PGA of America donates $5 million to launch coronavirus relief fund

PGA of America donated $5 million for the Golf Emergency Relief fund and pledged to match up to an additional $2.5 million given by other groups.

The golf world has been thrown into chaos by the coronavirus pandemic, with the first two majors of 2020 -- the Masters and the PGA Championship both being postponed. (Representative image)

The golf world has been thrown into chaos by the coronavirus pandemic, with the first two majors of 2020 -- the Masters and the PGA Championship both being postponed. (Representative image)   -  Getty Images

The PGA of America donated $5 million to launch the Golf Emergency Relief fund on Monday, aiming to provide support for the golf industry during the coronavirus pandemic.

The body, whose flagship event the US PGA Championship has been postponed from May amid the shelter-in-place policies designed to slow spread of the virus, pledged to match up to an additional $2.5 million given by other groups.

A statement said the PGA of America contribution included all members of its executive team voluntarily reducing their compensation. The board of directors pledged personal donations.

“There's pain everywhere,” PGA chief executive Seth Waugh said. “It's how to get to the other side. The government is doing extraordinary things. The Fed actions last week were stunning. The loan programs are very clever to keep people employed. The bad news is it may not be enough depending on how long this lasts.

“What we're saying is, 'How can we create an additional safety net?'”

The fund will be administered by E4E Relief, an independent public charity.

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The PGA, which represents club professionals, has nearly 29,000 members. But PGA president Suzy Whaley said it's hoped the fund will help members of other golf organizations, club caddies and players on developmental tours.

“We have to ensure that the heart and soul of our game -- our people -- are able to get back on their feet and continue to serve others down the road,” Whaley said. “Eventually, golf will return, but we first need to reach out and help people in our industry during this national emergency.”

The PGA said other organizations, including the US PGA Tour and the LPGA, the US Golf Association are supporting the fund, as are groups representing course superintendents, course owners and merchandisers.

“Our hope is the industry gets behind it,” Whaley said.

Applications are to be accepted starting from Thursday.

The first phase will distribute $500 grants for basic needs and $1,500 grants for critical needs.

A second phase will make funds available up to $3,500 depending on need.