The Players volunteer spotlight: Things have changed quite a bit for Nichols

Longtime volunteer is in her 45th year at tournament

Longtime Players Championship volunteer Nancy Nichols is working her 45th tournament this year. (Nancy Nichols, News4Jax)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.They make the tournament go. The legion of volunteers at The Players Championship are one of the most integral parts of the event. This week, we’re looking at several longtime volunteers who are celebrating tournament milestones in 2021.

Things have changed for Nancy Nichols at The Players Championship.

Now in her 45th year as a volunteer for the tournament and serving as the chairman on the gallery management committee, Nichols started out pretty basic.

When the event was first played in Ponte Vedra Beach, it was called the Tournament Players Championship and held at Sawgrass Country Club. Nichols, back then, was part of the commissary committee.

Her job then sounds funny now.

“We literally counted hot dog buns at night to make sure we had enough for the next morning,” she said.

My, how things have changed.

Nichols moved from the commissary committee to the patrons committee for a brief time. And then she moved into the marshal committee and has been in that grouping for the bulk of her time.

This year, the tournament rebranded the marshal committee to gallery management. There just isn’t as much of a gallery to manage. The tournament capped attendance to 20% due to coronavirus precautions.

The volunteer count is down, too. With the reduced crowds, Nichols said that there are only 451 volunteers on the course for gallery management in 2021. There’s usually more than 700.

“We don’t have quite as many volunteers out here as we normally have, but it’ll still be great. We’ll have a great time. It’ll be a wonderful tournament. We’ll maintain our gold standard of being right up there near the best. It’ll be OK.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.