Rucker Wows the Crowd at THE PLAYERS
May 12, 2011
By Michael Curet, Special to Together, Anything's Possible
“We’ll get through all that life can bring and I know together anything is possible!”
That was the message that Darius Rucker left in the hearts and minds of thousands who attended the third annual Military Appreciation Day concert at TPC Sawgrass, singing the very words of the song (“Together, Anything’s Possible”) that he wrote only a few months ago for the PGA TOUR.
When Rucker moved the audience with a beautiful a capella rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” the words never seemed more appropriate than they did today.
Earlier in the day, Rucker made a surprise visit to the Patriots’ Outpost to address various members of the military and their families who were enjoying a day filled with hospitality at its finest at THE PLAYERS.
“I’ve been all over the world. We live in the greatest country in the world because we’re free,” said Rucker. “The reason we’re free is because of you and the sacrifices you and your families make every day. I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Rucker’s visit to the tent was not the only surprise of the evening.
Military Warriors Support Foundation Director Leroy Sisco introduced PGA TOUR player Jim Furyk, who stunned two of the guests on stage, Lance Cpl. Anthony Sayo and Sgt. Nate Helmuth, with a set of keys to a mortgage-free new home.
“My uniform is a golf shirt,” said Furyk. “Soldiers like Anthony and Nate put on the uniform of the United States of America. They have chosen to put country first and dedicate their lives to protecting and defending the greatest nation in the world.
For that, we owe them a debt of gratitude. At the PGA TOUR, we give back and that’s what we’d like to do right now on behalf of the Military Warriors Support Foundation and their partners.”
Following the home presentation from Furyk and a playlist from the Navy Band Southeast as a warmup, it was Rucker time.
Rucker opened with his 2009 No. 1 country hit “Alright” and broke into a 10-song set, mixing a little old and new to the delight of the crowds. He was never better on vocals when he hammered out his biggest hits from when he was lead vocalist for Hootie & the Blowfish: “Only Wanna Be with You” and “Hold My Hand.” He added two more No. 1 selections from his newfound success in his country career, with “The Comeback Song and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” Then there was the crowd-pleasing rendition of David Allen Coe’s country classic “You Never Even Called Me by My Name.”
Prior to the free concert on the lawn of the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem expressed gratitude to all the men and women in uniform, and recognized on stage Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead—the highest-ranking United States Navy officer.
“All of us are here to show our support for all of our men and women,” said Finchem. “I’d like to single out the United States Navy and our intelligence forces for the work they did 10 days ago in Pakistan.”
Admiral Roughead praised the ongoing support of the Wounded Warrior Project, Military Warriors Support Foundation and the PGA TOUR. “You do things that make a difference and contribute substantially to the programs that allow our men and women to come back, feel appreciated—especially for those that need the programs to reintegrate back into a life that maybe has affected them in ways that most of us can’t comprehend.”
The Commissioner also introduced JELD-WEN CEO Rod Wendt, who presented a check for $10,000 to Wounded Warrior Project Executive Vice President Dan Nevins.
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