The Players Championship honors military with ceremonies, concert

Published On: May 07 2014 04:58:02 AM EDT
Updated On: May 08 2014 12:04:56 AM EDT

Honoring military men and women is an annual tradition at The Players Championship. One of the highlights of Wednesday's Military Appreciation Day at TPC Sawgrass was a concert by country music star Jake Owen.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -

Honoring military men and women is an annual tradition at The Players Championship.

One of the highlights of Wednesday's annual Military Appreciation Day at TPC Sawgrass was a concert by country music star Jake Owen.

"I'm really fortunate I get to have a platform in life that gives me the ability to help raise awareness for things like this, and I'm happy to do it anytime I can," Owen said. "I have a lot of friends and family that are serving overseas right now, so anytime I can do anything to show my appreciation for military I'm doing it."

During the evening ceremony, Brandi Anderson, a high school junior from Daytona Beach, was recognized by PGA Tour golfer Brandt Snedeker. Anderson's father was killed in Iraq when she was 7 years old. Snedeker announced that The Players was giving a check to Children of Fallen Patriots to pay for Anderson's college tuition.

IMAGES: Military appreciation concert

Earlier in the day, military members helped open the Birdies for the Brave Patriots Outpost near the 16th tee box.

During the ceremony, PGA Tour member Nick Watney presented a lifetime membership to Marine Sgt. Ryan Casavant, who was injured while serving. The two have formed a friendship since Casavant caddied for Watney at TPC Boston.

”Sometimes we get overlooked, but not with these guys,” Casavant said. “Nick calls me, checks on me, texts me. We play Xbox, so it's just awesome.”

Another Tour member, Jerry Kelly, performed a reenlistment ceremony for a Navy sailor. He said that the PGA Tour does a great job of honoring military members, something Watney agreed with.

“It doesn't feel like enough, but it's nice to do something for them,” Watney said. “I think the biggest thing is for the men and women who serve to know they are not forgotten and how much we appreciate them.”

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said that since 2006 the Tour has raised over $11 million for homefront charities. But he said he wants to see that number increase, saying the Tour has done a lot, but nothing can ever be enough to thank the military members and their families for their sacrifices.

The Players will recognize active duty, retired and reserve military personnel by allowing them and their dependents complimentary admission to the tournament all week.

Military members interested in receiving complimentary admission to the tournament can click HERE for ticket information. You can also check out our News4jax section dedicated to The Players.

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