Atlanta, September 3
What began because the “Return to Golf” has yielded to “Crossing the Finish Line.”
Twelve weeks after the PGA Tour ended its longest stoppage since World War II due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it marked progress with two slogans that introduced equal measures of satisfaction and a sigh of reduction.
“I was confident that we had the right plan,” Commissioner Jay Monahan stated Wednesday.
“But I was uncertain as to whether or not, like everybody else, you’d be able to get to this point.”
That level can be the Tour Championship for the highest 30 gamers who made it via two FedEx Cup postseason occasions to achieve East Lake and chase the USD 15 million bonus that goes to the winner.
Monahan additionally introduced up one other financial determine — a projected USD 100 million over the following 10 years for tournaments to donate to racial and social injustice causes of their markets.
“In essence, how do we use the platform that we’ve established over the past 80 years to make deeper and more specific commitments around social justice efforts in our communities?” he stated.
“The work may never be complete, but as we close out this season of change, I felt it important to reinforce our commitment.” And what a season it has been.
The week the PGA Tour signed a brand new media rights deal stated to be value greater than $7 billion over 9 years, the coronavirus led to golf shutting down for 3 months.
Tiger Woods, who received his record-tying 82nd match final fall, performed solely twice earlier than the shutdown, 4 instances after. He didn’t make it to the Tour Championship.
A report 5 gamers have already got taken turns at No. 1 on the planet.
Dustin Johnson is the No. 1 seed at East Lake with two victories for the reason that return, together with runner-up finishes within the PGA Chamionship and final week on the BMW Championship.
He begins with a two-shot lead over Jon Rahm, who made a 65-foot bending birdie putt in a playoff to beat Johnson final week.
No one ought to be stunned. They are Nos. 1 and a couple of on the planet rating. Rahm was extra stunned the tour reached its season-ending occasion with out having to cease due to the coronavirus.
Only seven gamers and three caddies examined constructive within the 13 tournaments held in 12 weeks in 11 states.
“I’m not going to lie, when I saw … pretty much 20% of the tests were positive countrywide, almost worldwide, and with how many other sports were having trouble … nobody should be surprised if one week we show up and there’d 30 positives,” Rahm stated.
“We can congratulate each other and everybody else for the good job we’ve done, because I am surprised we’ve been able to go on without any single problems.”
The Tour Championship is the top of the season, however not the top of the yr, or the priority.
Spectators nonetheless haven’t been allowed to return, with no indication when that might occur. Monahan stated the plan was for pro-ams — an enormous a part of a match’s income — to renew within the Dominican Republic in three weeks. Pro-ams already are in place on the PGA Tour Champions and the Korn Ferry Tour.
Monahan thought again to Friday the 13th — in March — when he introduced the following 4 tournaments had been canceled, beginning with The Players Championship.
“As gut-wrenching as that day and the weeks to follow were, as we ultimately canceled or postponed nearly 30% of our season, the adaptability, innovation, and collaboration that has brought us to this week is incredibly gratifying,” he stated.
That contains the charity part, which has carried on with out spectators, pro-ams or company hospitality. Monahan stated supporting sponsors of the Tour Championship — Coca-Cola and the Southern Company — had been enabling not less than a $3.5 million contribution to native charities this week.
Monahan additionally stated native tournaments and their charitable donations can be the spine of the tour’s pledge towards supporting range in a summer time of intensified racial and social unrest.
PGA Tour occasions have raised greater than $Three billion for charity since 1938, and that cash — $200 million final yr — goes primarily to native organisations.
“All of our tournaments are going to be identifying racial and social injustice causes in their local markets going forward,” Monahan stated.
“I think it’s a big statement that with the number of tournaments we have they all quickly have responded and said that they are excited for this opportunity, excited for this challenge.”
He stated the tour expects to lift not less than $10 million a yr for these causes for the following decade, “and that’s something that we’re going to hold ourselves accountable to.”
He additionally stated the tour would work towards attracting extra minorities to golf via The First Tee, which at the moment has an ideal emphasis on schooling than the sport, and with assist of the Advocates Pro Golf Association Tour, created a decade in the past to offer taking part in alternatives to minority gamers.
“It’s nice to see stuff happening,” stated Cameron Champ, one in every of 4 gamers of Black heritage on the PGA Tour and the one one to achieve the Tour Championship.
“Anyone can talk about it, but action is what’s need. And it’s amazing to see that. It’s definitely a huge and amazing step in the right direction.” — AP