Puerto Rico Open changed to unofficial charity event for 2018, benefitting Hurricane Maria relief efforts
Following Puerto Rico's brutal devastation from Hurricane Maria, many around golf expected PGA Tour officials to cancel this season's Puerto Rico Open. However, in a statement on Thursday, the tour announced that, while the tournament will not own official status in 2018, the event will still be conducted as a special charity endeavor featuring players, athletes and celebrities held in March.
“The Puerto Rico Open has been part of the PGA Tour for the last 10 years, and our commitment to golf on the Island has never been stronger,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. “Our hope is that this special event in 2018 will benefit Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts to the fullest extent, while reminding the world that Puerto Rico is a premier golf and travel destination.”
Though details of this year's competition are still in the planning stages, the tour also promised the tournament—which celebrated its 10-year anniversary last season—will return in 2019 and 2020 as an official event.
“The best way the Puerto Rico Open can serve the Island is by focusing our manpower this year towards hosting a special event that will benefit Puerto Ricans directly,” said David H. Chafey, chairman of the Puerto Rico Open. “Our goal is to facilitate raising no less than $500,000 to donate to 20 local non-profit organizations that provide services to our people. We are committed to helping Puerto Rico recover and will be ready to host a 2019 Puerto Rico Open.”
The island has struggled in its comeback from the storm. Reports cite that more than a third of the island's residents remain without power three months after Maria, with officials believing the death toll has risen to more than 1,000 casualties.