Paula Lavigne of Outside The Lines has conducted a thorough investigation into the PGA Tour's status as a non-profit organization, and has found that the tour's commitment to charity is not nearly as strong as the suits at the PGA would like everyone to believe.
The PGA Tour is classified as a non-profit because each of its tournaments is classified as a charity event. It works like this: Each PGA Tour event is set up as its own charity, the supposed purpose of which is to raise money for things like cancer research, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc. But according to Outside The Lines, the average PGA tournament ends up producing an incredibly paltry amount of charitable donations:
"Outside the Lines" analyzed the Tour's U.S.-based tournaments that received charitable tax exemptions in 2011 (the most recent year available) and found they spent, on average, about 16 percent on actual charity. That figure is far below the minimum 65 percent that charity watchdog groups say makes for a responsible charity.
The rest of the money is going towards things like cash prizes, tournament logistics, and marketing. Why is this problem? Because of that pesky non-profit status, which provides the PGA with a series of tax breaks and prevents the tour from having to pay millions of dollars in taxes every year. According to a tax law attorney that OTL spoke to, the PGA has avoided paying around $200 million in taxes over the last 10 to 20 years.
Also, there's this:
The worst performance came from the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which is a unique case because the hospital itself runs the tournament. Over two years, the hospital actually lost $4.5 million running the tournament, according to the institution's annual financial report. A hospital statement released to "Outside the Lines" through the PGA Tour states that the golf tournament provides valuable media exposure for the hospital that costs less than if the hospital had to pay for a similar exposure level.
Now go and read the whole thing, especially if you feel like being more depressed about being a sports fan than you usually do.