The PGA TOUR this weekend passes the $2 billion mark in charitable giving, according to letter from PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem.
The TOUR’s first charitable contribution was a $10,000 check from the 1938 Palm Beach Invitational. The $1 billion mark was passed 67 years later, in 2005. The second billion took only eight years.
Those figures do not include the players’ personal contributions to their favorite charities.
One of the things I really like about the PGA TOUR as an organization is its focus on charitable giving. Tournaments are for the most part staged by local organizations in support of their local charities. In most other sports, games are staged by the leagues for the benefits of the owners.
Here’s a relevant comparison: According to the NFL Foundation, the NFL has awarded some $370 million to charity over the last forty years. The PGA TOUR raised $133 million in 2013 alone. Two tournaments – the HP Byron Nelson Championship and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – have exceeded $100 million on their own. There’s just no comparison with other sports leagues.
“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.”
Kudos to the TOUR, the sponsoring organizations, and—in my mind—most importantly, the 100,000 volunteers who make the tournaments possible. Whenever I attend a professional (or USGA) golf event, I marvel at the army of volunteers required to pull the whole thing off. If you count the value of the time they donate, I’d guess the total doubles.