PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has praised Jack Nicklaus and Davis Love III for coming to the Tour's rescue when help was needed to stop it losing its tax-exemption status.
Speaking during a telecast at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday, Monahan disclosed that Nicklaus and Love were key figures in the tour's successful bid to retain the exemption in the face of a move to have it thrown out.
A 14-line subsection included in an early version of the Senate tax-reform act late last year had threatened to remove the PGA Tour's tax-exemption status as a 501(c)(3) public charity, but Nicklaus and Love put up their hands, stepped in and played a crucial part in the 11th hour bid that eventually saw the subsection scrubbed.
“Our tax exemption status was compromised at the end of the year, in an early draft in the Senate bill,” said Monahan.
“When we found out it was in the Senate bill I called Jack [Nicklaus]. 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.’”
Had the Tour, as well as the PGA of America and LPGA Tour, lost their tax-exemptions, it would have dramatically changed the way professional golf does business and, according to a letter written by former Tour commissioner Tim Finchem when Congress was considering similar legislation in 2015, it would “drastically reduce the available tax incentives to attract charitable corporate support.”
“It’s pretty amazing Jack and Davis reaching out like that. They wrote letters and called members of Congress, and also members of the Senate Finance Committee,” said Monahan.
Love even travelled to Washington to meet with members of the Senate Finance Committee just a week after having hip surgery.
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