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2021 American Express commits more than $1M to local charities, cancels Pro-Am

Change is inevitable in our new world amid an ongoing pandemic, especially here in California. Below are some of the key points in regards to the 2021 American Express golf tournament.

  • Despite format changes, tournament contributions to local Coachella Valley charities will exceed those made in 2020
  • Due to local COVID-19 circumstances, the tournament will be conducted without traditional pro-am format and contested on PGA WEST’s Stadium Course (host) and Nicklaus Tournament Course
  • Wednesday exhibition ‘The American Express Charity Challenge’ hosted by Phil Mickelson with Tony Finau and Paul Casey to maximize charitable impact

Continue reading for the full news release from the PGA TOUR on this latest development.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – The PGA TOUR, in conjunction with American Express, The American Express tournament officials and the Mickelson Foundation, today announced a more than $1 million commitment to support local charities in the Coachella Valley ahead of the 2021 event, which will be held in La Quinta, California, January 21-24. Due to the current local climate in Riverside County caused by COVID-19, and considering national travel associated with the event, the tournament will be played without the traditional multi-day pro-am format and ticketed spectators, and will be held on only two courses: PGA WEST’s Stadium Course (host) and Nicklaus Tournament Course. The three-day pro-am format, which has been a part of the tournament since its debut in 1960, will return in 2022. The professional portion will be played as scheduled and broadcast domestically on Golf Channel, PGA TOUR LIVE and PGA TOUR Radio.

To help deliver on the tournament’s charitable goals, American Express and tournament officials will host The American Express Charity Challenge – a televised nine-hole exhibition match hosted by The American Express tournament host Phil Mickelson and broadcast by Golf Channel, PGA TOUR LIVE, GOLFTV and on social platforms on Wednesday, January 20, at 2 p.m. PT. The event will feature American Express ambassador Tony Finau and Paul Casey alongside celebrity partners for a $1 million charity prize that will benefit a number of Coachella Valley charities through the Mickelson Foundation. Each of the competitors will represent a different philanthropic cause to which their winnings will be donated. Since its introduction in 1960 as the Palm Springs Golf Classic, the tournament has generated more than $60 million for numerous nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting Coachella Valley residents. In December, the tournament announced that a $1 million donation had been distributed from the 2020 event. More details will be released on The American Express Charity Challenge in the coming weeks.

“Thanks to the fantastic support from our title sponsor American Express and our corporate partners, we are happy to announce that more than $1 million will go to local charities from The American Express this year despite all of the challenges this pandemic has thrown our way,” said Phil Mickelson. “I look forward to hosting The American Express Charity Challenge with Tony and Paul to help deliver for the local charities.”

In addition to the charity exhibition, a local pro-am will be conducted on Wednesday morning. The Wednesday pro-am, an integral part of PGA TOUR tournaments that drives local charitable giving, returned early in the 2020-21 PGA TOUR Season as part of a phased approach in the PGA TOUR’s Return to Golf, successfully being played over the past six months with a limited number of amateur participants and a stringent health and safety plan, including COVID-19 testing.

“While The American Express will look different this year, we are pleased to introduce The American Express Charity Challenge to raise even more funds than last year’s tournament for the Coachella Valley charities who are doing excellent work during this unprecedented time,” said Stephen J. Squeri, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express. “While we are disappointed that we cannot host the amateur portion of this year’s event, the health and safety of the local community, volunteers and players is our top priority. We look forward to welcoming back fans and hosting amateur players again in the coming years.” 

The American Express will be played at the iconic PGA WEST Stadium and Nicklaus Tournament courses.

Mickelson, a World Golf Hall of Fame member and 44-time PGA TOUR winner, will headline the event and serve as tournament host, competing against 155 of the best golfers in the world. All four rounds of The American Express will be broadcast domestically on Golf Channel, PGA TOUR LIVE and PGA TOUR Radio.

“The pro-am format at The American Express has been one of the unique and long-standing traditions on the PGA TOUR, with the event dating back to 1960,” said Tyler Dennis, Executive Vice President and President, PGA TOUR. “This decision by the PGA TOUR to modify the pro-am format due to the current COVID-19 climate locally was made out of an abundance of caution with the full support from American Express and the Mickelson Foundation. We are fully committed to continuing the positive impact on local charities to the same degree as past years, if not more, and we are grateful to American Express for their support in doing so. We fully expect and look forward to the return of the traditional pro-am format in 2022.”

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Blake Arthur

Sports Director Blake Arthur joined the KESQ/CBS Local 2 team in August of 2015. Learn more about Blake here.

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