CordeValle, Harding to host tour stops; youths show promise
After a one-year hiatus, the Champions Tour will return to San Francisco in 2013 for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
The Champions Tour, which was played at the Sonoma Golf Club from 2003 to 2009, had been played at Harding Park Golf Course in 2010 and 2011, but moved to Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale Arizona this year.
Featuring the top 30 money winners from the Champions Tour season, the event is one of the biggest golf tournaments of the year and culminates the race for the Charles Schwab Cup and the $1 million that goes along with winning that season-long competition.
The PGA Tour, which owns and runs the Champions Tour, looks to have the tournament rotate between Harding Park and Desert Mountain on alternating years through 2016.
What looks to be the bigger news out of the PGA Tour’s announcement is that local golf fans might have the opportunity to see the best players in the world on the PGA Tour in 2016 as Harding might be chosen to host one of the Tour’s playoff events, which ties together the season-long FedEx Cup.
Players enjoyed Harding when the American Express Championship was played there in 2005, and again when the President’s Cup was played there in 2009.
Recently, however, the greens have fallen into some disrepair and if the tournaments were to come back to the classic design, a complete rebuild of the greens would be necessary.
Tournament officials would like the greens to be pure bent-grass, much like those at the neighboring Olympic Club, which drew rave reviews earlier this summer when the United States Open was played there.
Also mentioned in the mix was the possibility that the President’s Cup, which was a huge success for the City of San Francisco in 2009, would return in either 2017 or 2021.
Just down Highway 101 from Harding Park is CordeValle, home to the Frys.com Open, which will gain a little more prominence next year when it’s the opening event of the 2014 season.
With that comes the news that the field for that event will get stronger and stronger over the next two-to-three years, with tournament president Duke Butler indicating world No. 1, Rory McIlroy, and current No. 3, Tiger Woods, would make the trip to the Silicon Valley course.
Whatever the turnout might be, the fact is that Northern California golf fans should have some excellent golf to watch on the horizon.
Perhaps in one of those upcoming events some local golf prodigies might be on the other side of the ropes, competing.
If recent play is any indication, 9-year-olds Anders Mathison and Bennett Steiger could grow up to have their names on their bags and be signing autographs.
Both young Sonomans competed recently at the Total Golf Academy of the North Bay’s first annual Gobble-Gobble golf scramble for both kids and parents.
The event took place at Washoe Creek Golf Course in nearby Cotati and had both young men play with their fathers, combining to shoot 2-under-par on the Executive layout, winning the upper division.