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Golf Today 16th December 1999
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Golf Notes December 16

US players set to get more Ryder Cup charity cash

Members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team will receive $200,000 from the PGA of America to donate to charities of their choice and golf development programs at their colleges, several sources said today.

The plan to channel a portion of the PGA's estimated $17 million in Ryder Cup profit to charities at the players' discretion comes four months after the revenue issue threatened to divide the U.S. team.

Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer of the PGA, had pledged to work with players and come up with a plan by year's end.

"We're pleased we have reached an agreement in concept with the players, and we will release details after the holidays," a PGA spokesman said.

According to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, the players and captain Ben Crenshaw will receive $100,000 each to designate to their charities. They will direct the other $100,000 to their college -- or several colleges -- for a golf development program designed by the PGA.

"The PGA feels like $100,000 over two years is enough to fund a program that they've already developed," a source close to one of the players said.

The PGA is waiting for players to identify their charities before announcing the plan, another source said.

The plan is similar to the Presidents Cup, in which the PGA Tour gave each member $100,000 for the charity of their choice.

In essence, it is exactly what Tiger Woods, David Duval and other players suggested when the revenue controversy first erupted two months before the Ryder Cup.

The United States defeated Europe in September with the greatest final-day comeback in the 72-year history of the matches.

Golf Digest reported that the PGA would bring in $63 million in gross revenue from the Ryder Cup. The net profit was estimated at $23 million, with $6 million going to The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., as the host course.

Woods, Duval and Mark O'Meara were among those who felt like they were being exploited because of the massive money-making machine the Ryder Cup had become. "Pros on parade," is how Woods described it.

It came to a head at Medinah, two days before the PGA Championship, when Awtrey and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met with Crenshaw and the U.S. team.

Awtrey said after the meeting that the dispute over revenue was no longer an issue.

"We're going to be talking to the players about the charitable contributions and what we can do that lets everybody feel good about our support of the game," Awtrey said at Medinah.

"They would like to be involved and have influence in some of the things we do, and we're committed to doing that."

The biggest chunk of the PGA's profit -- $12.5 million -- goes to its Ryder Cup Outreach Program which includes several projects aimed at education and growth of the game.