The excitement surrounding the PGA Tour’s return to tournament golf last week didn’t brush away the reality of the social unrest in the country.
Shortly after the first round began on Thursday morning, play was halted for one minute at 8:46 a.m., in remembrance of George Floyd. Eight minutes, 46 seconds is how long prosecutors say Floyd was pinned to the ground by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minn., before dying. The gesture was repeated each morning as play began.
“I made, and we made as an organization, a commitment to step back and to be a part of the dialogue and to engage on this incredibly important topic at this incredibly important time,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said. “And recognizing that we were coming back this week, we wanted to have a way to not only recognize the events of the last couple of weeks which are so tragic, but also to be able to look back at the issue, the systemic issue of racial and social injustice and find our way of recognizing that and reflecting on that and having a moment.
“Ultimately having a moment of silence is something that with all the things that we talked about, our Inclusion Leadership Council and team came back and recommended this as an idea, and we felt like it was the right thing to do, and I'm proud of the team for coming up with it.”
Before the start of the Charles Schwab Challenge, Monahan and Harold Varner III posted a discussion about racial inequality and how the tour can be part of improving the situation. Varner also posted a letter about the subject on social media.
“The coolest thing about the letter: I got to say that I've been helped by every type of race possible,” Varner said in a pre-tournament news conference. “And then it was, all of a sudden, ‘Harold should say something because he's black.’
“I don't like when people are like, ‘Just because you're black you know the answers to racism.’ So that letter was super good for me because it let me expose that even like you were telling white people they need to listen right now, black people need to listen right now, too, and we need to come together and figure out what it is.
“So, no, I have not had much discrimination in my journey. I’ve just had so many different types of people help me.”
Staff and Wire Reports