The PGA Tour, reacting to threats of protest and sponsor pullouts at the PGA Championship, said today that it will not allow tournaments at clubs where membership even "raises a question" of discrimination.
The policy would affect tournaments on the PGA Tour and the Senior PGA Tour, as well as Ben Hogan tour events.
The statement comes after more than a week of controversy concerning the national championship, which starts Thursday, and its site, the previously all-white Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Ala.
Bowing to pressure from civil rights groups and planned demonstrations, Shoal Creek awarded honorary membership to a black businessman this week and said it was considering another black for admission.
"In the event a golf club indicates its membership practices and policies are non-discriminatory, but there is information that raises a question as to such practices and policies (e.g., all-white membership), the staff is authorized to require on a case-by-case basis that as a condition of hosting an event, the applicable golf club take appropriate action to encourage minority membership," the PGA statement said.
"The Tournament Policy Board has instructed its staff that any agreement entered into between the PGA Tour and any local tournament co-sponsor shall specifically require that the practices and policies of any and all clubs proposed as tournament sites do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex or national origin," the statement said.
The tour staff also was empowered to terminate any agreements for breach of such representation.
The statement said no contracts for a tournament will be extended "unless the PGA Tour is satisfied that its non-discriminatory policies are being enforced."
Although the Shoal Creek racial controversy has centered on the PGA Championship, the tour does not have jurisdiction over that tournament or any of the three other major championships.
The Masters is a private tournament run by the Augusta National Golf Club. The U.S. Open is run by the U.S. Golf Assn., the British Open by the Royal and Ancient golf club, and the PGA by the PGA of America.
In addition to the tour, the Shoal Creek controversy also forced the USGA and the Masters to reconsider their policies.
The Tournament Policy Board determines the rules of the organization. The board is chaired by E. M. deWindt, and among its 10 members are four tour players--John Mahaffey, Larry Mize, Pat McGowan and Mike Donald.