Varner: Lack of access preventing more black golfers making the PGA Tour


Harold Varner III has claimed a "lack of access" is the main issue preventing more black golfers making it onto the PGA Tour.

George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis in May has sparked protests across the globe, with many sports stars speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Varner, who won the Australian PGA Championship in 2016, posted a message to his official Twitter account in the wake of Mr Floyd's death, describing his killing as "evil incarnate" while being critical of those to have looted businesses in the United States amid the large-scale peaceful demonstrations.

Scroll to continue with content

The 29-year-old, one of few black players on the Tour, has now commented on the lack of equality in golf, stating there is a lack of access for youngsters looking to get into a sport that is often prohibitively expensive.

"What's the problem? I've talked about this a hundred times, a million times. It's access," Varner told reporters ahead of his return to action in the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas this week.

"Any time that someone wants to be great at something, they have to have the opportunity to experience it, learn how to get better. It's just so expensive to play golf, and that's the problem, to be honest with you.

"Growing up, no one was talking about access to golf because I had access. I got to play a little muni all the time.

"It doesn't become a problem until it's not there, like anything in life. No one understands how much someone cares about something until it's taken away, and I think COVID-19 has taught us a lot of that, so we're going to make it better in our community and hopefully grow that.

"There are some great programmes out there that I've been able to talk to that just care about the access to golf. It's an important sport, it teaches a lot of stuff, not only how to be better at golf but how to be a better human in this society."

The PGA Tour has confirmed the action at Colonial Country Club will pause at 08:46 local time on Thursday for a moment of reflection in tribute to Mr Floyd.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has pledged to be "part of the solution" on the issue of racial inequality and held a long conversation with Varner last week.

"I think there will be discussion," Varner said when asked about his talks with Monahan.

"I think some will forget about it, I think so many people will move on, but the conversation I had with Jay when we weren't being recorded, I think 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.

"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, so I'm super behind him on that, and we got to talking about some things where I come from, what I think about it."

What to read next