Palmer’s Pros For A Purpose to benefit charities for canceled events
April 03, 2020
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Ryan Palmer and his wife Jennifer donated $20,000 to be distributed among the five events he would’ve played. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
Ryan Palmer was very much looking forward to his spring schedule on the PGA TOUR.
He always enjoys the Valspar Championship, the final event on the Florida Swing. Then returning to his native Texas, he takes his family to the Valero Texas Open; they stay on-site at the J.W. Marriott Resort at TPC San Antonio and the kids make good use of the water park. “I love San Antonio,” he says. “One of my favorite places and the people there are unbelievable in what they do.”
Next up is the RBC Heritage; he’s an RBC ambassador and he “loves Hilton Head.” A week later, it’s the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He happens to be the defending champion in that team event with Jon Rahm. “A huge week,” Palmer says. “We were excited to defend.”
Two weeks after that, it’s back home for the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas, an easy drive from his house for Palmer, an easy event for friends and family to attend. Plus, “the Salesmanship Club guys are some of my dearest friends,” he says about the service organization that runs the tournament, which has raised more than $160 million for charity, a huge chunk of the $3 billion-plus combined donations from all PGA TOUR events. “That’s where my heart is, here in Dallas-Fort Worth. Of course, I want to help them as much as possible.”
Five tournaments … now all canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Five tournaments … each one making a huge charitable impact in their respective communities. Five tournaments … so close to Palmer’s heart. “A lot of meaningful events that I’m missing, that a lot of guys are missing,” he says. He wanted to do something to help, something to give back to the tournaments that have positively impacted his career.
And so Palmer is spearheading Pros For A Purpose, a charitable arm in which players, officials, fans and the whole golf community can donate money to the tournaments that have been canceled. The donations will be distributed to the charities for those tournaments, just as if the tournaments would’ve done had they been played.
Hey everyone! My team and I have set up a platform to help charities who are being effected due to the cancelled @PGATOUR events. Please visit https://t.co/icK6l5wF7g to learn more and join the @PGATOUR community in helping out. @prosforapurpose pic.twitter.com/XpL5YMgXqk— Ryan Palmer (@RyanPalmerPGA) March 30, 2020
Palmer is the first to admit it’s not an original idea. In fact, the idea sprung from a March 25 tweet from Steve Stricker, who announced that his foundation would be donating money to events that Stricker was scheduled to play.
Palmer then huddled with his manager Mike Chisum and worked out a way to take the next step and allow anybody to donate to any of the canceled events thanks to the website. ThriveHive, one of Palmer’s partners, helped develop the marketing plan.
“It was a great way to get it out there and utilize Pros For A Purpose, which we had already established in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” Palmer said. “The more I thought about it, I just felt like it needed to be done.”
To get the ball rolling, Palmer and his wife Jennifer donated $20,000 to be distributed among the five events he would’ve played.
“My foundation may come in later with a donation as well,” he says. “But I kind of wanted to separate it. This is a personal thing because it meant that much more to me. It’s a personal thing Jennifer and I did together.”
As you might suspect, the tournament directors whose charities are benefitting from Palmer’s generosity are thrilled about the project.
“In all the current chaos, for him to take the time to thank the host communities of the PGA TOUR with his own support is very meaningful,” Valspar Championship tournament director Tracy West says. “Not only do we host these tournaments to generate community economic impact and a better quality of life to the area through golf, but to also generate a positive charitable impact. Copperhead Charities and the Valspar Championship would like to thank Ryan -- and Steve Stricker too -- for their direct local charitable support of our community.”
"It says a lot of about our players to see so many making efforts to help others in these tough times,” notes Zurich Classic of New Orleans tournament director Steve Worthy. “Beyond the Zurich Classic, our city has been very affected by COVID-19 and for players like Ryan Palmer, a defending champion, and Steve Stricker to help, speaks to their character. Their efforts are very much appreciated.”
A huge thank you to @RyanPalmerPGA and his team from #RBCHeritage Tournament Director Steve Wilmot.— RBC Heritage (@RBC_Heritage) April 1, 2020
Visit https://t.co/sIuEKouwG3 and consider making a donation to help the many great charitable causes that rely on the support of the recently cancelled @PGATOUR events. pic.twitter.com/r4nhZRaHVg
Palmer is hopeful that others will join in, including his fellow pros who are also missing events meaningful to their own careers. But he’s certainly not putting any pressure on them. Just as it was a personal decision for Palmer and his wife, he respects the personal decisions that each PGA TOUR pro makes.
He simply wants to offer an easy-to-use avenue for pros – and really, anybody – to donate to the tournaments close to their hearts.
“I don’t want players to feel like, well, Ryan’s making us do this. I don’t want anybody to feel guilty,” he says. “I want them to want to do it. If they do, great. If I’m the only one that does it, then I’m the only one that does it. That’s kind of the way I went about it. Just put it out there and hoping more will jump on it.”
In the end, it’s simply about passion, one player grateful for the opportunities to make a career out of the game he loves and seizing an opportunity in this time of uncertainty and apprehension to give back to the tournaments that has enriched his family’s life.
“They’ve taken care of me for so long,” he says. “Here’s a great way for me to return the favor and just say thank you.”