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Volume 26 No. 176
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PGA Tour Nearly Lost Tax-Exempt Status As Part Of Republican Tax Bill Approval

The recently approved Republican tax bill nearly cost the PGA Tour its tax-exempt status, but due to a "focused lobbying effort by the circuit and some high-profile players," the provision that would have impacted the Tour was removed, according to Rex Hoggard of GOLFCHANNEL.com. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said, "Our tax-exempt status was compromised at the end of the year, in an early draft in the Senate bill. When we found out it was in the Senate bill, I called Jack (Nicklaus)." Hoggard noted Davis Love III also "lobbied on the Tour's behalf," traveling to DC to "meet with members of the Senate Finance Committee." Had the Tour, as well as the PGA of America and LPGA, "lost its tax-exempt status it would have dramatically changed the way they do business" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 1/7). Love said, “I said, ‘What can I do other than writing letters?’ I know so many senators and congressmen, I said I’d love to go up there and pitch our case. It was just helpful to get in some offices." GOLF DIGEST's Brian Wacker noted Love "counts former senator Sam Nunn among his neighbors in Sea Island, Ga." Losing its tax-exempt status would have "likely required the tour to modify its structure and reduce the available tax incentives to attract charitable corporate support" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 1/7). GOLFWEEK's Kevin Casey noted the Tour "helped generate" more than $180M for charitable causes in '17. But without the tax-exempt status, the Tour would have been "forced to become a taxable nonprofit." A significant restructuring would have "reduced available tax incentives and thus hampered the organization’s ability to contribute to charitable efforts" (GOLFWEEK.com, 1/7).