After the success of this year’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club, the last thing Bryan Karns wanted to see unfold was a fuss over who should cover security costs for the event.
But that’s exactly what happened, and so Karns – an Oklahoma native and championship director for the PGA of America – took the time on Monday to explain how it is the organization asked the city to pay $100,000 of its $225,000 security bill.
It was all part of a routine discussion with Southern Hills general manager Nick Sidorakis and others after the PGA Championship in May.
“It’s absolutely part of our post-mortem (every tournament) that… there are bills that cost way more than expected and bills that cost way less. We’re just working on it,” Karns said.
It turned out that the cost of security was one of the higher bills than expected.
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“What we asked was nothing but, ‘Hey, is there anything you can do about this?'” Karns said.
Earlier this month, Sidorakis took the request to city council, where it received a mixed reception. Councilors are due to vote on the waiver on Wednesday evening.
“It’s interesting, because it’s kind of a life of its own in something that almost every other market we go to, nine times out of 10, will be like, ‘Hey listen, we get it. Here is a cost that we have the ability to subsidize,” Karns said.
The PGA of America does not typically seek community incentives when choosing a site for its PGA Championship, Karns said. Such was the case in Tulsa.
“There is nothing up front. The city is not bidding for this event. So nothing was done up front that they could do for a BMX or somebody else to say, “Hey, we’re going to provide you with something to help offset some of your costs,” a Karns said. . “The reality is that it’s a backward way of doing things, because we’re probably doing each other a disservice.
“The alternative would be that we say, Southern Hills, we’re not going to come to Tulsa unless you guarantee us $500,000 from the city. But we’re not, because we feel like going to Tulsa. great golf courses. It feels like if we’re on the cheap, people are going to want to support us. So that’s the approach.
Karns said there was no doubt the city received a big financial boost from the event, which made Tulsa the center of the golfing world from May 16-22.
“I sat in the merchandise store with Mayor (GT) Bynum, and he was blown away because he saw thousands of people coming to this merchandise show, and he knew it was the taxpayers’ money,” Karns said. “And that’s great. That’s what we want to do.
The July city sales tax check from the Oklahoma Tax Commission – which reflects sales made during the second half of May and the first half of June – shows collections increased by 2 million dollars compared to the same period last year.
The BMX Legacy Nationals and the Ironman Triathlon were held in Tulsa around the same time as the PGA.
The city’s hotel and motel tax collections for the month of May, as evidenced by the city’s June and July reports, increased by $600,000, a significant increase over the same months last year. last year.
Karns said Wednesday’s city council vote won’t impact the return of the PGA Championship to Tulsa.
“We don’t go to the markets and demand nothing. We just say, “Hey, in the end, we’re going to ask.” If you don’t want to do it, that’s okay,” he said. “We will pay the bill.”
More than anything, it seems, Karns doesn’t want the issue to overshadow what is widely seen as a big win for the city.
“Every councilor has every right to vote against,” he said. “It does not change anything on our side, especially for me who is from the region and once again extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish there.