MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As one of the most impressive tournaments in the country, the FedEx St. Jude Invitational gets nationwide attention, but it would never be able to happen without the hundreds of local volunteers.
One volunteer couldn’t make it this year, but his family is there for him.
The Taylor family looks like a small purple army near the eleventh tee box at Southwind. Golfers file through on an assembly, and they stay holding down the fort.
They were all organized by the same leader, Dennis Taylor, who started volunteering at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 1982.
“He was always talking to me about it and asking, ‘Hey, you wanna go out and check out some golf?’ I’m not a golfer, but I said ‘sure. I’ll go out there,” family friend Bobby McDaniel said.
“He eventually became hole captain, and we had a few spots, and he called my cousins and said, ‘Hey, there’s a couple of spots,’ and they said, ‘Hey. We’d love to,” Taylor’s son Anthony said.
As the tournament expanded, Taylor’s love and commitment grew. He volunteered for 36 years until the tournament switched dates last summer, and he was looking forward to 2019 the most.
“He was so happy when it was announced that it was the invitational, because players that haven’t been here would be coming here. That’s the really sad part, it’s that he was so excited about this year,” Anthony said.
Taylor passed away due to an illness in June, just one month away from his 37th golf tournament, so his family found a way for his legacy to live on. They decided to build a memorial where he would always sit.
Tournament officials made sure the family had official gear and a spot reserved.
“When we put it up, my cousins were like, ‘Okay. He’s here. Now you’re gonna make us cry,” Anthony said.
If you happen to be walking the tournament this weekend, you can walk between the tenth and eleventh holes and pay your respects to the Taylor family.