Colonial already was quiet with no spectators round for the return of the PGA Tour on Thursday. And then at 8:46 a.m., it got here to a standstill.
Commissioner Jay Monahan stood on the primary tee for the 8:46 a.m. beginning time that was listed on the tee sheet with none participant names. The tour left that point open as a tribute to George Floyd, whose killing by a white police officer in Minneapolis sparked worldwide outrage and protest over social and racial injustice.
The time displays how lengthy — Eight minutes, 46 seconds — authorities say the officer held his knee to the again of Floyd’s neck. The handcuffed black man died after pleading for air.
“As the PGA Tour commits to amplifying voices and efforts to end systemic issues of racial and social injustices, we have reserved the 8:46 tee time to pause for a moment of silence, prayer and reflection,” Monahan mentioned.
That was adopted by three quick blasts of the horn as gamers stopped — on the golf course, on the placing inexperienced and on the driving vary. Most gamers eliminated caps and bowed their heads. Carts additionally stopped — the site visitors offered about the one noise on the Charles Schwab Challenge.
The civil unrest has shared the dialog with the COVID-19 pandemic that has saved golf shut down for the final 90 days. Harold Varner III, one of 4 PGA Tour gamers of black heritage, was the strongest voice. Tiger Woods joined in with a tweet, and different gamers haven’t shied away from the subject.
Rory McIlroy comes from Northern Ireland, which has a political historical past steeped in hatred and intolerance, and he was hopeful this might spark actual progress in America, which he now calls residence.
He additionally pointed to Woods, not solely as prolific a winner the PGA Tour has ever seen, however a participant with a multiracial heritage.
“My hero rising up was Tiger Woods,” McIlroy said. “Tiger doesn’t look the same as me, has a different upbringing to the one that I have had, but he was my hero growing up. And it didn’t matter what color his skin was, what his beliefs were. Tiger was my hero, and he’s been a lot of kids’ hero over the years that have grown up playing golf. We’ve been lucky to have him in our game. I think that there should be more people like him in golf.”
He referenced a video conversation between Varner and Monahan, saying what struck him was the need for everyone in golf to get involved.
“As long as we continue to give people from different backgrounds opportunities to be in golf, that can only be a good thing,” McIlroy said Wednesday.
Monahan has talked about various programs the tour has developed, dating to the creation of The First Tee in 1997, and more recent policies and mission statements the last five years on inclusion and diversity.
Still lacking are the number of players of color, at least Americans. And as he mentioned in his conversation with Varner, most of it starts with getting minorities involved, perhaps using The First Tee as a greater platform. Currently, it is about using golf to teach life skills to a diverse group through 144 chapters and 5,000 schools involved in the curriculum.
“There’s an opportunity for us, as kids start to matriculate, for us to make certain that they’re getting access to the game of golf to play it, and access to the industry of golf,” he mentioned.