Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III helped save PGA Tour's tax-exempt status

Chris Condon/PGA TOUR

Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III helped save PGA Tour's tax-exempt status

PGA Tour

Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III helped save PGA Tour's tax-exempt status

The PGA Tour’s charitable contributions each year are immense and that ties back to the circuit’s tax-exempt status. And thanks to two of golf’s legends, that status quo hasn’t changed.

Jay Monahan, the Tour’s commissioner, spoke to reporters Sunday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions about how the organization kept a crucial part of how it functions.

Late last year, it looked like the Tour might lose its tax-exempt status via a subsection included in an early draft of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. But that subsection was removed before the Senate vote on the bill.

That saving change came in part due to the help of Jack Nicklaus and Davis Love III.

Monahan intimated how it all went down.

“When we found out (the threat to our tax-exempt status) was in the Senate bill, I called Jack (Nicklaus),” Monahan told reporters. “I thought I was calling his office but it was his cell phone, and he whispered, ‘Hello.’ I said, ‘I need your help,’ and explained the situation. He said, ‘I’m in the middle of a field in upstate New York and if you work with my office, we’ll get this thing going.’ ”

Nicklaus did indeed get things going, as did Love. Both lobbied to Congress on the Tour’s behalf, and Love traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with members of the Senate Finance Committee.

“It’s pretty amazing Jack and Davis reaching out like that,” Monahan said.  “They wrote letters and called members of Congress, members of the Senate Finance Committee.”

The Tour helped generate more than $180 million for charitable causes in 2017. Without the organization’s tax-exempt status being saved (with Nicklaus’ and Love’s help), the Tour would have been forced to become a taxable nonprofit.

A significant restructuring would’ve reduced available tax incentives and thus hampered the organization’s ability to contribute to charitable efforts.

“It would have been a nightmare for the Tour and its charities if (the loss of tax-exempt status) happened,” an industry source told Golfweek last month.

The good news: The PGA Tour indeed won’t have to deal with that nightmare in the present. The organization clearly turned to the right men to help prevent a potentially disastrous change.

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