THE PLAYERS Championship 2024

Monahan: No change to Tour charitable aspect


With the PGA Tour taking on partners in SSG (Strategic Sports Group) and working toward partnering with PIF (the Saudi Public Investment Fund) and with PGA Tour players becoming “equity members” of whatever a new organization becomes, the question many have is: What happens to the charitable aspects of events like THE PLAYERS that volunteers work so hard to support? Are they going to be changed or forgotten?

The answer, according to PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is that charity is still the focus of the organization.

“I want to be very clear that charity will always be a fundamental element to the PGA Tour. Nothing is changing on that front,” he said at THE PLAYERS Championship press conference. “It's important not only to our tournament organizations; it's important to our corporate partners.”

Monahan noted that PGA TOUR, Inc., the Tour's 501(c)6, the charitable arm of the Tour, remains in place. That designation was established when Deane Beman was commissioner.

Locally, it is certainly important to those who volunteer for THE PLAYERS. It’s also important to hundreds, perhaps thousands of volunteers and charities across the country who benefit from PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions and Korn Ferry events.

According to the commissioner, the PGA Tour raised a record amount for charity by last year. In addition, the organization should eclipse $4 billion in charitable money soon. (It was $3.9-plus billion most recently.)

“Our tournament organizations that are rooted in the communities where we play, they're going to do two things: They're going to push themselves to generate more revenue so that they can continue to deliver for the charity and their community, and we're going to continue to invest back in those same organizations to help them do that,” he continued.

Now, there are for-profit aspects of the PGA Tour that have been in existence for many years, and they are separated from the nonprofit aspect. One of the for-profit parts of the Tour is TPC Sawgrass, the club, and other TPCs that are part of that network. That is a taxable aspect of the organization. So part of the PGA Tour is nonprofit and part of it is for-profit.

What no one knows yet is just how the new entity, PGA Tour Enterprises, which is what the new business partnership with SSG and potentially PIF is going to be called, interfaces with the existing parts of the PGA Tour. It’s unknown if or how it will combine with existing for-profit parts of the Tour or if it will be a completely different entity. In fact, it may include ideas and events that no one has thought of yet. That is because the Tour, SSG and PIF are still in the process of creating what could be called a new golf animal.

Monahan has met with the representatives of PIF and SSG. He stressed that meetings were confidential. 

As anyone who has ever been involved in a business deal knows, new ideas may be floated between the various parties that may or may not be a part of the final result. It is impossible for anyone to predict now what the outcome will be or what the final deal will look like. That’s why it is difficult to talk about and why it is hard for anyone involved in the discussions to say anything about them.   

It certainly leads to a lot of frustration on the part of those who would just like to know what’s happening in the future. Since we all live within a stone’s throw of Tour HQ, there’s plenty of curiosity.

Regarding the 501 (c)(6) designation, for those who want to know more about this: “Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues, which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.”

It's tax code, so there’s more, and it’s convoluted. Read when you are having trouble sleeping.