Staying put: Next PGA Championship will not move despite controversial law
PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua said there were no plans to move next year’s major from Quail Hollow Country Club because of the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), which was enacted in March
The 2017 PGA Championship will go ahead in North Carolina as planned, officials said, despite mounting protests over a state law which limits anti-discrimination protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua said there were no plans to move next year’s major from Quail Hollow Country Club because of the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), which was enacted in March.
The law requires transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates and omits gay and transgender people from discrimination protection.
The legislation has been condemned across the sporting world, with the NBA earlier opting to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina in protest.
Although the PGA were strongly opposed to the law, Bevacqua did not explain why the tournament would go ahead as scheduled.
“We have been very vocal in our opposition to HB2 on several occasions,” Bevacqua said. “We are trying to do everything we can, as part of our strategic plan, to make the game as inclusive as possible. We’re not perfect. We’re trying.”
Bevacqua said the club being a private facility would ease the bathroom issue but did not address the lack of discrimination some spectators, or potentially golfers, could face under HB2.
“We intend to do everything we can within our power to make it a welcoming environment and an inclusive environment,” Bevacqua said. “We have every intention to having our restroom policy be like it is every year, where you use the restroom you identify with. That’s our stance.”
The PGA warned in a statement that their willingness to have future events in North Carolina “will be severely impacted unless HB2 is overturned.”
“Of course we took notice of the NBA’s decision,” Bevacqua said.
“We can only control so much. We can’t control the policies, the rules and the regulations around the country.
“We will continue to be vocal about our opposition (to HB2) and quite frankly, we really hope it changes.”
Never detailing the reasons why the event was not moved, Bevacqua said, “We’re going to do everything we can within our power to make this as inclusive a championship as possible.”
Another issue before the organisation is the future dates of PGAs that fall during Olympic years.
They are still looking at the impact of moving the event to July this year, compressing the schedule in a season that also includes the Ryder Cup.
“I would say it’s on the table in terms of should the date of the PGA Championship move in an Olympic year,” Bevacqua said. “We need to consider all options.”
Corporate sales and ticket purchases have been successful on the new date in this northeast regional venue, Bevacqua said.
“Having a major championship in this part of the country at the end of July works and makes a lot of sense,” he said. “But we are considering many options.”
Talk of staging a PGA Championship outside the United States, bringing a major event beyond US and British borders for the first time, has cooled, Bevacqua said.
“Will a PGA Championship ever happen internationally? Who knows,” he said.
“Is it something that will happen in the immediate future? I would say no. It has certainly been placed on the back burner for the time being.”