A2-A4_Program10_Shoal Creek 8/3/10 9:37 AM Page A2
Twenty years after Shoal Creek changed the golf landscape, The PGA of America has compiled an impressive track record of promoting diversity in the game and business of golf
AS IT IS DURING THIS WEEK EVERY AUGUST, THE SPOTLIGHT
of professional golf and of sports is on the PGA Champi-
onship, the “Season’s Final Major,” which annually attracts
the best players in the world to vie for the coveted Wana-
maker Trophy. Twenty years ago this month, however, that spotlight
burned brighter than normal, for reasons not desirable by The PGA of
America or its allied golf associations.
By Bob Baal
Prior to the 1990 PGA Championship leaders in insisting that Shoal Creek at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala., Shoal immediately admit an African-American Creek’s founder, Hall Thompson, made member, which it did, two weeks prior to controversial remarks defending the club’s the Championship. exclusionary membership policies, stating: While that diffused the controversy to a “We have the right to associate or not to degree, The PGA’s leaders knew that they associate with whomever we choose. The needed to take things further, to both avoid country club is our home and we pick and future incidents and to push golf further choose who we want … I think we’ve said that we don’t discriminate in every other area except the blacks.”
That set off protests within the local community, which soon grew into a national debate over the selection processes used by The PGA, the USGA and the PGA Tour in choosing the locations of their championships and Tour events.
In the furor, corporate sponsors of the Championship began to pull their advertising from the
ABC telecast, and decisive leadership was needed to keep the situation from boiling over completely.
That leadership came in the form of then-PGA of America
Chief Executive Officer Jim
Jim Awtrey, PGA of America CEO at the time, speaking during the 72nd PGA Championship at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala.
Awtrey, who issued assurances that The PGA did not condone discrimination, and backed that up by joining Birmingham’s mayor and black community
THE PGA OF AMERICA
THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF THE 2010 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP