By Larry Bohannan, Desert Sun
The 2021 American Express golf tournament may be played without fans in La Quinta in January because of COVID-19 restrictions, but the 2020 tournament is having an impact on the Coachella Valley this week.
The Mickelson Foundation, which became the non-profit arm of the PGA Tour event starting with last January’s event, has made donations to 14 Coachella Valley-based charity organizations that are among those receiving proceeds from the 2020 American Express. The Mickelson Foundation has now distributed $1 million that was raised from the event.
The charities receiving funds include: Alzheimer’s Association Coachella Valley, Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley, Coachella Valley Boxing Club, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Desert Arc, Eisenhower Health Foundation, Family YMCA of the Desert, First Tee of Coachella Valley, Martha’s Village and Kitchen, Ophelia Project/JFK Memorial Foundation, Pegasus Riding Academy, Read With Me Volunteer Programs, The Well in the Desert and Volunteers in Medicine.
Plans for in-person check distributions were canceled because of COVID-19 shutdown restrictions.
In a statement announcing the donations, tournament host and World Golf Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson said, “We were thrilled to raise $1 million for charities from last year’s event and provide needed support to worthy Coachella Valley organizations. With January’s event right around the corner, I’m excited to serve as the tournament host again, especially with a fantastic title sponsor like American Express who has committed again to raising meaningful funding through the event for organizations making a positive impact in the community.”
In November, the PGA Tour and the American Express tournament announced that there will not be ticketed spectators at the Jan. 21-24, 2021, event due to local health and safety regulations that restrict group gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceeds from the event will again be directed to charities by The Mickelson Foundation with a focus on local non-profits in the Greater Coachella Valley.
While the event will be played without ticketed spectators, the tournament still plans on having the three-day pro-am in the tournament. Two pros and two amateurs play in each foursome for the first three days of the tournament, rotating partners and golf courses each day. Tournament officials say the event will be conducted within local health guidelines and with PGA Tour Covid-19 testing policies in place for both professional and amateur golfers.
The American Express will be played at PGA West’s Stadium, and Nicklaus Tournament courses and La Quinta Country Club. Andrew Landry is the defending champion. All four rounds of the American Express will be broadcast on Golf Channel.