PGA Tour Is Not The PGA of America

Following the flap surrounding Trip Isenhour’s beaning of a hawk with a golf ball, the President of the Humane Society sent an angry letter to the PGA of America. From the LA Times:

The president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States wrote a letter Thursday to the president of the PGA of America asking for action against Isenhour, who faces an animal cruelty charge for allegedly purposely striking the protected migratory bird.

Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society asked Brian Whitcomb of the PGA of America to condemn animal cruelty and take appropriate action against Isenhour.

The 39-year-old professional player struck the hawk on Dec. 12 at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., after the bird made noises while Isenhour was taping a video called “Shoot Like a Pro.”

“By setting an example of compassion for the public, the PGA has the chance to make a difference for our communities and instill an ethic of animal protection,” Pacelle said in his letter.

There’s only one problem. The PGA of America has no jurisdiction over the Nationwide Tour’s Trip Isenhour. Trip Isenhour is a member of the Nationwide Tour and falls under the jurisdiction of the PGA TOUR.

But Pacelle made a common mistake. There’s always been a lot of confusion over who is whom in golf.

So lets get this straight once and for all: The PGA Tour is NOT the same thing as the PGA of America.

The PGA Tour runs the PGA Tour (naturally), the Nationwide Tour and the Champions Tour. It also created and organizes the President’s Cup competition.

The PGA of America serves primarily as the professional organization of club and teaching golf professionals. It runs the PGA Championship (which is why there are club pros at that event), the Senior PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup, and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf (an event for the winners of the four majors).

The two PGAs separated in 1968 following a series of disagreements between the PGA of America and the golfers who comprised the PGA of America’s Tournament Players Division. The issue was, of course, money, and more specifically, television money.

The LPGA also is a completely separate entity. It governs the female touring pros. But women teaching and club professionals still belong to the PGA of America.

It gets more complicated:

The governing body of golf in the United States is the United States Golf Association. That organization runs the US Open, the Senior Open, the Women’s US Open, as well as various other events. The USGA also writes the rules of golf and checks for equipment conformity.

In the rest of the world, the governing body of golf is the Royal and Ancient (R&A). The R&A runs the (British) Open Championship.

The European Tour governs three worldwide tours: The European Tour, the Senior European Tour and the Challenge Tour. The European Tour jointly runs the Ryder Cup with the PGA of America (NOT the PGA Tour).

The Asia Tour runs professional events in Asia, except in Japan, which is governed by the Japan Tour. There’s also an Indian Golf Tour and a Canadian Professional Golf Tour. I’m sure several others have been left off this list.

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