January 22, 2014
The PGA TOUR announced Wednesday that it has surpassed $2 billion in all-time charitable giving.
The TOUR and its more than 100 tournaments achieved the milestone just over eight years after announcing the first billion was reached in October 2005, 67 years after the first $10,000 donation was recorded at the 1938 Palm Beach Invitational.
“We take this opportunity to acknowledge this landmark achievement and to thank our tournaments for the outstanding work they do in support of their respective communities every year by supporting over 3,000 local and national charitable organizations,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “At the same time, this is a threshold that we are simply passing as we continue to strive to increase the PGA TOUR’s charitable impact in 2014 and beyond.”
The annual contributions have steadily increased over the years, with 2013 exceeding $133 million. By comparison, the total was $82.8 million 10 years ago. Two tournaments – the HP Byron Nelson Championship and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – have exceeded $100 million on their own.
"I think it's a great testament to everybody involved in the current‑day TOUR that in just these past eight years, a second billion dollars was reached as well," Finchem added. "We are looking forward to a point in time when we can be having a conversation about the third billion dollars, and no, I'm not going to just yet project when that's going to happen."
Unlike any other professional sports organization, the PGA TOUR relies on more than 100,000 volunteers annually to run its tournaments, and the vast majority of its tournaments are structured as non-profit organizations designed to donate 100 percent of net proceeds to charity. Community beneficiaries include a wide variety of organizations including hospitals, youth development organizations, growth-of-the-game programs and food banks.
"I think the PGA TOUR reaching $2 billion dollars is unbelievable," said Keegan Bradley. "It just shows the focus of the TOUR is to give back to the communities and the charities. It's something that I know us TOUR players are very proud of and the PGA TOUR should be, as well."
Many players agree.
"That's (what) makes golf so special," said Jonas Blixt. "It's quite an accomplishment to reach that goal and I don't think that's the end of it. Just keep on going. You can help other people by playing a game of golf -- getting your ball in the hole and you can help people not as fortunate as we are. It's really cool to be a part of it."
Added fellow Swede David Lingmerth: "Last year was my rookie year and I didn't really know any of all this charity stuff that the PGA TOUR does. It's a really cool machine and awesome to see how it works. I'm very happy to be a part of it."