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The PGA Tour Has A China Problem

NLPC is calling for an Internal Revenue Service audit of the PGA, which has been less than transparent regarding its partnership with the ruthless Chinese regime.

For decades, China’s communist government was outwardly hostile toward the sport of golf. But that all changed in 2018 when China entered into an agreement with the PGA Tour to form the PGA Tour China Series, a men’s professional golf tour with a 14-event season in China. The partnership is part of a larger effort by the Chinese government to use sports to market the country globally and soften the image of China’s authoritarian regime.

NLPC has found that the PGA Tour, which enjoys tax-exempt status in the United States as a 501(c)(6) non-profit business association, has yet to provide adequate transparency to the IRS about their business dealings in China.

From a Daily Signal story by Fred Lucas:

China’s war on golf seemed to end when the Professional Golfers’ Association signed a 20-year deal with the sports management company Shankai Sports, beginning in 2018, to manage operation of PGA Tour Series-China.

 

Financing the deal was a $45 million investment from Yao Capital, a private equity firm founded by former NBA star Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets.

 

In recent years, China has aggressively used sports to expand its global influence and will host the Winter Olympics, which open Friday.

 

But four years into the deal, the nonprofit PGA Tour Inc. still hasn’t provided adequate transparency about doing business in China, the National Legal and Policy Center alleges. …

 

“The sports leagues are given monopoly power; in this case, the PGA has monopoly power over the sport of golf,” Tom Anderson, director of the National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project, told The Daily Signal. “Sports are how you build a community and build a culture. But you have a nonprofit handing this over to a country that will weaponize it.”

The NLPC intends to file a complaint with the IRS requesting an audit of the PGA Tour for not providing information about the deal on their Form 990 Schedule F regarding business activities outside the United States.

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Tags: China, Internal Revenue Service, PGA