We’re now into April of 2021, and slowly, our cold winter is starting to give way to spring. Hello, budding trees, green grass, and in a few weeks millions upon millions of cicadas will invade the area for their once-every-seventeen-year brood (i.e. sex party). There will be pollen, and your faithful scribe will spend a good amount of the next several weeks sneezing. It’s not COVID, it’s allergies. Oh, and seemingly smart people will show zero clue about who runs what in professional and amateur golf.
While we here at SGIC Amalgamated Industries support freedoms and we support people using their constitutional rights, generally speaking we avoid getting involved in political issues because it’s not really why SGIC Amalgamated Industries was started. Plus, we like to find things that unite us and not divide us which was the whole point behind this project. Golf was, is and should always be for everyone who loves the game (and the course along with their fellow players). But, we wanted to help provide an explainer on who runs what, so that people might actually know who is (and is not) behind certain events, given how often people lump certain terms together. In short, if you’re going to get angry, it’s a good idea if you knew who to actually get angry at. You’re welcome.
PGA: Professional Golfers Association. Most golf-playing countries have one. The PGA of America is made up of club professionals (i.e. teaching professionals) who work at courses and typically focus on teaching the game to others. The PGA of America run the PGA Championship (held this year at Kiawah Island in South Carolina), the LPGA Championship (held this year at Atlanta Athletic Club) and the US side of the Ryder Cup (held this year at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin; it was moved from 2020 due to COVID), which is held every other year between the United States and Europe. Relocated the 2022 PGA Championship to Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The PGA was not, is not, and will not be the PGA Tour. Two completely different organizations run by completely different people. More on that in a moment. Suzy Whaley is the current President of the PGA of America. The PGA of America has nothing to do with a certain invitational tournament played in Georgia in early April (more on that later).
PGA Tour: Player-run organization that runs non-major championship golf made up of members who are touring professionals (i.e. NOT typically teaching professionals). Phil Mickelson probably doesn’t spend 3 hours a day folding sweaters and giving hourly lessons for 4-5 hours a day (I mean, he “might” but I doubt it) and Tiger Woods isn’t doing weekly lessons with your Uncle Pete (unless your Uncle Pete is exceedingly rich and was able to convince Tiger to give him a lesson). The Commissioner of the PGA Tour is Jay Monahan. The LPGA Tour Commissioner is currently Mike Whan (who is leaving his position). The PGA Tour also runs The Presidents Cup, an every-other-year team event between the United States and an International Team (made up of non-European countries).
USGA: United States Golf Association. Organization that runs national championships (US Open, US Women’s Open, US Amateur, US Women’s Amateur among others), and is responsible for the US version of the rules of golf. They also provide testing and approvals on playing equipment (clubs, balls) and handicapping (enabling players to sign up for an official USGA handicap using the new World Handicap System), which is designed to allow players of different abilities to have a competitive match. Their involvement with professional golf is limited to the US Open championships (which are open to professional and amateur players) for men, women and senior men.
ANGC: Augusta National Golf Club. Private golf club based in Augusta, Georgia typically open from October until May (they close during the summer months). Runs every aspect of The Masters tournament (typically played in early April), along with the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt event for children (typically held the Sunday before the start of the Masters Tournament). They do not disclose their membership list, and membership is by invitation only. However, an Internet search “could” find a membership list sorted by the State that the member lives in. The Masters Tournament TV contract is its own entity; it is not part of any other TV contract. CBS and ESPN are the current US rights holders; the contract is typically done only one year at a time, and ANGC signs off on any announcers covering the event (Gary McCord was removed from the CBS crew after some critical comments about the course setup).