Story updated Oct. 5, 3:30pmET.
The PGA Championship is headed to North Carolina next year, though the tournament director says the event will be LGBT-inclusive.
On Tuesday the tournament director, Jason Mengel, said the discriminatory anti-LGBT HB2 law in North Carolina simply created a couple “bumps in the road” for the PGA, but that the event would head to Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club next summer. Mengel made the comment at a retreat for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.
Mengel contacted Outsports Wednesday to clarify that it was obvious a poor choice of words, but that he and the PGA are taking the issue seriously.
“We’re firmly opposed to discrimination of all types, including HB2 in North Carolina, and we’re working hard to make sure the PGA Championship next summer is inclusive of everyone.”
Mengel said one issue will be made very clear at the event: Transgender attendees will be able to use whatever facilities in which they feel most comfortable.
This year the NBA, NCAA, ACC and various other leagues and conferences have announced they are pulling events out of the state so as not to support discrimination or subject any athletes, coaches or fans to discrimination.
Mengel told Outsports that moving their 2017 Championship was not “practical,” because it takes over seven years of planning to make the tournament work. When asked if it were possible to move the Championship — if, for example, a disaster struck the home course — Mengel would not speculate.
“This law is something we’re taking very seriously, and I think we’ve demonstrated that by doing things like attending the diversity summit,” Mengel said. “The pilar of our organization is diversity and inclusion.”
The PGA just two years ago hosted a big (and, frankly, very well-executed) Diversity & Inclusion Symposium, which was hosted this year by the NCAA, held just a couple weeks ago. The event is held annually to highlight various panel discussions to further conversations about diversity and inclusion.
HB2 was passed over a year before the tournament, and the PGA had time to move the event. As Mengel said, it’s not “practical.” If the course were destroyed, the PGA wouldn’t just cancel the event — They would move it.
At the very least, my guess is the PGA won’t award anymore major tournaments to North Carolina-based courses until HB2 is repealed.