The PGA Tour will honour the memory of the late George Floyd in setting aside the 8.46am tee time both on day one of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas and the Korn Ferry Tour Challenge at Tour HQ in Ponte Vedre, Florida.
Floyd’s death on May 25th on a suburban street in Minneapolis has led to riots and protests not only in the USA but around the globe.
In releasing the opening two round draw for the Fort Worth event, the Tour indicated the 8.46am tee time is a call to end systemic issues of racial and social injustices impacting the USA & also pay respects to the memory of the late George Floyd.
And the Tour indicated it is working on a long-term commitment to address those issues.
Harold Varner III, one of just a handful of black players competing on the PGA or Korn Ferry Tours, is pleased with planned steps going forward.
“I think this week won’t be the last week, because it’s getting to the point where everyone has a voice that if the PGA Tour was to forget it, they would get hounded every day,” said Varner in a pre-Charles Schwab Challenge press conference.
“So it’s just kind of like yes, they’re pressured, but I also think that it’s the right thing to do, and I think Jay knows that, so I’m super behind him on that, and we got to talking about some things where I come from, what I think about it. I’m just super fortunate to be able to say something and it matters but also be a part of the change. Everyone in this society right now is going to be a part of that.”
Varner III issued a statement via his Twitter account last week wherein he expressed his feelings over Floyd’s death and he has now also spoken of the support he’s received since his tweet.
“One thing I try to tell them, some of the guys that texted, ‘Dude, you’re not racist. I think you’re doing things to grow the game.’ … I have a hard time believing there’s a ton of racists on the PGA Tour because I’m pretty good friends with a lot of people out there,” he said.
“If I was racist, I’d probably not hang out with a black person, and I hang out with a good number of people out here.
“I’ve been helped by every type of race possible, and then it was all of a sudden Harold should say something because he’s black,” he said. “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.”
World No. 2 John Rahm had expressed his support for social justice reform last week on Twitter with the Spaniard also revealing during his Tuesday Fort Worth press conference he receives “dirty looks” when speaking Spanish in public.
Rahm called the past few weeks the “biggest civil rights moment in history,” and felt he needed to be a part of it.
“I can’t fathom the reason why anybody would treat somebody differently just the way you look or they sound or what you believe in,” said Rahm.
“We’re all the same. We’re all human beings, and we should all be treated the same way. To me it’s as simple as that. And when this whole thing broke out, I’ve tried to reach out to understand more profoundly what’s going on because if I’ve somehow experienced a little bit of what racism can be like, I can’t imagine what some people have experienced throughout their whole life, right. And at the same time, as an athlete, let’s say in a mainly white sport, with somewhat of a platform on social media, I believed it was my duty to — at least, not my duty but my belief to — support this cause and try to reach as many people as possible.
“I understand you can’t make everybody aware of everything, but if I can just have one more person understand the situation and support it, to me it’s a win.”