GREENSBORO, N.C. – The PGA TOUR has reached the $1 billion milestone in charitable contributions with the donations from this past weekend’s tournaments – the Chrysler Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla., the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma, Calif. and the Nationwide Tour Championship in Prattville, Ala.
During the 2005 season, the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour and their tournaments, including the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro, participated in Drive to a Billion, a year-long campaign focused on reaching the milestone and celebrating the spirit of giving and teamwork in 100 communities across the country. Since the TOUR’s first recorded donation of $10,000 in 1938, more than 2,000 charities and one million lives have been helped annually.
Since 1938, The Chrysler Classic of Greensboro has donated millions of dollars to local charities. In the last four years, the Chrysler Classic has contributed nearly $1.3 million, and the tournament expects to contribute more than $700,000 to charities following the 2005 event. The tournament contributed $212,000 in 2002, $450,000 in ‘03 and $620,000 following the ‘04 Chrysler Classic. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Central North Carolina, the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., the American Junior Golf Association ACE Grant, Friends for an Early Breast Cancer Test and the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Center are among the current Chrysler Classic charities.
“We’re proud to be a part of the PGA TOUR’s Drive to a Billion,” Chrysler Classic tournament director Mark Brazil said. “We have our own goal as a tournament: we want to contribute $1 million a year to our local charities. That’s a major statement about our tournament and what we hope to accomplish in the future.”
“Thanks to the incredible generosity of the tournaments, fans, volunteers and business partners who support the PGA TOUR, our goal of giving a billion dollars to charity is a reality,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “We hope the focus on this event inspires a continued enthusiasm for giving that ensures more and more money is donated every year. Our goal is to give our next billion in just 10 years.”
The PGA TOUR will celebrate this milestone at a special public ceremony at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola in Atlanta at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Nov. 1, with Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Adam Scott, Davis Love III, Commissioner Tim Finchem and more than 100 kids from the East Lake Foundation, The First Tee and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
PGA TOUR player Vijay Singh added, “The players take tremendous pride in the fact that our sport is known for giving back and that each week, when we step onto the course, another community is going to be better off than it was before. We owe a big thank you to all of our fans and sponsors.”
Unlike any other professional sport, the PGA TOUR relies on 80,000 volunteers a year to run its events, and nearly all of its 100-plus tournaments are structured as non-profit organizations designed to donate 100 percent of net proceeds to local charities. Community beneficiaries include a wide variety of local organizations including hospitals, youth development organizations, growth-of-the-game programs and food banks.
The TOUR reached the $500 million mark in 1999 and has been focused on significantly increasing donations to charity every year. Due to the success and health of the organization, the TOUR reached $1 billion by giving the second $500 million in just seven years.
To help celebrate the milestone and launch the drive for the next billion dollars in giving, Coca-Cola has pledged $500 to The First Tee for every birdie made during THE TOUR Championship this week in Atlanta. The TOUR also will begin running national print and television Public Service Announcements featuring Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, David Toms, Jim Furyk and other players thanking fans and supporters of the PGA TOUR. The spots contain images of dozens of players tipping their caps in appreciation of the support they receive.
About the PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is a tax-exempt membership organization of professional golfers. Its primary purpose is to provide competitive earnings opportunities for past, current and future members of the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour; to protect the integrity of the game; and to help grow the reach of the game in the U.S. and around the world. Nearly 110 events will be contested on the three Tours in 2005, for approximately $320 million in prize money. The PGA TOUR’s web site address is www.pgatour.com.
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