SBJ/December 16 - 22, 2002/Opinion

PGA Tour, tournaments proud of tradition to help charities

I read with interest your Special Report on charities in the Nov. 18-24 issue and appreciated your inclusion of the PGA Tour. It's always gratifying to read about the efforts of professional athletes and organizations to help those in need.

Giving back always has been a fundamental component of the tour, dating back to the first charitable contribution by a tournament in 1938. Our tournaments' all-time donations total approximately $700 million, with an annual amount between the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour exceeding $65 million.

Each year, a significant portion of this is passed along directly to charity through PGA Tour Inc.

That said, I'm concerned the chart accompanying the story was very misleading. It showed approximately $340,000 being donated to charity by the tour in 2000, which was the amount contributed through our charitable affiliate. The accurate number for the direct contributions to charity by the PGA Tour — $17.2 million — was reflected in the main story.

The PGA Tour's direct cash contributions to charity in 2001 totaled nearly $21.6 million, reflecting an increase of approximately $4.4 million. Even more important, the tour's contributions, when combined with that of our tournaments, exceeded $67 million in 2001.

I would stress that I mention this to accurately reflect what the PGA Tour does for charity on an annual basis, not to offer comparisons with any other organization.

We are extremely proud of our charitable history and the impact the tour has made in communities throughout the country.

Bob Combs

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Bob Combs is senior vice president of public relations and communications for the PGA Tour.

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