 2016, THE PLAYERS volunteer leadership – the Red Coats are the lead sponsor of the Birdies for the Brave®Patriots’ Outpost. In 2015, THE PLAYERS issued more than 23,000 complimentary military tickets and more than 18,000 military members and their families were hosted in the Patriots’ Outpost.
Prior to tournament week, THE PLAYERS will welcome active duty, Reserve, retired military, veterans, and military spouses to TPC Sawgrass on Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Birdies for the Brave® Patriots’ Outpost, to participate in its fourth-annual Military Job Fair, in partnership with the Jacksonville Military Veterans Coalition. The Military Job Fair is free and open to military personnel, veterans and military spouses who are seeking employment. There will be approximately 40 companies on hand, all with open hiring opportunities. Free career counseling and resume-writing assistance will be provided, as well as, information on local educational institutions with veterans’ programs. Previous PLAYERS Military Veterans Job Fairs have seen attendance of more than 500 military job seekers and 40 companies participating.
On Sunday, May 8, THE PLAYERS and Birdies for the Brave® will again partner with Operation Shower to host a group baby shower for 40 military moms-to-be whose spouses are deployed members of the U.S. Navy. Scheduled to be held from 12-2 p.m. in the Patriots’ Outpost, the event will be hosted by Jim and Tabitha Furyk and will feature Operation Shower’s signature Shower-In-A-Box, gifts of high-quality products for the moms and babies that have been provided by sponsors and donors.
More information about THE PLAYERS is available at PGATOUR.COM/THEPLAYERS.
Toby Keith photo courtesy of Shock Ink.
About THE PLAYERS Championship
THE PLAYERS Championship annually combines the best field in golf with the world-class venue that is THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. PwC and Optum are the exclusive Proud Partners of THE PLAYERS. Proceeds from THE PLAYERS benefit Northeast Florida charities and have totaled more than $75 million since the event moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977, including a record $8.1 million generated in 2015. In April 2011, THE PLAYERS announced a new charitable focus, committing to generate $50 million for youth-related charities over the next 10 years. For more on THE PLAYERS and the surrounding area, visit PGATOUR.COM/THEPLAYERS or floridashistoriccoast.com.
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