In 2012, the American Junior Golf Association named TPC Sawgrass General Manager Bill Hughes its General Manager of the Year, an honor that was years in the making and well deserved. The award honors the general manager that displays an unwavering support of the AJGA and junior golf by creating a memorable tournament experience for players, families, staff and volunteers. Hughes has taken that challenge to heart and created an event in The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf that closely resembles the professional event, giving players the same experience professionals have at the PGA TOUR’s The PLAYERS Championship.
Hughes’ vision began long before the inaugural event in 2007, but when Morgan Hoffmann of Saddlebrook, N.J., was named the event’s first champion, he saw the big dreams had paid off. Later in 2012, Hughes and the tournament committee were able to see the vision and preparation come full circle when two-time first-team Rolex Junior All-American Bud Cauley of Jacksonville, Fla., became the event’s first alum to go from the No. 1 tee at The Junior PLAYERS Championship to the No. 18 green at The PLAYERS Championship.
As the list of distinguished alumni grows, so does the number of great stories from people involved with the event. In 2013, Hanks Massey of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., finished in first place at the Preseason Junior at Vinoy. In his reflection on the accomplishment, Massey noted The Junior PLAYERS Championship as the place where his love for the game took shape. For three years, Massey volunteered at The Junior PLAYERS Championship, watching elite players like Jordan Spieth and developing big dreams of following his role models’ path to The Junior PLAYERS Championship and college golf.
In two weeks, 78 of the world’s best junior boys will tee off looking to become the next great story from The Junior PLAYERS Championship. Whether they take home the trophy or inspire a volunteer, one thing is certain – golf’s next generation will have their first shot at victory at TPC Sawgrass.