JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Maybe you’ve seen the trash-filled photo with hashtags such as, “Keep The Players Clean,” which was allegedly taken at TPC Sawgrass over the weekend and has floated around social media ever since.
The claim: The Players Championship was trashed during the tournament.
There seemed to be some confusion as to when exactly the photo depicting a grassy area littered with plastic bottles, cups and aluminum cans was taken. First Coast News decided to Verify this claim to find out if it was in fact taken during the tournament.
The picture, posted on Facebook by a prominent North Florida nightlife and lifestyle photography company known as 904 Happy Hour, got an immediate reaction from its followers, mostly shaming tournament goers for being so messy.
"This is the saddest photo we've seen from The Players this year!" 904 Happy Hour wrote as the caption for the photo. "Please don't trash our home - especially when it's in the international spotlight!"
First Coast News spoke with the company, who told us that another Facebook user had originally posted the photo online. After some digging, First Coast News eventually discovered that the person who originally took the picture was a volunteer at TPC Sawgrass and wished to remain confidential.
It was discovered, however, that the picture was taken at the 17th Hole of the TPC Sawgrass on Tuesday evening, immediately following the military appreciation concert featuring Sam Hunt.
The New York-based event services company Solo Events Group canvassed the area post-ceremony and had all of the trash cleaned up within 30 minutes, according to Executive Director of The Players Jared Rice.
Rice said in an e-mail to First Coast News that The Players does in fact participate in a recycling program that is run by Solo Events and offers both waste and recycle bins at “every collection location on-course.”
The waste collection company Republic Services was also on-site all week to aid in the sorting and managing of trash, ensuring all recyclable materials were handled appropriately, according to Rice.
“We take this topic very seriously and have invested significantly with outside experts in this space to promote recycling, keep the grounds clean and efficiently direct waste and recyclables to their proper final facilities,” said Rice.
While the ground was unremorsefully trashed and treated like a communal landfill, after speaking with 904 Happy Hour, a confidential source and the executive director of The Players, First Coast News can verify the claim was false.
The photo was taken on Tuesday, after the annual concert and prior to the official start of the tournament. In addition, all of the trash was cleaned up immediately following the concert.
If you'd like to help reduce litter in the Jacksonville area, you can take part in the Jacksonville Summer Beach Cleanup on Saturday, May 20 at the Jacksonville Beach Pier. You can find out more information about the event by visiting the website.