Sure, the Masters is as big as it gets in golf, but when it comes to PGA TOUR charitable contributions, did you know this week’s tournament, The Valero Texas Open, leads the charge?
Since Valero became the title sponsor in 2002, the San Antonio-based tournament has generated more than $112 million for charity.
Let’s put it in perspective. THE PLAYERS Championship raised $8.5 million for charity in 2016 and the Waste Management Phoenix Open generated $9.4 million the same year. To compare, the Valero Texas Open brought in $10.5 million in 2016.
So, why does this tournament draw so much green?
The answer is its Birdies for Charity® program, a fundraiser that solicits pledges from individuals and businesses to donate each time a birdie is made at the Valero Texas Open. Think walk-a-thon, but instead of pledging a dollar amount for every mile traveled, folks open their wallets whenever a golfer shoots one-under on a hole. Last year, 1,834 birdies were made at the tournament.
Birdies for Charity® launched in 1997 and because of its success, over 400 charities benefit. So, where is the money going? Look around central and south Texas and you’ll see organizations like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Lone Star Chapter, Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children, Martinez Street Women’s Center, and many local golf development programs benefiting from the tournament.
As the title sponsor, Valero doesn’t just lend its name and checkbook to the tournament. More than 700 of its employees volunteer their time Thursday through Sunday when PGA TOUR pros are on the course, and during the Monday-after pro-am event as well.
Combine that with more than 450 other sponsors, including many of Velero’s vendors/business partners, and you have yourself a very well supported Valero Texas Open, which undoubtedly serves as a vehicle for making a community better.
Things really are bigger in Texas.
If you didn’t already know, nearly all PGA TOUR tournaments are organized as non-profits, so that charitable giving can be the focus. In 2016, more than $166 million was raised for local and national charities across all PGA TOUR tournaments. That’s $2.46 billion generated all-time.