PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Back for its 46th year in the world of professional golf, The Players Championship returns again to Sawgrass Stadium in Ponte Vedra Beach.
The competition offers the highest prize fund of any tournament in golf. In 2019, the grand prize was $12.5 million. The field usually includes the top 50 players in the world rankings.
That's where we meet Stella Brown. She's been checking in world-class golfers for the past 27 years. It's just one of her many tasks as a volunteer with The Players Services Committee.
“I actually started out by being one of the drivers and the next day they said they needed someone in concierge, and I asked ‘Where is that?’ They said 'it’s that wonderful building you’re looking at. It’s air conditioned,” Brown said of her start as a volunteer in 1993.
“We tend to take care of everything we can for everyone. In registering we get all the information so if there’s any need they have, there’s a physician on call, security is wonderful here. Ordinarily, I wear something with all the badges I received, it’s weighing me down, there’s just too many of them. We receive one for our service each year. It’s been a great experience.”
Brown said the warmth and friendliness extend beyond committee members.
“The people I meet, I probably wouldn’t ever meet otherwise, so I considerate it a real benefit I can be part of it. Believe me, I do.”
She admits, her favorite player is Tiger Woods.
“I volunteered the year he was not a professional. We were registering. Some asked if anyone could stay later because there’s a young man with his father coming from CA, but the flight was delayed. I had no reason not to because I was living alone, so I said I will stay. That’s the first time I saw him as a young man, and he came in with his father. He’s always been very familiar to me and even discussed his mother’s recipes.”
Woods will not be competing at TPC this year but, Brown said she’s still excited.
“I am looking forward to working as much as I can and to the final day. I am still fascinated today to meet the players and the years have gone by and they got old as I did, some of them.”
The tournament officially kicks off Thursday.