Blockbuster announcement in San Francisco
By Bernie D'Amato under General


San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park will host the 2015 WGC-Match Play, the 2020 PGA Championship, and the 2025 Presidents Cup. Harding Park was rebuilt in 2002-2003, and is considered one of the best municipal courses in the country.

PGA of America President Ted Bishop said, “The PGA of America is proud to be taking its major championship in 2020 to the City of San Francisco. Home to one of the premier venues that embraces public golf along with the skill to stage some of the game’s greatest events.”

The 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park will follow the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York. The coast-to-coast venues reveal the growing geographic diversity of major championship golf.

There were reports of both the PGA Championship and the Match Play coming to Harding Park, but the news of the course hosting the 2025 Presidents Cup is surprising. The 2015 Presidents Cup will be held at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in South Korea, and there are no other future venues except for the 2025 edition. Harding Park held the Cup in 2009, and the Americans prevailed 19.5 to 14.5.

Perhaps the biggest announcement at today’s press conference was the reformatting of the WGC-Match Play. Players were not pleased with showing up to an event where they were guaranteed only one competitive round, and the new format will guarantee at least three matches.

In the spirit of the World Cup, the 2015 WGC-Match Play will split the 64-player field into 16 groups of 4. Three matches will be played over the first three days, and the top player in each group will move on to the Round of 16 for “single-elimination match play.”

The 2015 WGC-Match Play will also move from February to the week before The Players (April 29-May 3). The Players will hold its spot in May (7-10), and the Wells Fargo will be played a week later (May 14-17). A title sponsor for the Match Play will be announced at a future date.

I hope everything works out for the WGC-Match Play, but I have two concerns. Will the top-10 players in the world play, and what will happen to the strength of field at the Wells Fargo?

Hopefully, Tiger, Phil, and Adam are fans of TPC Harding Park because they must be in the field for the Match Play to be a success. Top-tier tournaments need the best names to create a buzz, and help the Tour promote its events.

For the Wells Fargo, I think it is relatively safe because the 2017 PGA Championship will be held on the same course, Quail Hollow, and the players will want to get as much experience as possible before suiting up for a major that may define their career.

Back to business. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was happy to join Ted Bishop and San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee at the press conference in San Francisco.

“Today’s announcement marks an exciting chapter in the history of The Presidents Cup and the World Golf Championships,” said Finchem.  “Not only are we returning to TPC Harding Park, which was a spectacular and hugely successful venue for The Presidents Cup 2009 and a World Golf Championships in 2005, but we are also furthering this historic and important partnership with the City and County of San Francisco. The Tour’s commitment to Harding Park, now further bolstered by that of the PGA of America bringing the PGA Championship here in 2020, ensures golf’s longstanding legacy in this great city.”

Now it’s time for the residents of San Francisco to enjoy big time golf in their big time city!

–Bernie D’Amato