The PGA Tour announced Dec. 21 that the Puerto Rico Open, traditionally played opposite the March World Golf Championships event on the schedule, will be played as a special unofficial event in 2018. The tournament, the Tour announced, will be a fundraiser and charity event to support Puerto Rico and the territory's victims from Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
“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 in a release. “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.”
The 2018 tournament will be played in March, as it has been, but it will differ from the 72-hole, all-pro affair it has been. The Tour is still finalizing details for the event, including the format and participants, but the event will be played at TPC Dorado Beach, which will help the Tour maximize the charitable donation it can make as a result of the event. The field will comprise PGA Tour players, other athletes, celebrities and sponsors. The goal, beyond projecting an open-for-tourism message to the world, is to raise a minimum $500,000 in support of 20 Puerto Rico-based organizations continuing to provide relief. This goal would nearly surpass the $690,000 donated to non-profit organizations since the tournament's inception.
The PGA Tour's decision to make the event unofficial in 2018 came after consultation with tournament officials and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), opting for a tournament the Tour feels will offer the most economic and philanthropic impact.
In 2019 and 2020, the Puerto Rico Open will return as an official, 72-hole tournament on the PGA Tour schedule under an agreement signed by the PGA Tour and PRTC.