The PGA Tour's Unprecedented Commitment to Charity
It’s not clear how much press coverage it received at the time, but in 1938, the good people in charge of the Palm Beach Invitational did something that ultimately would have a profound effect on millions of people: They donated $10,000 from the tournament’s proceeds to local charities.
In the years that followed, the PGA TOUR®, its 100-plus tournaments (including the Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour), players and 100,000 volunteers have contributed more than $1.5 billion to local and national organizations that help fund a broad spectrum of worthwhile charities.
“The PGA TOUR has done a lot for charity over the years, but only because of the passion for giving back shared by our players, tournaments, sponsors, charities, volunteers and fans,” says PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “When we say, ‘Together, anything’s possible,’ we mean that by rallying behind the common cause of charitable giving, we can create greater awareness and elevate our overall impact, which is so important in these difficult economic times.”
Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
The 2,000 or so programs supported by the PGA TOUR include education, health and human services, youth development, community services and programs designed to grow the game of golf through organizations like The First Tee®.
And it’s important to note that a large number of players are actively involved with charities of their own:
All in all, a pretty impressive legacy for a group of golf visionaries who had a very good—and important—idea some 70 years ago.
Humbly Carrying on the Legacy
Over the past 11 years, the Payne Stewart Award has honored the memory of one of golf’s most enduring personalities. Payne Stewart’s life reminds all of us that in the end, golf represents more than a game. It represents the kindhearted spirit of its players.
Southern Company is proud to have sponsored this award from the beginning, recognizing winners such as Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. This year’s winner is Tom Lehman. Lehman has represented golf with dignity and grace for decades. Among his many charitable endeavors, Lehman’s charity golf tournament in Minnesota raised more than $4.7 million for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. With the help of Lehman, this fund has supported training to prevent, cure and treat childhood cancer at the University of Minnesota, Lehman’s alma mater.
Lehman was awarded the first Byron Nelson Prize by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas at the 2007 EDS Byron Nelson Championship. On Lehman’s behalf, the Salesmanship Club of Dallas awarded $100,000 to the McKenzie Monks Foundation, an organization that helps children cope with cancer.
Lehman is also a dedicated family man, crediting his marriage to Melissa with giving him the focus to do well on the PGA TOUR®. Lehman’s company, Lehman Design Group, has worked on projects such as the Somerby Golf Course in Byron, MN; the TPC Twin Cities (designed with the help of Arnold Palmer); and the Gallery Golf Club in Tucson, co-designed with John Fought.
Southern Company is proud to recognize such a deserving golfer with this prestigious award. In addition to the trophy, the Payne Stewart Award is accompanied by an annual Payne Stewart Award Grant. The $300,000 grant supports several initiatives in Stewart’s name and is distributed as follows: $100,000 to Payne and Tracey Stewart’s primary charity, The Stewart Family Foundation; $100,000 in Stewart’s honor to The First Tee® facility in Missouri; and $100,000 to the Lehman Family Foundation.
Congratulations to Tom Lehman and all those who carry on Payne Stewart’s incredible legacy.
Past recipients of the Payne Stewart Award include: Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer (2000); Ben Crenshaw (2001); Nick Price (2002); Tom Watson (2003); Jay Haas (2004); Brad Faxon (2005); Gary Player (2006); Hal Sutton (2007); Davis Love III (2008); and Kenny Perry (2009).
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