If you’re like me and are predisposed to know everything, welcome to the world of golf and its ownership. I was a golf enthusiast with enough information on the sport until an argument years ago made me dive deep to find the answer. And there I was, thinking I knew it all!
Fun fact: Don’t argue with people who wear golf hats every given day with matching shoes and their golf clubs handy in their car if you don’t have all your facts right. Oh, trust me! You don’t want to go down that road.
I learned that the hard way. But I’m glad for the lesson.
Now, I know every tiny detail about golf, down to its ownership and winners. It sure is a lot of information, but I will only ramble and divulge some things about the billion-dollar industry in this article. I will spare that for another dandy day.
Instead, I will clarify who owns the PGA Tour, specifically mentioning its history and current status.
Ready to see if you’ve been right or wrong? Let’s dive in!
PGA’s Tours Brief History
The PGA Tour is a non-profit, premier membership organization with many professional, world-class golfers under its umbrella.
The organization co-sanctions tournaments on the PGA Tours Canada, PGA Tours, PGA Tours Latinoamérica, PGA Tours Champions, and Korn Ferry Tours.
The PGA Tour we know today was formed in 1968 to give professional golfers a platform that enabled competition and earned income from the sport.
The PGA of America created it until a subset of professionals broke away to form another organization, PGA Tours, initially named “Tournament Players Division,” which is sorely needed for touring professionals.
The club has gone through tons of transformation since its inception, which is understandable. Growth creates room for more growth. And with a steady trajectory, you will get to the top quicker than you think!
The organization changed its name from TPD to PGA Tours in 1975, maintaining its hold on touring professionals while the PGA of America focused on club professionals.
PGA Tours has since made many golfers a worldwide name, especially when they started airing on television, expanded to Europe, and corporate sponsorship emerged. Its popularity created room for more growth, further diversifying its ownership structure.
PGA Tours Ownership
Following our recent recap of the PGA Tour’s illustrious history, let’s focus on how it’s governed. As mentioned, PGA Tours operates as a non-profit organization wholly managed by its membership.
Its administrative framework comprises stakeholders, an overseeing board of directors, a senior executive team comprising eleven influential figures, and four advisory councils staffed by players.
The board shoulders various responsibilities, such as coordinating tour schedules, offering support and advice to players, determining membership status, upholding the game’s regulations, and sanctioning those who breach the rules.
The stakeholders, generally corporates, back the tour’s triumph by providing financial aid, striking lucrative deals, and securing television rights. Their investment sees returns through prominent brand publicity, heightened visibility, and sizable profits.
This operational model guarantees that the PGA Tour’s progress is guided by a collective, unbiased approach, and decisions aren’t swayed by individual prejudices.
With this strategy, talent and performance determine each player’s chances of winning.
The Commissioner: The CEO of the PGA Tours
You might wonder, “How does the PGA operate?” Ah, wonder no more, buddy! It’s not that far-fetched. Not to make it sound easy, but it’s a billion-dollar industry with experts helming its affairs.
But of course, I’m contradicting myself. If experience has shown anything, billion-dollar industries work hard to maintain their status.
This explains the board of directors;
- Ed Herlihy, Chairman – Partner, Wachtell Lipton, Rosen & Katz
- Randall Stephenson – Executive Chairman, AT&T Inc.
- Mark Flaherty – Former Vice Chairman, Wellington Management Company
- Jimmy Dunne – Vice Chairman and Senior Managing Principal, Piper Sandler
- Mary Meeker – Partner, Bond Capital
Then we have eleven executive leaders, with the Commissioner, Jay Monahan, helming their affairs. Picture him as the individual curating the majority of the PGA Tour brand image as the face of the organization.
He’s the fourth commissioner for PGA Tours, taking over from Tim Finchem, who held the appointment since 1994.
Monahan is in charge of the tour’s operation. He guarantees tournament schedules, prime-time television spots, and player relations.
Additionally, he is responsible for negotiating the tours’ agreements with various partners, such as sponsors, broadcasters, and other golf organizations.
Examining the Impact of Corporate Investment on PGA’s Tours
Does corporate sponsorship contribute to the PGA Tour’s success? As much as the talents make the event worth investing in, the sponsorship does not hurt. Everyone benefits from it. So they do add to the success of the tours.
How do they do this? Investors partner with golfers to promote their brand, gaining more exposure and profit.
They do this by displaying their logos at tournaments as well as on the equipment of the golfers. And with the reach of golf, they gain wide exposure to a larger audience via TV and advertising their service.
Typically, these investors gain more as investors from the PGA Tour than those above. And that’s understandable. Investing in a billion-dollar industry is good business.
Corporate investors have been significantly impacted, especially by the opportunities they bring to golfers. Not to mention how they make the PGA Tour more attractive to sponsors for advertising.
One person does not privately own the PGA Tour. It operates as a unique nonprofit multibillion-dollar enterprise with a governing structure that includes a board of directors, a commissioner, and other decision-makers.
The PGA of America is vital to the Tour’s ownership structure, offering vital support and guidance to players while wielding authority over Tour modifications.
Everyone collaborates and contributes collectively to optimize the tour’s success. Corporate entities have played a pivotal role in the tour’s growth and profitability through strategic partnerships and financial backing.
With these investments, the overall brand value, reach, and visibility are broadened.
Having a prime spot on the PGA Tour does not sound like a bad idea.
Lastly, the PGA Tour provides various economic benefits for its stakeholders.
Now, I’ve armed you with enough information to make a good enough impression with golf experts. Trust me, you can hold your own now in an argument.