PGA Tour players call for social justice

Frank Pingue

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - As the PGA Tour gets set to make its return this week in Fort Worth, Texas, some golfers used part of their pre-tournament news conferences on Tuesday to spread a message of unity amid worldwide protests against racism.

The death of George Floyd, who died on May 25 after a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck, ignited a wave of protests against the mistreatment of black people.

World number two Jon Rahm has been an outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and explained during a virtual news conference from Colonial Country Club, site of this week's Charles Schwab Challenge, why it was important to do so.

"I've never been racially profiled for the colour of my skin, but I have had some experiences. And it's not a good feeling," said Spain's Rahm.

"I can't fathom the reason why anybody would treat somebody differently just the way you look or they sound or what you believe in. We're all the same. We're all human beings, and we should all be treated the same way."

The PGA Tour said on Tuesday that a moment of silence will be held during each round this week in place of the 8:46 a.m. CT (1345 GMT) tee time. Eight minutes and 46 seconds is how long Floyd was filmed pinned under the police officer's knee.

World number 124 Harold Varner III, who is among a handful of black players on the PGA Tour, spoke with Commissioner Jay Monahan last week.

Varner said on Tuesday he was encouraged by the chat to think that the PGA Tour will do its part to keep the fight against racism in the conversation.

"This week won't be the last week, because it's getting to the point where everyone has a voice that if the PGA Tour was to forget it, they would get hounded every day," said Varner.

"So it's just kind of like yes, they're pressured, but I also think that it's the right thing to do, and I think Jay knows that."


(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)